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5 Common B2B Sales Lead Risks & How to Dodge Them

By: Robert Hennessey

5 Common B2B Sales Lead Risks & How to Dodge Them

B2B Sales lead quality is the number one concern of marketers today.

The quality of B2B sales leads is 58% more important than quantity 42% states BtoB Magazine in a 2013 report, surprised? 

It is never really been about quantity when it comes to B2B sales leads. Having tens, hundreds or thousands of sales leads that are unqualified and fail to meet basic B.A.N.T. requirements are useless.

The key question for most B2B companies seeking sales leads today, how to reach their target audience without infuriating your sales prospect. The answer is simple. Find ways to attract your target audience, not attack it.

Given the change in the leverage between B2B buyers and sellers for the buyers, due to the Internet, it is important to plan a marketing strategy that will attract customers not repel them. To avoid exhausting your marketing budget and wasting time keep in mind the following:

  • select a lead generation partner that understands that buyers are now in control of the sales process not sellers as pre-Internet
  • avoid signing any contracts short or long-term
  • ask about the quality of the B2B lead you want vs. what they claim they will deliver
  • do they offer your right to refuse payment for leads that you do not approve
  • avoid incomplete leads that are just names and email addresses

1. Unqualified Sales Leads

If someone tries to sell you, unqualified B2B sales leads do not walk run for the exit. Do you want to pay for leads that have no relevance to your need regarding:

  • your target market
  • the products or services you sell
  • understanding the business problems you can solve
  • the prospect's wanting to talk with you

Defining your needs for the B2B sales leads that will be valuable to you is the only criteria for investing your money in outsourced leads. Do not let the company selling lead generation or sales leads define the leads you need. Paying top dollar for leads or expensive, lead gen automation that does not produce "sales ready" leads is a waste of money.

We recommend you establish sales lead criteria that fall into one of these categories and that you pay commensurate with the lead quality you receive.

  • Qualified B2B Sales Leads  

Sales leads that meet the minimum BANT requirements of budget, authority, need and timeliness and have explicitly made a contact request.

  • Raised Hand Leads — Middle of the Sales Funnel

Sales lead where the prospect has already provided limited contact information. Usually, a name and email to receive an initial Content Request for the information you sent them in exchange for the limited contact information they provided. Now they are returning to your content, asking for additional information, and willing to give up more of their contact information.

  • Content Requests — Top of the Sales Funnel

Minimal contact information usually just a name and an email, not a sales lead.

2.  Data Quality Risks

Besides defining and understanding, the quality of B2B sales leads, the next issue to be wary of is the quality of the information provided in the lead data you receive. So what is data quality? The sales lead you receive will contain specific contact data that must be complete and accurate to have any value.

Look Out for Poor Data Quality Attributes

  • Unverified email addresses
  • Empty data fields
  • Inaccurate phone numbers (Remember, without a valid phone number volunteered by the sales prospect you do not have a lead. You only have partial contact information.)
  • Duplicate leads
  • Unwillingness to make good on inaccurate and incomplete leads

Attributes of High-Quality B2B Sales Leads

Sales Prospects Volunteer Contact Information including:

  • Verified, Contact Information: Name, Title, Company, Email & Phone
  • Identification of Content that Prompted the Lead
  • Specific Product/Service Request
  • Particular Application or Problem to Solve
  • Preferred Method of Contact: Phone or Email
  • The timing of Need: (10, 30, 60, 90 days)

3.  How Much Should You Pay for B2B Sales Leads?

A common question asked by business professionals is what a reasonable cost for B2B sales leads is? However, this is the wrong question to be asking. Lead price means nothing the value of the lead means everything to you if you want to grow sales.

The questions you need to ask are:

  • What is the intrinsic value of the sales leads I am buying?

Beware if someone tries to tell you that lead pricing is arbitrary or difficult to know how much you should pay for leads; this is likely someone who wants to sell you leads without any real value.

The only criteria you should apply to purchase B2B sales leads is the value of the sales leads not the price. Price means nothing. Ask yourself, what is the value of cheap sales leads with poor data quality where the sales prospect did not ask you to contact them? The answer is nothing.

  • What is the value of various B2B sales lead types?

B2B Sales Lead Type
Lead Value
ROI Value
B.A.N.T. Quality Sales Lead
Qualified Sales Lead
Raised Hands Leads - Middle of the Sales Funnel
Content Requests - Top of the Sales Funnel

  • What is a reasonable price to pay for a sales lead by lead type?

There is no easy answer to this question. Why because the companies selling sales leads do not charge based on lead value. They charge based on what people are willing to pay for sales leads. This fact gave rise to many different types of lead generation companies. Like telemarketers, mailing and email list sellers, and now marketing automation companies. All lay claim to offer you sales leads; in reality, they offer various levels and quality of contact information.

We recommend finding sales lead companies that allow you to review and judge the quality of a sales lead before purchase. This is important if you want high-quality sales leads that have high conversion rates.

4.  Data Sourcing Risks

Does where you sales lead data originates from matter? Yes. However, again, no so much, where the lead comes from as to what type of lead is it and then from where it originated.

Another related issue to data sourcing and for having a high-quality sales lead would be the age of the lead. We counsel that any lead over 30 days is expired. Obviously, if a lead that requested contact in 10 days it is also expired so that it will depend on the particular requirements of the sales prospect.

Any lead obtained by a method without the knowledge of the sales prospect is not a sales lead but only contact information. Using software to capture contact information from web pages called web scraping is also not a sales lead.

5.  Sales Prospect Alienation

When you contact a potential sales prospect, the first question asked or sometime during your first conversation with a prospect is how did you find me? This question is dangerous for a salesperson when the sales prospect does not know your company or remember completing a form requesting a contact.

If you use a service to generate your leads and your sales prospect suspects the means to target them were unethical, or you cannot produce the form they completed you undermine any chance for a business relationship.

Bottom Line

1.  Define the type of B2B sales lead that you want

2.  Know the attributes of a B2B sales lead with value & worth paying for

3.  Seek out sales lead generation tools that allow you to review and judge the quality of a sales lead
     before you purchase

4.  Use your business-to-business content as the source to capture your B2B sales leads and avoid
     data sourcing risks

5.  Avoid alienating potential sales prospects by having the lead form they completed asking for
      your contact

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