State of Demand Gen: High Quality Leads, Telequalification Top Marketers’ Plans

In the year to come, B2B marketers plan to ramp up their focus on delivering high-quality leads (HQLs) while leveraging telequalification to respond to expectations for leads that are ready for sales contact.

Those are two key takeaways from Activate’s recently completed State of Demand Gen survey, which was fielded to help marketers gain insights from the strategy and tactics of their peers in B2B demand gen. Of course, we also use these insights to help shape product and service directions to ensure our offerings are fully in tune with our customers. So it should come as no surprise that the findings line up nicely with key Activate offerings, including our recently launched Active BANT service.

Here are several of the most noteworthy survey findings, augmented with context from our client engagements:

• In the coming 12 months, the second highest percentage (42%, after Account-Based Marketing) of marketers plan to increase their use of high-quality lead programs, defined as those programs that deliver late funnel leads, which are alternatively called HQLs and sales ready leads (SRLs). This is an ongoing requirement for our clients as they strive to meet the fast evolving (and increasing) pipeline expectations of their sales leaders. I think 2017 will go down as the year marketers truly came to terms with the need for high-quality leads, and 2018 will be the year in which they shift their investments from campaigns delivering high volume, lightly qualified leads to those yielding a lower volume of highly qualified leads. How will they do that?

• Marketers plan to prioritize investments in programs that use telequalification as a primary, secondary or augmentative means to gain more insight into leads and ensure those leads are prepped for a call from the sales team. A remarkable 70% of State of Demand Gen survey respondents cited leads that are “telequalified to confirm interest in speaking with sales” as an attribute they require in order to consider a lead as sales ready. If those leads take a call and share personal data in the qualification process, after all, there’s a better-than-even chance they are ready to talk to a salesperson. For Activate’s part, we get reinforcement regularly on the value of telequalification and that’s why we’ve made it a staple of programs including ActiveBANT. It creates higher confidence–and better results–for marketers and their sales teams.

• The highest percentage of survey respondents–48%–deemed sales readiness the most important quality in the leads they deliver to sales, based on what sales leaders view as most important. Sales readiness equals high quality leads at the bottom of the funnel. The second highest tally, 36%, said quality of leads is most important. Are you detecting a theme here?
Those are some of the most compelling takeaways that I’ve chosen to elaborate on, but I’ll share a few others in summary fashion to help you glean what your colleagues in B2B marketing are thinking and acting on:

• The highest percentage of marketers (41%) say sourcing new pipeline opportunities most closely describes how they define the success of a campaign, followed by generation of sales-qualified leads (22%) and sourcing new revenue (20%).

• The biggest pitfalls or challenges cited by marketers in demand generation are finding sources for quality leads (47%) and collaborating with sales to convert leads effectively (40%).

As you can tell, your peers are thinking about lead quality and sales as they approach 2018. They’re looking to align with sales and deliver more of their leads in a sales-ready state. Activate’s latest offerings, as well as deep experience in generating and qualifying leads, can be strategic weapons in delivering on this agenda.

Let me know if you’d like to get together to talk more about what your tech marketing peers are planning regarding demand generation, and how we can help you generate more sales ready leads.

The following two tabs change content below.

Martha Schwartz

Martha Schwartz, Co-founder and President. Martha has led some of the most successful sales teams in the technology media industry. For the last 5 years Martha managed sales for the IT Enterprise brands at UBM. Most recently Martha was Chief Sales Officer for UBM Tech managing the sales and analyst organizations for all media brands inclusive of all communities, all digital business, marketing services, analyst, custom events and research. Martha also managed event operations for UBM Tech’s custom event business.