A sales qualified lead is a potential customer or prospect that is interested in the point of making a purchase decision. In other words, an SQL has already engaged with a brand in some way that has grown in them a readiness to start the sales process.
In business-to-business models, SQLs are so important due to the time of the sales cycles and the focus on long-term customer relationships.
So how can B2B websites gain more SQLs? Here are 10 ways to do so.
Segmentation the categorization of leads into groups based on similar attributes. B2B can do this best by focusing on their leads’ firmographic, psychographic, and behavioral information. Firmographics data describes company details (for example, the type or market of the business), psychographic data refers to the company’s values and attitudes, and behavioral information is about how the target company uses a product or service.
Using data on past leads or customers (and even non-customers), you can decide what information is most important to use to organize your lead.
2. Create a Lead Scoring System
Lead scoring is essentially a subset of segmentation, but it goes a step further by systematically rating a lead by how likely they are to convert. In other words, you can attach a rank of “importance” to leads that are closest to that critical buying decision or the bottom-of-funnel. Start by defining your sales qualified leads according to your organization’s standards. Then use historical data on leads that became customers to see what points of commonality they have. Those will be key to look out for in separating the SQLs from the rest of the leads.
3. Know your Ideal Prospect
Once you have set standards for identifying and scoring leads, it’s time for even more research. In this case, you have to use the information you used to create what makes an SQL to get more familiar with this buyer persona. The pool of SQLs is relatively small, especially for B2B companies. To propel the sales cycles and nurture customers, get to know SQLs on a personal level. Investing time in lead scoring isn’t for nothing. It saves extra time and energy, opening up that productivity to truly focus on the SQLs that are already intrigued by your business, and close to making a sale.
What do you need to know about your most pertinent leads? Study up on their interests, needs, and budget; use past data to estimate the sales timelines. Knowing as much as you can help close the gap between company and customer, as well as speed up the process and improve customer trust.
4. Marketing Personalization
As a marketing principle, personalization takes into account the in-depth interests, attributes, and goals of a lead. Personalizing content and brand messaging are effective at real targeting the right prospective SQLs. When done over and over, leads will become increasingly more familiar with your brand and get closer to making a buying decision.
5. Unite Sales and Marketing Teams
Sales qualified leads don’t just appear out of thin air. After all, every lead is drawn in by a marketing effort. Recognizing this makes it valuable for the marketing and sales teams to work together. Converging information about leads, while strategizing together helps the process of turning a marketing qualified lead (MQL) into an SQL. Marketing begins the jobs and sales reps finish them. Some ways to operate jointly is to solidify and standardize the brand messaging, content focus and objectives, and sharing data across teams.
6. Marketing Automation
Use automated marketing tools and tactics to follow your leads all through way through the sales funnel. It can be difficult to keep up and follow up with leads, all while remaining personable and consistent in the brand. Automation is a good way to nurture leads, and automatically personalized touches and interesting content that is tailored to them. For example, utilize email campaigns, further enhanced by segmentation, that is dependent on how t=a lead engages with your brand.
7. Create Content Based on Sales Funnel
A lot of tips focus on bottom-of-funnel, but really, the main takeaway is to have a strategy. Ensuring that your content isn’t always general and broad is important. Just like you use segmentation to focus time and effort on the most important leads, structure your content plan by the target audience.
For example, leads who sign up for a newsletter or a lead magnet should receive different, more specific email content than what the website blog may have. Even further, each email segment should have a different sort of content depending on how a lead’s inbound entry point. Similarly, social media content should cater to leads in a different part of the sales funnel, usually the top and middle. Break this down further by social media platforms; for example, Twitter will center to top-of-funnel, while LinkedIn, known for fostering B2B relationships, will be more middle-to-bottom. Seeing how a lead interacts with your brand and where helps you figure out which ones are higher-priority, and thus more likely to be an SQL.
8. Focus SEO Strategy with Long-tail Keywords
First, make sure you address all your search engine optimization tactics. Since we’re talking about sales qualified leads, focus energy on long-tail keywords. To draw out the exact, fine tuned buyer persona most likely to become an SQL, long-tail keywords are crucial. Search queries are not always broad, general keywords. Some might type in longer sentences or more specific, descriptive versions. If you can get in the head of a prospective SQL, figure out their intent and language, you can utilize fitting keywords that are less competitive and don’t waste searchers’ time (or yours either).
9. Ramp up the Lead Magnets
The best way to get high-quality leads is by offering high-quality content. By curating informative, useful ebooks, webinars, email sign-ups, guides, case studies, and so on, you can really attract the right people who sign up because they are purely interested. While social media followers can potentially be important leads, your lead magnet material shows a higher level of engagement and intrigue in your brand. Optimize the landing pages for these lead magnets with clear calls-to-actions and great user design to improve SEO and conversion rate.
10. Continue Driving Traffic to your Website
While getting SQLs requires more focused work, it’s important to continue your top-of-funnel strategies. This means to maintain and continue investing in the goal of gaining more traffic. Increasing awareness of your B2B brand is the only way to attract more leads in general, which in turn increases the number of sales-qualified leads.
One way to boost your traffic is not only continually ensuring your SEO is top-notch, but also increase your social content. Encouraging more social posts and engagement on social media is a great way to get more organic leads since social media has proved to be a powerful lead generating machine. Furthermore, it’s quick and relatively less costly than other paid ways.