Leads are the Holy Grail of marketing – everyone wants them but acquiring them is more difficult than ever. With so much information out there these days, marketers are faced with an ever-growing challenge to capture the attention of a possible lead.

Furthermore, not all leads are equal. Today potential customers want to spend time researching their options before having a conversation with you about solving their problem. It often can be futile to contact a lead too early. The many sources of information available (e.g. eBooks, webinars, social media, blogs, white papers) means the buyer’s journey isn’t as straightforward as it once may have been.

Writing for Entrepreneur, Michael Brenner, Head of Strategy for NewsCred, emphasises the importance of differentiating between an “inquiry” and a “lead”. He writes: “An inquiry is a person who has done something to express interest in understanding how to solve a problem. That problem may or may not be relevant to your product. Your job is to find out if the inquiry is relevant. […] A lead is a qualified business opportunity.”

So, the real question for many businesses today isn’t, “how can I generate more leads” it’s “how can I generate higher quality leads that will turn into qualified opportunities?“.

The answer for most of us is to get smarter about how we generate leads.

Start with your database

One of the best sources of intelligence to help your lead generation strategy is your existing database of customers and prospects. The data you already have can be a goldmine of information. Understanding who your best customers are and what they have in common will help you target similar prospects.

Your first step should be to harmonise your records. Many companies find that they have many databases across the organisation – for example, customer data is in one place, prospect info in another. Marketing, sales and customer service can often have different lists with insightful information in them.

So the first thing to do is to bring all that data together, to merge the information and then de-duplicate the records and individual fields. Then you should ensure that this new combined database has clean data – that is, data that is accurate, up-to-date and which has not been obtained via illegal or unethical methods.

Implement profiling and analysis

Once your database is suitably spruced up, you can implement profiling and analysis. This process will enable you to work out the key attributes of your best customers and, therefore, who you should be targeting in the future. For instance, you might analyse your database by industry sector or sub-sector, size, location, spend, and/or job titles, in order to pinpoint clusters of similar customers, who are important to your business.

When you have this more complete understanding of your database, you can do two things to improve your lead generation: augment your data with new lists of targets and devise better marketing campaigns.

Smart target lists

By identifying customer trends and attributes you can acquire prospects who match. A good data consultancy partner will be able to tell you how many more prospects are out there that are like your best customers. By focusing on targets who share the traits of those who already know and love your offerings, you are able to increase the likelihood that your prospects will turn into good leads.

Targeted campaigns

The insights that can be gained by scrutinising your new database can help you create marketing campaigns that are attuned to the needs of the people who will most benefit from your product or service. Whatever channel you use – direct mail, telemarketing or email – your return on investment will likely be far higher if you have taken the time to think tactically about what your audience wants and how you can give it to them.

Create a B2B data strategy

Having structured your database and carried out profiling and analysis, you can develop and implement your B2B data strategy – a marketing strategy with data and data insights at the heart of it. By routinely gathering intelligence from your database and enhancing and augmenting it with up to date records, you will greatly improve your chances of engaging with the right people, who may go on to become your customers.

Why not read one of our previous posts, for some tips on utilising different marketing channels:

Whichever marketing channel you use, consistency of message is key – constantly reinforcing to your audience why you are a great choice to help them with their business challenges.

Acquiring leads – and, more importantly, high-quality leads – is every marketer’s quest. Your current database is the perfect starting point to capturing better leads that will feed into your sales funnel. If you’re looking to buy leads online in the UK, feel free to contact us.

Related Topics: B2B data