Lead Quality vs. Lead Quantity: Which is Better?

 In B2B Marketing

Ask a roomful of B2B demand-gen marketers what their biggest headache is, and 99% will say: lead quality and lead quantity.

But the only reason we want more leads is because we want better-qualified leads. And we figure the best way to get better-qualified leads is to have a bigger selection of leads to choose from. Right?

The reality is that lead quality rarely correlates with quantity. Getting a higher volume of leads doesn’t solve your headache. It’s more like taking a handful of aspirin for your aching knee, and giving yourself a terrible stomachache instead.

Lead Quality: What Does It Really Mean?

The fact is that with the right tools, you can consistently get a higher quantity of high quality leads that keeps your sales pipeline full of promising opportunities.

How is that possible? One of the priceless gifts we have today is data. With the right tools, we can mine data to find out more about our prospects than we ever thought possible.

But that gift is a double-edged sword. The amount of data out there is overwhelming. If you’re a Fortune 1000 company with a database of millions of customers, hundreds of products and multiple offices around the world, you have a ton of data. The challenge is how to extract valuable insights that will inform your tactical and strategic decisions. As statistician Nate Silver (of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight Blog) has observed, “finding the signal in the noise” is like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Marketers face the same dilemma with data and lead generation. You have a list of 10,000 contacts that look like your buyers. Even if those contacts seem to have budget and authority, you really can’t be sure about need and timing. And need and timing are the key elements that determine lead quality.

So, how do you know which of those contacts have a need and are ready to buy? How do you avoid putting too much faith in tools that promise to find quality leads among masses of data, only to turn up “false positives?”

It’s all about what you know.

Some marketers think predictive lead scoring will tell you what you need to know. That’s not entirely true. Yes, predictive lead scoring “qualifies” and ranks your contacts; but it only does so based on static attributes like company size (budget) or job title (authority) and a limited number of behavioral signals (read your newsletter). Unfortunately, predictive lead scoring will never identify those two essential elements of need and timing. (To learn more about the differences, watch this webinar.)

How Predictive Intelligence Delivers Quantities of Quality Leads

With the right predictive intelligence solution, however, you can eliminate this lack of visibility. That’s because an effective predictive intelligence platform will sync your internal data with millions of external data signals to provide a clear, unified view of all your prospects’ buyer profiles, intent signals and predicted buying stages.

For example, 6sense customers can see not only budget and authority, but also know need and timing of each prospect. They know need by seeing which products their prospects are considering and the data sources they have been accessing to learn more about those products. They know timing because the 6sense predictive intelligence engine combs a unique and proprietary blend of data sources to find patterns of behavior that indicate that the account is entering a buying cycle.

Our customers can track how each prospect moves through his or her buying journey, leaving traces of wants and needs – this data can be used to personalize and target prospects at exactly the right time with the right message. The buyer’s journey today is dynamic; and without a way to gauge need and timing, your lead generation efforts are seriously impaired.

If you know who is “in market” to buy, you don’t need to spray and pray. You can market to and sell to the right people and not to those you think might be interested. If you focus on a buyer that is highly likely to buy, versus bunches of buyers that might be likely to buy, you’ll get better ROI. Less time wasted. Fewer opt-outs. And a higher quantity of quality leads.

Interested in learning more? Hear Kerry Cunningham, Research Director at SiriusDecisions and Amanda Kahlow, CEO and Founder of 6sense discuss how to find in-market buyers with predictive intelligence in this webinar.


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