How to Use Interactive Content to Find, Qualify, and Close Your Best Customers
October 14, 2015 | Elizabeth Wellington
“The more the merrier” is true for most things, including the number of friends at your birthday party – and B2B leads for your funnel. A strong prospect pool is the seed of your client base, but savvy marketers know you can’t stop at the top of the funnel.
One of the core functions of marketing is whittling down your pool of leads to those that fit your target buyer profile and might be ready to talk to sales. Not every lead will be a match, and that’s okay — in fact, it’s more than okay. Good marketers pass only the best leads over to sales by segmenting, qualifying, and nurturing new prospects.
Easier said than done, right? If you’re struggling to identify the best leads for your business, keep reading – here’s how interactive content can help you find, qualify, and close your best customers.
The Challenge of a Quality Lead
For marketers, lead generation can feel like a push and pull between quality and quantity. We’re measured on providing more, more, more leads – but our lead-to-opportunity conversion rates will suffer if those leads aren’t the right contacts.
In many organizations, it seems like quantity is winning – according to Pardot, 61% of marketers pass every lead on to the sales team, but only 27% of these leads are qualified. This approach leaves sales teams to sift through a pool of leads, of which 73% are unqualified.
For salespeople, that’s like going to a singles event to find out 73% of attendees are in committed relationships. Following up with those unqualified leads is a waste of time, and chances of success are low.
It gets worse. Once sales teams narrow down the pool of prospects to qualified leads, only 50% of them are ready to buy. That’s a lot of work for sales, right? After identifying quality leads, they need to gauge actual interest among a large group.
By pre-identifying the leads that will match your needs as a business, you can bypass an otherwise grueling sales process. Larry Kim, CEO of Wordstream, suggests that companies “Focus on building a happy client base by putting the legwork into ensuring an ideal match before committing.” It’s worth the extra effort from your marketing team.
How do you actually identify those leads? Learn as much as you can about your prospects, then use that data to prioritize leads by demographics, business priorities, and readiness to buy.
Step 1: Unlock the Right Data
If you want to discern the strength of a new lead, develop a two-way conversation that gives you a clear view into a potential client’s needs and expectations. Ask questions like: How much business are they going to give you? What is the scope and cost of the work? What are their business priorities?
HubSpot suggests adding an extra question or two to a lead form to give marketers greater insight into these questions. But longer lead forms often limit engagement, and you want to give yourself every opportunity to succeed. So, what now?
Create feedback loops through interactive content. By embedding data-driven questions into existing content, you can identify qualified and ready-to-buy leads before you even start a sales conversation.
When Ecova, an energy management company, included a quiz on their landing page, they were able to identify hot leads to prioritize in their sales funnel. This extra insight powered a 33% success rate with leads from their quiz, along with increased data on the business behaviors of their prospects.
With 92% of Content Marketing Association members using customer data as an aspect of their strategy, this approach is transforming the sales funnel. Mick Hollison, CMO at Inside Sales, predicted that in 2015, “Salespeople will gradually adopt data-driven methodologies to target high-value prospects, keep existing customers on board, and expand existing opportunities.” Interactive content, unlike other avenues of collecting data, entertains and educates your audience, yielding high engagement that adds value on both sides.
Step 2: Ask the Right Questions
Incorporating data-seeking questions into your content marketing plan not only helps you to prequalify important leads, it boosts strategic growth. Perry Marshall, author of 80/20 Sales & Marketing suggests that the age-old 80/20 rule applies to marketing, too. 20% of the leads represent 80% of your potential growth, and 20% of your new clients will yield 80% of your profit. Imagine if you approached your sales funnel accordingly?
Integrated questions could help identify your strongest leads, allowing you to segment and respond appropriately. Perhaps your company also wants more projects of a specific size or to focus on a particular service. Dynamic content makes it easy to identify the leads with needs matching your offering, so your sales team can pursue the strongest opportunities to grow.
Step 3: Guide Prospects to the Right Solution
Interactive content not only helps you to sift through leads to find the most lucrative clients, it raises conversion rates across the board. Once your team has processed data from interactive experiences, analyze the answers to discern the best product for each lead. That way, instead of offering a bunch of options — some of which will definitely not be relevant — you narrow suggestions based on the segments in your sales funnel.
The buying capacity, industry, and business priorities of your leads all paint a clear picture of their perfect product match. Your job is to connect the dots — and bring your lead to an awesome solution.
NetProspex, a marketing and data company, adopted this approach to clinch their sales leads. By transforming a white paper into interactive content, they collected data on the business priorities of prospects. Empowered with greater awareness of each lead, their team led companies to stellar solutions with a 48% lead conversion rate.
Gathering data through content marketing is a powerful way to steer your ship in the best direction — you limit the headache for salespeople, increase the efficiency of your sales funnel, and intentionally grow in the direction of your choosing.
Marketers face a choice: do I send more leads over to sales, or do I send better-qualified leads?
With interactive content, you’ll convert more leads overall – with compelling calls-to-action and a value-rich experience that averages 45% lead form conversion – and gather critical qualifying data to append to every lead record. In other words, you don’t have to choose.
If you’re ready to send more, better leads to sales, take a look at interactive content. Not sure if it’s right for your team? Take our quiz below and find out if you’re ready to go interactive.