As an inbound marketer, I download pretty much every piece of premium content I find. (Premium content? That’s the material for which you need to fill out a form or you can’t download it, a form asking for your name, email, phone number, perhaps job title, and the like.) For me, it’s purely research on marketing trends, learning how to do inbound marketing better, and of course, checking out the competition.
I find it very interesting that even though I sometimes use my gmail account (not my work email) that I constantly get calls from companies where I downloaded some premium content, and they’re trying to sell me marketing automation services. It's not hard to do a search on LinkedIn to find the few Hasenbauers that are out there. It's not like my job title and my company are hard to find. Most anyone can see that I work for a company that does marketing automation and inbound marketing.
So why do these companies bother calling and following up on leads that have no chance of converting? Great question.
Three Questions to Ask Before Making the Call
Before any inbound marketer picks up the phone and calls a lead, there are three questions they should ask themselves:
- What is the history of this lead with my company?
- Is this person a marketing-qualified lead (MQL)?
- What is the follow-up process that I am following?
Do Your Research
If the lead ever downloaded any premium content from your website, then you can track all their activity on your website. You can see which pages they have visited, you can tell how much time they spent on each page, and you can see which pieces of premium content they downloaded. All this will tell you how interested they are in your product or service. If they seem interested, then take the next step and look into their online profiles to see if their job title/company/experience matches with what you consider a marketing-qualified lead (MQL).
When is a Lead an MQL?
The most important thing you can do to determine if a lead is an MQL is to look at their LinkedIn profile. You can learn a lot about someone based on job title, company, and experience. If your job is prospecting or business development, you would probably know at this point if the person fits your profile of a marketing-qualified lead.
I’m Not an Inbound Marketing MQL
This is the part of the process where companies across the board are failing to properly identify good leads. Either companies are skipping this step, or they simply don't know to gather lead intelligence before picking up the phone. I have been amazed by the number of calls I get that are selling a product or service that I clearly don't need (like marketing automation or inbound marketing software).
If your approach as an inbound marketer is to call your lead every day at different times of the day without leaving a message, that lead will surely not become a customer (ask me how I know this). There’s a great chance your lead has given you his cell phone number, and seeing six missed calls in one day from the same number will surely piss him off (ask me how I know this one, too). Instead, follow a process similar to our proven Don't Give Up sequence where you use a series of specific emails and phone calls to provide incremental information to the prospect, explaining why you are trying to connect with them and why they should be as interested as you are.
If you are in charge of following up on leads for your company, I hope you are doing your due diligence—following up only with prospects that really make sense and doing it without driving them crazy. Driving people crazy doesn’t usually lead to a business relationship.