Entries from February 2019

Are inbound leads really leads? I believe the majority are not.

I think some of the information being touted by companies that have a stake in inbound marketing can be misleading. What I am talking about is the categorizing of all inbound inquiries as “leads.”

Ask any salesperson if all inbound inquires are leads, and when he or she stops laughing, you will probably get an earful about how inquiries, unless they have been prequalified, are a waste of salespeople’s time.

I blame the mailing list and database compilers for starting the problem by calling the contacts in their databases or mailing lists “leads.” In my experience, contacts from compiled databases aren’t leads until they have been qualified. Until then I believe they are really just “suspects.”

Not-yet-qualified contacts, such as inquiries (responses) generated by inbound and outbound marketing, are a bit better than suspects, as they indicate that someone actually took some kind of action (e.g., inquired, downloaded, visited, registered, or attended). But I wouldn’t classify these inquiries as “leads” either; I’d classify them as “prospects.”

The majority of inbound inquiries need to be nurtured and qualified with outbound marketing in order to be “qualified” as leads. Don’t believe that? Look beyond the hype and you’ll see that even inbound marketing companies like HubSpot use outbound marketing tactics such as e-mail and telemarketing to proactively follow up on, nurture and qualify their inbound inquiries.

The bottom line?

The most effective lead generation programs involve both inbound and outbound marketing.

What do you think?


B2B enewsletters: Two bits of advice

A client just asked me, “What are the three best pieces of advice to give to companies that embark on an e-newsletter for the first time?”

Here’s my answer:

  1. Useful, relevant content is essential to get readership, and to avoid opt-outs. (I recommend aiming for 80 percent or more useful content and 20 percent or less
  2. Including fewer, shorter articles in more frequent e-newsletters usually gets better results than including more, longer articles in less frequent e-newsletters. (E-newsletters with fewer, shorter articles are easier to get completed and sent out, and more frequent newsletters help keep your company and its products or services in sight and in mind.)

What best advice would you give your fellow B2B marketers about e-newsletters?\


B2B Lead Generation Checklist: 22 success tips

What I like best about being a B2B lead generation consultant is I get to work with some of the best people at the best companies in the business. I get to see first-hand what works best (and what doesn’t) when it comes to generating, nurturing and identifying the qualified, sales-ready leads that salespeople, reps, resellers and distributors need.

Speaking of what works best, here are 22 tips for getting better results from your B2B lead generation programs:

  1. Aim where your prospects are
  2. Be there when they are thinking about the problem (right media, right frequency)
  3. Make it easy to find (in the search engine results, on your website, in their email inbox, etc.)
  4. Focus on generating response
  5. Get right to the point
  6. Be relevant (to their job, industry, application, problem, pain, etc.)
  7. Communicate with words and pictures (or word pictures)
  8. Choose your words carefully (use powerful words and avoid clichés)
  9. Talk second-person (lead with you and your instead of we and our)
  10. Invoke a positive emotional response (pride, happiness, etc.)
  11. Talk about pain-relief or solving problems
  12. Show them the before and after
  13. Make it easy to skim (subheads, bullets, bold fonts, links, captions, etc.)
  14. Back up your claim (prove it)
  15. Use testimonials (real people at real companies)
  16. Offer ways to learn more
  17. Make multiple offers (calls-to-action)
  18. Make offers that appeal at different stages of their buying cycle
  19. Merchandise your offers (borders, color, bold, buttons, links, etc.)
  20. Ask for the order (tell them what to do next)
  21. Give a compelling reason to respond right now
  22. Make it easy to respond (by phone, e-mail, website, coupon, reply card, etc.)

What are some of the secrets to your B2B lead generation success?

Hopefully you’ll share some of them with us.


A list of B2B lead qualification criteria by category

I was thinking about all the lead qualification criteria I’ve seen used in B2B lead generation programs and started listing them by category. Here’s what I came up with so far:

  • Firmographics (Industry, company size, location)
  • Demographics (Contact’s title, job function)
  • Contactability (Phone number, email address)
  • Action taken (Attended webinar, downloaded whitepaper, requested pricing, spent time on certain Web pages)
  • Need for your product or service
  • Fit (Your products or services meet or exceed their technical, performance, reliability requirements)
  • Competition (What other competitors are involved and can you win against them? )
  • Contact’s role in the purchase decision process (Recommender, influencer, decision maker)
  • Timing (Purchase decision timing, implementation timing)
  • Availability of funding for the purchase (Has budget, can get budget)
  • Size of the opportunity (Quantity needed, revenue potential)

What criteria do you use to determine that leads are qualified as being ready for sales follow up?

How do those criteria fall into the categories above? Are there additional categories of criteria I should add to the list? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com