This guest post comes from Aaron Ross, author of the award-winning, bestselling book Predictable Revenue. It originally ran on his blog.
Sales revenue keeps your SaaS business afloat, but it can’t be the only metric you track. Sales data only looks backwards at deals you’ve already closed, giving little indication of what’s to come.
But Lead Velocity Rate (LVR) is like a crystal ball that lets you see future sales performance. Mathematically, if you generate 10% more leads this month than you did last month, sales should also grow 10%.
The one caveat? If those leads aren’t properly qualified—that is, if they aren’t prospects you have a real chance of closing—then LVR tells you nothing. And as of 2015, more than 80% of B2B marketers say their lead generation efforts aren’t effective enough.
You could qualify your leads with a convoluted scoring system. But at Qualaroo, we’ve found that the best method is to directly ask your potential customers and let them qualify themselves. With our targeted surveys, you can ask specific site visitors whatever questions you want and let them tell you in their own words how good of a lead they are. Here’s how it’s done in five simple steps.
Step 1: Make “Need” Part of Your Ideal Customer Profile
Your ideal customer profile (ICP) should act as a rubric that helps prospectors quickly identify the companies who will become great customers. But most ICPs don’t account for the most important question in any sale: Does this person have the problem your product solves?
Instead, most ICPs define the ideal customer as something like:
- A VP of X
- At a company in Industry Y
- With at least Z number of employees
That gives prospectors great criteria to find plenty of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) who, on paper, look like they’d make great customers. But that’s not enough.
Once prospectors pass those leads off to sales, you need them to move through the funnel and become sales qualified leads (SQLs)—leads your sales team has a legitimate shot at closing. That’ll never happen if they don’t actually have a need for your product.
Regardless of whether you use Qualaroo, your ICP needs to go deeper than demographic data and get into how your product will make prospects more successful. Otherwise, your sales team will end up with a bunch of great-looking leads they don’t have a chance of closing.
Step 2: Build a Survey that Finds the Ideal Customer
Once you have a bulletproof ICP, build a Qualaroo survey that uncovers which visitors fit the bill. Start with the most important criterion: whether they have the problem your product solves.
Our client GoodBlogs uses a short but effective Qualaroo survey to generate leads for a livestock company looking to sell horse trailers. The survey starts by asking, “Do you own a horse?” If they answer “yes,” the user gets a follow-up form asking for their email address. From there, they’re treated like any other viable lead in the sales funnel.
That survey might seem overly simple, but it’s enough to move the needle. No one who doesn’t own a horse needs a horse trailer, so it wouldn’t make sense to pursue them as a lead. Those simple questions also increase response rate, which means more leads and a higher LVR.
You can do the same thing with your survey:
Lead off with a question that identifies the need for your product. For B2B, that means a question that focuses on the value your product delivers, rather than what it actually does.
Next, ask anyone who does have that need for their email address and the name of their company. If you use our integration, Qualaroo can push that information to Salesforce in real time and create a new lead for your sales team automatically. You’ll need a bit more data to fully flesh that lead out, but that minimal user input gives you all the information you need to get it. Later, we’ll fill you in on how.
Step 3: Target the Customers Seeking out Your Product
Asking the right questions with your survey is key to getting better leads, but it’s only half the battle. You’ll find a lot more leads who actually need your product if you target your survey to visitors who are already looking for solutions to the problem it solves.
That’s why Qualaroo offers several different ways to target users based on past behavior. Consider characteristics like:
- Where they came from. If someone came to your site by clicking a link on another site that, say, reviews products like yours, then that indicates they’re looking to buy soon.
- Which of your pages they’ve visited. For instance, someone who went to your pricing page has shown interest in how much your product cost. That could mean they’re considering buying it.
- How many times they’ve visited. Visitors who keep coming back to your site in a short span of time are likely showing your product to colleagues or comparing it with your competitors. That suggests they want to buy.
The behaviors that suggest buying intent will change from product to product. Your best bet is to talk to your top customers, ask how they discovered and evaluated your product, and target your survey accordingly.
Step 4: Fill in the Data Gaps for Each Lead
If you follow Steps 1-3, you’ll have a steady stream of email addresses and company names coming in from people who say your product can solve a problem for them.
But what about the rest of your ICP? It’s crucial for leads to actually need your product. But you still need information like the prospect’s job title, company size, and industry.
Each of those variables affects how the lead would use your product, which completely changes the way a salesperson would pitch it to them. Not to mention, different companies have different sales cycles and levels of willingness to spend on SaaS. Your salespeople can’t sell to everyone who might have a need. They need to narrow in on the leads they’re most likely to close.
Luckily, there are other tools that can get you that data from the information you collected from leads at the end of your survey:
- Clearbit Enrichment can get you a lead’s name, job title, location, and social media profiles. All you need is their email address.
- Mattermark is an encyclopedia of firmographic data that helps prospectors find and vet leads. It doesn’t just tell you a company’s industry, size, or level of funding. It also uses proprietary metrics to predict how much the company is likely to grow in the near future. That’s the best indicator of future upsell potential, especially if you charge per user.
Add that new data to the lead’s information in Salesforce and have your team initiate contact.
Step 5: Measure Your Success
In order to get the most out of Qualaroo, you need to measure both how many leads it creates and what percentage of those leads go on to become SQLs.
Let’s think about it in terms of the sales funnel above. Since Qualaroo targets a portion of all the traffic to your site, it should increase the raw number of qualified leads coming into the top of the funnel. In this case, a 10% bump would start you off with 1,513 leads rather than 1,375. At the current conversion rates, that would net you 473 deals versus the original 427.
Let’s also assume that for this company, any lead that makes it to the “present solution” stage is an SQL. If Qualaroo bumped that rate up 5%, from 67% to 72%, your team would then go from 473 closed deals to 509. That’s a massive increase over the original 427.
But as with any marketing channel, you always need to be measuring Qualaroo’s results and looking for ways to improve them. Experiment with different questions to uncover your leads’ need for your product or new ways of targeting surveys to make sure you’re getting as many high-quality leads as possible.
Build a Bridge Between Sales and Marketing
Everyone knows the old stereotype about sales and marketing always being at each other’s throats. When that actually happens, it’s almost always because there’s a disconnect about who constitutes a strong lead.
Qualaroo solves that problem by starting answering the most important lead generation question right off the bat: Does this person need our product? It sets both sides up for success. Marketing can generate better leads in less time, and the sales team gets a growing pipeline of qualified leads.
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