How Talking to Your Prospects Improves the Buyer Experience and Lead Quality
July 30, 2019 | Kirsten Lyons
As consumers demand more information, more personalization, and more control over the buying process, marketers have had to respond with more content, more automation, and increasingly tailored experiences for every prospect. So is what we’re doing working? Marketers have been challenged to deliver a new buying experience at scale while still mining this changing landscape for quality leads. But unfortunately, the stats show that across the board we’re not succeeding: According to Gartner, 77% of B2B marketers say that their last purchase was very complex or difficult.
So while we’re working harder than ever to understand and deliver what our prospects want, they are still unhappy and struggling through buying processes that feel clunky and arduous. Lots of MarTech solutions today enable marketers to model, forecast, and automate the buyer’s journey, but the data driving these models is missing one key input: the voice of the prospect.
The best way to discover high quality leads and provide prospects with a personalized buying journey is to engage them in conversation early and often. Conversational marketing, whether through chat, chat bots, or questions embedded in content, is the best way to get an accurate view of your buyer’s mindset, preferences, and their ideal next step.
Activity-based lead scoring is always based on assumptions
First things first, we need to explore why what we’re doing now isn’t working. Marketers have developed sophisticated algorithms and marketing attribution models to score leads and infer intent, but unfortunately, all these amount to is increasingly educated guesses.
This kind of common activity-based lead scoring would have blown marketers of five years ago away, but our prospects are telling us that this isn’t working. How can you tell? Because lead that are qualified and sent to sales based on this criteria aren’t converting:
- 80% of MQLs never convert to sales.
- 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of those leads will be qualified.
But bringing the voice of your prospects into the full buying process can help move these dismal stats in the right direction by making sure that we’re spending time nurturing and chasing the right leads.
Simplify your approach to let your prospects do the talking
A question-and-answer exchange seems basic but it’s powerful — that’s why so many businesses today have entire fleets of sales development representatives spending their days working to make a human connection and get prospects on the phone!
Conversational marketing allows you to leverage much more dynamic questions that yield valuable responses. Imagine swapping firmographic and demographic for qualitative answers in your lead qualification strategy:
Understanding your prospects on this more human level means marketing and sales teams alike can better meet their needs. From suggesting hyper-relevant content, to offering choice in next steps, asking always beats assuming when it comes to building a better buyer experience.
Put what your prospects tell you into action
Most importantly, when your prospects talk to you, listen. Conversational marketing only works if the insights gathered from prospect interaction (be it over a chat bot, social media, or questions embedded directly into content) can be operationalized to see real results for buyers and marketers alike.
The critical next step in building a dynamic buyer experience is to create a lead flow process where both marketing and sales are able to leverage answer data from direct prospect interaction.
By integrating the valuable insights gleaned through conversational marketing into your marketing automation and CRM, sales can leverage it to inform better conversations that don’t waste prospects’ time, and marketing can use it to hyper-focus on the most qualified leads that ultimately mean faster sales cycles, less wasted time, and better results on your bottom line.
Building a truly prospect-centered approach today requires rethinking much of the complicated conventional wisdom around lead scoring and buyer interaction: the answer isn’t more, more, more. True buyer enablement requires simplifying processes with a conversational approach, not countless new pieces of content or a new complex marketing attribution model. When marketers prioritize the voice of their prospects and leverage those insights, prospects enjoy a more human buying experience and marketers can more effectively focus on lead quality, with dramatic results.
Learn more about how you can use questions embedded directly into your content for better lead qualification here.