Avatar photo Michael Cooney
Jan 29, 2020

Qualified Leads: The Key to Setting Your Agency Apart

You don’t mix oil and water, or orange juice and toothpaste. The same goes for mixing qualified leads and bad leads. If you don’t differentiate between the two, you’ll end up with a confusing marketing picture.

Without separating good leads from bad leads, it’s difficult to prove whether or not your marketing is working. Every agency should be able to tell clients whether the marketing campaigns drive qualified leads, or if the leads are junk; a waste of the salespeoples’ time.

Separating good leads from bad leads will instantly clear up your marketing picture.

This post is about the importance of lead qualification; why it matters and how agencies can track and qualify leads the right way. I’ll also touch on how to speed up lead qualification by identifying the variables that determine if a lead is good or bad.

First, Let’s Talk About Lead Tracking

Lead tracking helps marketers understand which campaigns and channels attract customers. Just 10 percent of marketers say they’re capable of tracking all conversions back to the original marketing channel, meaning 90 percent of marketers could use a strategy for better lead tracking.

tracking qualified leads

Your marketing team should be able to track every type of conversion (including phone calls, form-fills, live chats, etc) back to the marketing channel responsible for the lead. If you can track every type of conversion, you can show more leads on your marketing reports. However, your reports will show both qualified and unqualified leads. What if the client starts asking whether the leads are good or bad? You need to be ready with answers.

Clients don’t like paying for campaigns that drive unqualified leads.

The best lead tracking tools gather enough information about every lead so that it’s easy for marketers to disqualify junk leads. That’s important, for the following reasons:

Why Qualified Leads Matter: They help you show clients ROI

Identifying and eliminating bad leads gives you more clarity into which marketing campaigns deliver good leads. With more clarity into which marketing campaigns work, it’s easier to focus on the most cost-effective campaigns that drive the highest most potential revenue.

Disqualifying leads will validate your marketing reports and give you a strong foundation of qualified leads upon which to base your marketing decisions. The more smart marketing decisions you make, the more money your clients make. The more your clients make, the longer the relationship lasts.

Why Qualified Leads Matter: They help marketing & sales get along

Have you ever experienced this situation?

Your marketing agency seems to be driving plenty of leads, but the sales numbers don’t show improvement.

When this happens, blame often falls on the client’s sales team for failing to convert leads into customers. In fact, it’s more likely that the problem lies with the marketing agency failing to deliver qualified leads. The only way to find out is to gather a lot of information about every lead:

  • Who are they?
  • Where did they come from?
  • How did they get in touch?
  • What do they want?

If the marketing team knows all these answers, they can disqualify leads before bad leads reach the sales team. This ensures the sales team only gets good leads.

When you know which marketing channels drive qualified leads, you can focus on the campaigns that help the client’s sales team most. By focusing on the stats that matter, you can build a reliable foundation of data.

Why Qualified Leads Matter: They enhance Google Analytics

Among other things, Google Analytics lets marketers track conversions back to the responsible marketing channel.

Even with this information at your disposal in Google Analytics, you’ll also need to know the quality of the lead. That’s where Google Analytics should be used in conjunction with lead tracking and management software. By integrating more detailed lead information into Google Analytics, you can ensure you have answers if your client ever asks about the quality of the leads in your reports.

Here’s what a lead normally looks like in Google Analytics, using conversion tracking:

Lead = conversion type + marketing source. 

As an agency, you need to know if someone filled out a form on your client’s site and which marketing channel was responsible for that lead. You also need lead details; information that helps you determine if the leads are good, bad or ugly.

Here’s what detailed lead data looks like:

Lead = conversion type + who the person is + what they wanted + marketing source 

It’s easy to disqualify leads when you have this much information. Agencies can enhance Google Analytics data by integrating it with  more robust lead tracking software. With better lead data in Google Analytics, you can be more confident in delivering the best lead tracking, lead management and lead reporting for your clients.

lead qualification

Why Qualified Leads Matter: They eliminate vanity metrics

Every time you step into a client reporting meeting, it’s your job to clearly explain what’s going on with their marketing. Reporting meetings can steal a lot of your team’s time, but only if you report on metrics that don’t matter.

Vanity metrics are marketing metrics that have no impact on your client’s revenue. Qualified Leads (especially qualified leads with lead value attached) is the opposite of a vanity metric; it’s a hard number that ties marketing effectiveness to sales value.

If you’re qualifying leads and assigning lead value, you can show your client that your marketing campaigns drive the most valuable leads; the long-term customers, or customers who want your client’s most expensive products and services, or customers that have a large budget to work with.

So, how should agencies qualify keads?

Building a solid foundation of qualified lead data, starts with the way you track leads. Make sure your agency is going two layers deep when capturing information about every lead. This can be done with a tool like WhatConverts

Layer 1: Lead Source

The first layer of information you need to capture is the marketing source from which the lead came. You need to be able to track that a conversion occurred and track the first-point of contact for that conversion; the marketing source responsible for the lead. This first piece of information will help you determine which marketing channels drive leads.

Layer 2: Lead Details

The second layer of information involves capturing the additional details that will help you qualify or disqualify each lead. For every conversion that occurs, you should know who the lead is, what the person wanted, which marketing source they came from and how they got in touch. That means capturing the following lead details:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign
  • Content
  • Keyword
  • Lead Page
  • Landing Page
  • User Based Data (IP Address, Browser, Operating System and Device)

Once you have all this data, you can identify lead quality, and — depending on your level of access to the client’s business — assign value to leads.

The first layer of information tells you which marketing channels drive leads. The second layer of information helps you determine which marketing channels drive the best leads.

Next Steps: Improving lead qualification

There are major benefits to developing a consistent process for qualifying leads. A standardized process puts the agency and client on the same page, so everyone knows what a qualified leads looks like.

The way to speed up lead qualification is to add custom fields to your lead tracking tool, you can standardize your lead qualification with a series of questions about each lead.

  • For a B2B company, this might mean qualifying leads that come from people with certain job titles; decision makers. It might also mean disqualifying leads from certain industries that the company can’t serve.
  • For B2C businesses, it might mean identifying which products the lead is interested in, or simply noting whether they’re reaching out to buy something or to attempt to sell something. Eliminating spam and sales calls is one of the key benefits of lead qualification.
  • For a medical business, this might mean disqualifying leads that don’t have health insurance, or leads that aren’t located in the same city as the medical office.
  • For an automotive business, it might be as simple as identifying the make and model of the lead’s vehicle. The list goes on and on.

how to qualify leads

The more standardized questions you can answer about every lead, the easier it will be to speed up your lead qualification process. It’s simple data collection— the more data you can capture about your leads, the easier it will be to quickly and easily identify which leads are qualified and which are a waste of your time.

As an agency, you have the chance to qualify leads at the marketing level so that only the good leads appear in your reports, and only the good leads get passed along to your client’s sales team. The goal is to avoid wasting your client’s time by sending them leads that aren’t qualified.

As an added bonus, your agency will benefit from technology integrations that show which marketing channels deliver qualified leads. That gives you the rationale with which to convince clients to spend more on these channels.

Final thoughts

Whether a lead comes from a phone call, a form-fill, or a live chat, you need to be able to track that the conversion occurred, the marketing source that the lead came from, and whether or not the lead is qualified. Once you can do those three things, you begin to speed up the lead qualification process by identifying the variables that mark a good lead or bad lead. If a lead checks the right boxes, it’s qualified; if it doesn’t, it’s not.

Through lead qualification and lead value, you can paint a clear view of your clients’ marketing initiatives and avoid having a foggy marketing picture.

Ready to get started? Learn  how WhatConverts can help

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Avatar photo
Michael Cooney

Michael Cooney is a co-founder of WhatConverts. Connect with him on Twitter or via email at michael.cooney@whatconverts.com.

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