Learn how to properly identify the different lead types and determine your sales lead temperature in this ultimate guide.
Have you ever played a game where you hide something and give clues like “getting hotter” or “getting colder” until the person eventually finds it? Working with and nurturing leads is kind of like that.
The warmer a lead, the closer they are to buying.
If a prospect is cold, it means you need to keep providing the lead with information until they are ready to buy.
It isn’t always easy to recognize the signs indicating which lead type you’re dealing with, which is why we created this guide.
Keep reading to learn how to rate each sales lead temperature and how the right lead scoring system helps you correctly categorize all of your leads.
You can also choose to “jump ahead” to the following subtopics:
The ability to recognize sales lead temperature is essential for establishing where leads are in the funnel. This information aids in finding the sweet sales spot to ensure successful conversions.
Cold Lead Definition
Cold leads are those who ft your target audience but haven’t yet interacted with your company or brand. These leads are the farthest from converting and need to be educated about your company’s mission, exactly what you offer, and why your product/service is the right solution for meeting their specific needs.
This lead is not ready to buy in any capacity. If you try to make the sale at this stage, you may alienate and lose them altogether. Instead, focus on warming the potential client up through high-level, informational content.
Warm Lead Definition
Warm leads are closer to converting because they have shown some interest in your product or service. They may have searched a business on Google that offers a comparable product or service or even visited your website. A warm lead may have also engaged with one of your social media posts or clicked a link in an email.
These types of leads are categorized as warm because they’ve already had some interaction with your product or service so they are at least acquainted with what your business offers. This means they are actively researching solutions and are looking to buy in the near future.
Hot Lead Definition
A hot lead often referred to as a qualified lead, is a lead that is very interested in what your company does and is ready to buy. This person has been to multiple sites, talked to people about their solutions, and has likely eliminated the competition.
It’s essential to recognize the buying signals for each lead type, so you’re prepared to move them along the customer journey.
Buying Signals for Lead Types
There are surefire buying signals you need to be keenly aware of to be an effective salesperson. Typically cold leads aren’t going to emit any buying signs, but there are ways to identify when a lead is cold.
How to Tell if You Have a Cold Lead
If you see a new lead on your dashboard and have nothing more than a name or an email, that’s a cold lead. These leads haven’t interacted with your company and don’t know about you or your service/product.
How to Tell if Your Lead Is Warming Up
You’ll start to notice a lead is warming up when you see them interact with your brand more. Maybe they fill out a form to download a PDF, or they sign up for a free trial of your software. At this point, they’re familiarizing themselves with your brand and deciding if you’re the right solution for them.
If you’re going to reach out to this person, it shouldn’t be to convince them to buy, but rather, to offer additional support if needed. As a sales representative, you need to show them that your company cares about how they use your services and wants to be the helping hand they need when they have questions.
At this point in the sales cycle, you still may not be sure whether the lead is qualified or not. Thankfully, there are questions you can ask to help determine where they are in the buying process.
How to Tell If My Lead Is Hot?
Only when a lead comes to you and asks about pricing, signing a contract, or getting started should you try and close them. You can nudge them in the right direction by asking them how their free trial went once it’s over, but a lead isn’t truly a hot lead until they ask for concrete steps to move forward.
If you think you have a hot lead but aren’t sure, try a soft close. An example of this would be letting them know you have a deal going on but not asking them to purchase. Let them tell you they want to buy.
The Importance of Sales Lead Management
Sales lead management is the overall lead qualification process for a business. The flow a lead generally goes through is:
Identified: A lead is recognized.
Educated: A lead learns about your brand.
Engaged: The lead has performed an action with your company.
Qualified: The lead is qualified and is ready to purchase.
Passed On To Sales: Sales has the lead and is closing it.
As a sales manager, you need to be clear about the sales process and determine the parameters for a lead’s temperature. Without setting clear guidelines and expectations, your sales team won’t know how to move a prospect through the temperatures and turn them into a hot lead.
By creating a winning lead strategy, you can expect to see your team more confident in their sales. They will also be more capable of closing deals and building long-lasting relationships with your new clients.
It is tough to look at those five stages and manually move leads around to serve them best. That’s why lead management software is a great choice to help classify a sales lead temperature.
Why You Should Use a Lead Management Software to Determine Sales Lead Temperature
A CRM can boost your sales by up to 29% and has proven to increase productivity by 34%. Getting the right lead management software helps you to warm leads up and increases the amount of time your sales team is selling rather than prospecting.
A lead management software will automatically tag and filter your leads to show you the ones that need interaction with you. After setting up the parameters for a cold, warm, and hot lead, your sales team will save time by only focusing on the closest to-converting prospects.
Lead management software is typically built with numerous integrations to make your daily life easier. These integrations can help warm up your leads by sending them relevant emails to inform and encourage them to keep interacting with your brand.
When it comes to understanding a lead’s temperature, don’t underestimate the importance of tracking your prospect’s actions. IP tracking will tell you when a prospect comes to your site, opens your emails, and what they end up doing with that information.
Knowing what they interact with and what they ignore will help you tailor your sales pitch to meet their unique needs.
Using filters helps to remove clutter in your dashboard. Filters and segments enable you to focus your efforts on leads that are inside your target audience.
You can filter data such as a company’s name, the business’s size, where their head office is, and how they initially found your business. From there, your lead management software will be able to automatically send targeted messages to help move prospects through the funnel.
Good lead management software helps you segment your leads and enables you to qualify leads. Knowing how to qualify a lead is a skill that all salespeople and marketers are constantly working to perfect. Don’t try to do it all yourself; allow the software to help make the process easier and more efficient.
When you use the right lead system, you’ll automatically be notified when someone interacts with your site, indicating they are ready to buy. You no longer have to rely solely on identifying the signals yourself. You can trust your software to alert you of critical actions your prospects are taking.
To begin using an automated lead generating and nurturing system, request your free LeadBoxer trial today!
You know that a full sales pipeline is imperative for business growth. Without an airtight system for B2B lead generation in place, you’re sure to slow down your already hard-working sales team.
At first, B2B lead generation might seem like a complex process, but don’t let that discourage you. In this article, you’ll learn the three essential components you must have for an effective system of B2B lead generation:
Strategy – the digital channels you use to attract your clients
Best practices – the details you must include to make sure those channels work well
Tools – the software that will ensure your system is optimized and automated
With these components in mind, you’ll be able to craft a system that appeals to your ideal buyers and starts generating leads quickly and with less effort.
Assessing that information to determine which are the highest quality leads
An optimized lead generation strategy can deliver increased ROI for your marketing budget by filling a sales pipeline on autopilot. It saves your sales team the frustration of cold calling or cold emailing, helping keep productivity and morale high.
The Top Strategies for B2B Lead Generation
There are several different strategies for gaining prospects’ attention. Which of the following or combination of the following you should use will depend upon the online behavior of your ideal buyer.
Facebook has several different ad formats, but rce
If the user is interested in learning more about the product or service, they click the ad and a form appears. Facebook pre-populates the form with their information so there are only a few taps between you and a newly qualified lead.
Secret Entourage, a mentorship service for entrepreneurs, reportedly restructured and streamlined their ad strategy by focusing on Lead Ads. Compared to their original campaign, the new one led to 40% more purchases with 88% fewer ad sets. They were also able to lower their cost per purchase by 10%.
While this case study shows promise, the average click-through rate (CTR) of Facebook ads for B2B companies is 0.78%. While the average CTR across all industries is 0.9%.
A more effective platform for social media ads may be LinkedIn. Source
It makes sense why. A sizable chunk of LinkedIn users are in the position to make purchasing decisions for their companies. Of its 500 million members, 61 million are senior-level influencers and 40 million are decision makers.
Several case studies back up the claim that LinkedIn is the king of B2B marketing on social media. Simplus, a Salesforce partner, saw 70% of their website form fills come directly from LinkedIn. As a result, they’re shifting most of their ad spend to the platform.
While LinkedIn has a higher cost per click (CPC) than Google Ads, the conversion rate is twice as high. This leads to a lower cost per lead overall.
Don’t write off Google Ads or other pay-per-click (PPC) ads just yet. These are some of the most popular channels for lead generation. And there are benefits to having them as a part of your lead generation strategy.
The average conversion rate for B2B industries is 3.04% in the search network and 0.8% in the display network.
While both the CTR and conversion rate for B2B ads is lower than most other industry averages, there are countless case studies out there that demonstrate the effectiveness of PPC ads for B2B businesses.
Digital marketing agency SevenAtoms executed a campaign that included Google Ads for Imperva Incapsula, a cyber security SaaS company. The results speak for themselves:
Mn this case, it definitely paid for Imperva Incapsula to have an experienced agency on their team to get the most out of their PPC ad budget.
If you’re interested in other PPC ad options, consider review directories such as FinancesOnline, G2, or Capterra. These platforms can have lead conversion rates as high as 24%. Making them solid alternatives for companies who are more concerned about their budget.
Capterra is a review directory dedicated to software, making it the perfect choice for SaaS companies. In Capterra, companies can pay to be a sponsored post so they rank at the top of a search:
The “Visit Website” button in this example takes visitors to a landing page tailor-made for that ad. Leads acquired through this channel are clearly searching for a software solution, making them highly qualified.
Blogging is a popular method of content marketing for B2B companies, and for good reason. It gives businesses a chance to:
Answer prospects’ questions
Demonstrate their expertise
Show what makes them unique in a sea of competitors
Provide excellent service before any money has ever changed hands
To a potential customer, all these qualities can help increase their trust in your business. Provided you give them an opportunity to fill out a form for more information somewhere within the blog post or on the page, blogging can be an effective way of collecting leads.
They were also able to increase organic traffic by 182%, ensuring that their visibility on search engines would continue to grow.
HubSpot also knows that blogging is a major asset for their business. 90% of their leads each month come from posts on HubSpot that were published months or years ago.
No matter the changing trends in social media or content marketing, email and email tracking pixel continue to be a valuable form of lead generation and nurturing. For every dollar spent on email marketing, businesses can earn $43.
In order to stand out, it pays to be thoughtful about the quality of emails you’re sending. There’s no sense in flooding a subscriber’s already crowded inbox.
Hammock, a B2B content marketing agency, thought creatively about its newsletter. It came up with the !dea Email, or one “bright idea” in a single email. Each email includes a single landscape image accompanied by about 350 words of copy.
By focusing on a simple, interesting concept sent every two weeks, Hammock was able to boost their open rates by 48%. They cut through the clutter of subscribers’ inboxes by adhering to the principle of more is less.
The 8 Best Practices for B2B Lead Generation
Now that you know the strategies of lead generation, it’s time to hone in on the details. These best practices will make sure your system for lead generation is airtight.
Tailor Marketing to Different Buyer Personas
Your business should have at least one buyer persona so that you know exactly how to structure your marketing and lead generation efforts. Knowing your ideal buyer will help you know where you should direct your ad spend. And also what kind of content you should be creating to attract them.
Not all prospects with decision-making or purchasing power will have the same online behaviors. For example, Pew research found that Twitter usage among U.S. adults drops as age increases. On the other hand, 61% of LinkedIn users are in the 30 to 64-year-old age range. You may be able to reach some mid-level decision makers on Twitter, as well as some senior-level influencers on LinkedIn.
If there’s only one best practice to follow, let it be this one.
In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated by mobile users. That means there’s a good possibility that over half of the visitors to your site could be viewing it on their phone.
If your site isn’t built to be mobile-friendly, then chances are you’re losing a devastating amount of leads – and sales.
Optimize Your Website
Even if your site has a professional design and is mobile-friendly, you still might be losing visitors before they have a chance to become viable leads. Use Google Analytics to view an overview of behavior flow so you can see exactly where and how much traffic is dropping off.
This will help you hone in on what pages are attracting and retaining visitors, and what pages still need some work. You can then use tools like Hotjar (discussed in a later section) to get even more specific and discover exactly what elements on a page are working well and what needs to be updated.
Use Video Content
There are a few powerful statistics that suggest that video content can drive significant traffic for your website. A white paper from Cisco states that internet video traffic made up 69% of all global consumer internet traffic in 2017.
Meanwhile, a report from HubSpot showed that when given the choice to skim or consume thoroughly, 55% of users will pay close attention to video – more than any other type of content analyzed.
Create Long-Form Blog Content Consistently
Just because video is a powerful content marketing tool doesn’t mean that you should ignore blogging. Long-form content is still king when it comes to generating traffic from search engine results. In fact, posts with at least 2,000 words are more likely to rise to the top of search engines than any other article length.
Keywords alone won’t ensure the top spot on search engines. To increase your ranking, create high-quality articles and guides on a regular basis so that Google knows your site is relevant and engaging. This also increases your brand awareness and credibility with leads.
Capture Leads on Every Site Page
Your blog and video content gives visitors a reason to come to your site, so be sure to give them an opportunity to stay. At least one newsletter sign-up form, comment form, trial sign-up button, or other lead capturing form should be available on each page of your site.
To make capturing leads through forms even more effective, structure your content so that it naturally segues into the sign-up form. Be sure to test and analyze how well each page or post is at capturing leads, then adjust accordingly
Use Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are offers such as white papers, ebooks, or other free resources that are used to entice visitors into giving you their information. These resources also help you qualify leads, as they can help indicate the lead’s needs and pain points.
To create an irresistible lead magnet, follow these examples and come up with a resource that solves a problem, is specific, easy to digest, and has high actual and perceived value.
Score Captured Leads
Not all leads are created equal. Lead scoring is the process of generating a number, typically between one and 100, that shows just how qualified that lead is. The process can be done manually with a formula, although this is time-consuming and has a lot of variables.
Luckily, there are some options for automating the lead scoring process, as you’ll see in the next section.
The 8 Best Tools for Optimizing B2B Lead Generation
All these strategies and best practices might seem overwhelming, but there are several tools to help you automate, execute, and optimize your lead generation strategy. Best of all, many of these tools are free or free to get started.
Best Lead Scorer: LeadBoxer
LeadBoxer doesn’t just score leads captured through forms or lead magnets on your site. It’s able to identify 50% of site visitors who would otherwise remain anonymous. Not only that, it can populate data such as contact information, the prospect’s industry, and their specialty.
LeadBoxer also tracks visitors’ online behavior while they engage with your brand (website visits, social media engagement, email opens, ad clicks, etc.) It uses this information to automatically calculate a lead score, which tells your sales team who is most likely to convert.a
This saves your team time, increases sales, boosts morale, and ultimately saves you money.
Thanks to an intuitive interface and a slew of features, Instapage is the perfect tool for building landing pages that integrate seamlessly with your PPC advertising campaign.
You can easily optimize pages for lead generation by using features like heatmaps, A/B testing, mobile-responsive pages, and drop-in pixel tracking for easy remarketing. Best of all, Instapage’s drag-and-drop interface is user-friendly, negating the need for a web designer to get your campaign started.
With Instapage, you can create several landing pages that are individually tailored to target unique buyer personas, all with a few clicks of the mouse.
While Instapage has several features that help you create optimized landing pages, you need to make sure the rest of your website is working just as hard for your business. A well-optimized website is an essential part of the user experience and can generate more leads, regardless of whether or not they discovered your brand through a landing page.
Hotjar tracks users’ journeys through your site and shows you exactly where they’re dropping off and why. Powerful tools like heatmaps, visitor recordings, form analysis, and feedback polls eliminate all the guesswork about why certain visitor behavior is happening and what can be done to improve their journey.
A robust social media presence helps your business establish credibility and trust. Luckily, you don’t need an overly complex strategy or need to devote a lot of time and manpower to sustaining your social presence.
A tool like Buffer keeps all your posts organized and automated. Use it to schedule posts in advance, then review the analytics to see how well posts are performing.
Buffer also collects conversations from your followers in one inbox, making it easy to respond to questions or comments about your business.
Best Content Planner: Google Analytics and Keyword Planner
Creating high-quality blog content that visitors will find extremely useful and interesting is one of the best ways to attract new leads. Free tools like Google Analytics and Keyword Planner can help you pick article topics that are sure to perform well.
Keyword Planner is actually a function of Google Ads, but it can help you pick blog topics, too. Use it to check out average monthly searches and competition for a potential keyword and its variations. You can quickly see if there’s an interested audience, room to rise to the top of the search page, or a keyword variation where your future content might perform better.
With Google Analytics, you can observe user behavior on your site and see what content you’ve previously published is performing the best. With this insight, you can plan follow-up content to build on the success you’ve already had.
One of the best ways to nurture leads and keep your brand top-of-mind is through email campaigns.
Mailchimp makes it easy to visualize, create, and test welcome email sequences designed with conversions in mind. It also collects and analyzes information about how subscribers are interacting with your emails. Helping you optimize and create more effective campaigns.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is necessary for tracking potential prospects and keeping a record of all their details.
HubSpot’s sales software is an extremely powerful tool that starts at $0/month. It’s able to track lead behavior on your website, then send personalized email sequences based on their actions.
HubSpot also tracks where leads are in their buyer journey, helping you visualize your pipeline at a glance. Integrate HubSpot with some of your other tools, such as LeadBoxer, to get an even better idea of who’s ready to convert and who needs a little more nurturing.
It’s time to turn your leads into clients. Take all the guesswork out of how to pitch to them by using a tool like Crystal.
Crystal analyzes a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, then provides actionable insights about their personality based on what kinds of posts they’re writing and engaging with. It also collects the feedback of people who have previously interacted with that person, increasing the accuracy of the assessment.
Use Crystal to decide the best ways for communicating with a prospect, that way you’re never flying blind when entering a sales meeting.
Grow Your Sales with Strategic B2B Lead Generation
Automatically generating leads for startups and others is the key to closing more deals and growing your business. There are several different strategies you can take. But the ones you choose will ultimately hinge upon the online behavior of your ideal buyers.
By following the best practices and using some of the tools outlined in this article, you’ll soon have an optimized, automatic system for generating and scoring leads that keeps working even when you’re not. Sales enablement tools can help you make this process even better.
The next time you log back on, there’ll already be several prospects with high lead scores ready for you to reach out to.
Anyone involved in sales and marketing knows that developing sales through cold calling (cold leads) can be a thankless and frustrating task. In the modern age, though, an effective digital marketing strategy can mean that prospective clients already know all about your business and are ready to convert into customers with just a little encouragement. Welcome to the world of warm leads. An effective web presence and strong social media engagement means that the word is already out there regarding your business. People will be aware of your service and your unique selling points, and the whole sales dynamic becomes easier and more successful. This meansbetter conversion rates and less time wastedon trying to develop interest in your product or service from scratch.
Is cold calling dead?
Everyone has experience of a cold call, whether it is a telephone call from a double glazing company, an unsolicited email offering you car insurance or a catalogue through your letterbox. Cold calls do generate some sales leads, or nobody would be doing them, but generation and conversion rates are poor. An increasing number of people block unsolicited calls and emails, and there is a school of thought thatcold calling is no longer worth the effort. In the majority of cases, cold calls get you off on the wrong foot with the customer and put you at an instant disadvantage. They are suspicious of you and your motives, they never asked you to call and you probably interrupted them in the middle of dinner. Not the best start for a successful future.
What are warm leads?
A warm lead is someone who has already shown an interest in your product or service. They might have taken a look at your website or signed up for an email newsletter. Or perhaps they have followed you on social media or read an article or blog post that you have published. At the very least, you can be confident that warm leads are aware of and are interested in your product or service and have demonstrated an interest in learning more about it. They are far more promising than cold leads, as the initial “foot in the door” part is not necessary. There will not be the same level of suspicion and reluctance to engage. Many warm leads will approach you, rsocather than you having to chase them, but there are others that just need a little push in the right direction.
Getting hotter – qualified leads
A qualified lead is one that is a step further on in the buying cycle. While warm leads are aware of what you have to offer, a qualified lead is one that specifically needs that product or service. For example, if you operate an Italian restaurant in New York, then warm leads might be those who look at your social media pages and sign up for newsletters. They know something about your restaurant, and might be prepared to give it a try if they were in the neighborhood. Compare this with someone who has googled “Italian restaurant in New York” – this is a qualified lead, as it is someone who is specifically looking for a service just like yours.
Focus on Warm Leads
SEO expertsSearch Engine Journalcarried out some research on warm leads versus cold, and the results are remarkable. They concluded that search-driven leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to just 1.7% for cold leads. This is simply because warm leads are already better prospects. Cold calls mean a lot of wasted time on prospects who have given no thought to your offering.
Identifying warm leads
The digital age is all about big data. There is more information available regarding every part of a business than ever before. Everyone who clicks on a link, conducts a search or uses an app leaves a unique data stream. The amount of data that’s being created and stored every day is truly mind-boggling, and it just keeps growing. The company that makes the best use of the data at its disposal is the one that will gain an edge over its competitors, but in the grand scheme of things, only a small percentage of data is actually analyzed and used to make critical insights. By making use of onlinelead generation tools,you can identify who is visiting your website and why. This gives you some useful information as to what people are looking for, and how they are driven to you. It provides a ready-made list of warm leads for you to develop into paying customers.
Evaluating your best leads
You can achieve unprecedented conversion rates by using the latestproprietary algorithmsto rank those warm leads and make sure you focus on the ones that are likely to bring the highest prospects of a completed sale. Traditional sales strategies have relied on what is known as the BANT approach to evaluate leads. In short, this evaluates the following parameters:
Budget: does the potential lead have the funds available to buy your product or service?
Authority: is your prospective buyer in the position to make the purchase decision, or will they have to seek approval from somebody else?
Need: do they have a specific need that the product or service will satisfy?
Time frame: are they in the market for your product now, or at some future date?
Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with the BANT approach, and it has become the go-to sales qualification methodology. However, it does have certain flaws and limitations. For example, the implication is that Budget is the first and most important consideration, when in reality, most people will agree that Need is most important. What is it that people want, what problems are they facing or questions do they seek answers to that have driven them to your business? Customer need should really be the first consideration of anyone in sales, and in order to understand that, you need to know your customers.
Understanding your customers
Customer personas are the basic characteristics of your customer base. They might include basic demographic information such as age, gender, income level and employment status, as well as non-identifiable personal data, including geographic location, personal goals, past behaviour and lifestyle. Through personas, you also learn why they are looking to interact with your business and what needs they think you can satisfy. This information is of critical importance as it helps you decide where to focus your marketing efforts. Traditionally, companies have defined their most valuable customers as those who spend the most money. However, that may be over-simplistic, and there are plenty of other factors to consider, including the following:
Acquisition costs: How much did you have to spend on sales and marketing to win this type of customer? If acquisition costs are high and returns are low, then it could be time to rethink your methods.
Retention costs: What do you need to do in order to keep your customers? Do they expect a large amount of communication, support or training? In general, acquisition costs are higher than retention costs, so it makes sense to do whatever you have to, in order to maintain a close relationship with your customers and give them no reason to look elsewhere.
Average purchase size: On average, how much does your customer spend on a single purchase? Consider this question not just in the aggregate, but by each persona or customer type. Bear in mind that people often make purchasing decisions on the basis of value, not just on price. Ask yourself whether you might sell more to any customer segments through carefully targeted promotions and by developing an awareness and interest in other product lines. Social media coverage can be great for promotions like this.
Lifetime value: Single purchases are great, but repeat purchases are better. How much does each segment spend with your business over the course of their lifetime? This metric says a lot about the overall relationship that you have with your customers.
Customer satisfaction: To what extent are your customers satisfied with your product or service offering? Can you identify groups of satisfied and dissatisfied customers? If so, what makes one group happy and the other group unhappy? This is a great way to identify areas for improvement, or it could be a case of needing to communicate better to manage customer expectations.
Value alignment: Are your target customers actually the people who are buying from you? If not, then who is? Knowing this will help you to further refine your customer segments, and to make sure you are perfectly aligned.
By examining the above metrics, you will have better knowledge than ever about your customers. Armed with this knowledge, you will be in the ideal position to develop those leads that can bring real long-term success to your business and ensure you maintain that all-important competitive edge. In our next article that you can find here, we have discussed our best Lead Generation strategies for 2017.