It’s inevitable. No matter how much time and effort you’ve put into creating a good lead magnet, you’ll end up attracting low-quality leads. For every qualified download, you’ll get at least countless bad leads.
What a low-quality or bad lead is? Let’s answer this question by using the Fit & Intent Matrix.
I first heard about this model while listening to Shay Howe, VP of Marketing and Design at ActiveCampaign. He presented the framework during the SaaS Breakthrough Virtual Summit 2019, organized by Demio.
As Howe noted, fit stands for understanding how well your SaaS solution solves the needs of the customer.
The intent, on the other hand, stands for how convinced a prospect or customer is that they need to make a change in the area your company serves.
We can break this framework into four quadrants and take a look at what’s high and low for these different ends.
In this case, we have …
These are the leads that should never go to sales. Your marketing team shouldn’t spend too much time on these leads either. Some basic nurturing may work though.
After all, you’ll want to develop and grow these leads, and move them over into one of the other quadrants. But they aren’t someone we’ll want to invest too much time or effort. They aren’t considered a quailed lead by any measure.
These leads are ready to take off. This is where the sales team takes the lead. The responsibility of the marketing team is to support the sale.
These people may fall outside of your target audience or buyer personas, but they’re showing a great interest in your company. You don’t want to ignore these leads. But these are the deals that can artificially inflate or clog your sales pipelines.
This is where sales and marketing need to work together and test how far they can push the line between what will be sales-ready or what needs to be qualified through nurturing.
A lot of experimentation happens here.
These people might be curious about your product and be early adopters. Or, this can be someone who loves spending their time on learning new solutions. If you’re the right fit for them, they’ll be willing to make the change. On the other hand, they might have a problem that is not their highest priority at the moment.
This quadrant is the real money maker. If sales can convert these folks from low intent to high intent, this is really where you can grow your business. People in this quadrant are likely to use the software of one of your competitors.
Sales and marketing should be focused relentlessly on this area and pushing folks to the high fit, high intent quadrant. If you find the right way to do it, this is where you win.
As you can understand the low-quality or the bad leads fit in the first quadrant aka low fit, low intent. They’re not interested in your product, nor have a problem you can help them solve. However, we get plenty of these leads into the pipeline.
And if you don’t have a clear framework as ActiveCampaign, chances are that getting low fit, low intent leads results into …
… to name a few.
Considering this problem, is it possible to reduce the number of unqualified leads and attract the right ones?
Analyzing what other SaaS companies are doing do, my answer is … yes.
Here are some practices you can try to increase the number of high-quality leads and reduce the number of unwanted folks jumping into your pipeline.
Webinars can generate plenty of inbound leads. But what should you do to attract the right ones? Follow the example of GatherContent. Their webinar landing page, for example, contains data such as the overall description, the bio of the speaker, things you’ll learn, and the registration form. Apart from that, however, they also added one more segment called “Who is this webinar recording for?”
As you can see, this small information square lists the leads they’re hoping to attract aka marketing writers, content producers, content strategists, etc. If you’re not one of them, chances are you’ll decide this webinar is not for you.
And although this quick trick won’t keep the unqualified leads from accessing the webinar, GatherContent increased their chances of attracting the profiles they’re targeting.
The problem with bad leads is the time and effort your sales team waste on them. But what if you could eliminate this problem altogether? Convert came up with a smart trick, adding the “demo question” to their lead capture form.
As you can see, they’re asking their leads if they’re interested in seeing a demo of the product. They can choose between “Yes, please,” “No, thank you,” “Maybe later.”
And although this quick question won’t keep the bad leads at bay, at least it will help you qualify these people. Plus, you’ll know exactly what leads to redirect to your sales team that will contact them to schedule a demo call.
At the same time, you’ll continue nurturing the leads who answered “Maybe later” to your demo question.
The surest way to avoid bad leads is by setting up long forms and asking qualifying questions. Here’s an interesting example from Hootsuite. To download a guide or to watch a webinar recording, people must fill in a long lead magnet form.
The downside though is that plenty of folks may decide not to bother downloading a Hootsuite resource. But at least, in this case, the company can be sure that it will attract more high-qualified and less of the bad ones.
Good leads are committed. And commitment goes hand in hand with the investment these people made. So instead of offering your content for free, as an exchange for your leads emails and work data, you can always put a price on your content.
This way, you’ll make sure that the people who ended up in your pipeline, are truly interested and invested in learning more and taking action aka high intent.
Here’s an example of paid virtual summit content from the Product Led Institute. As you can see, their leads can easily choose from different pricing packages.
Note that the Free option is offering access to 5 talks only, while the other two plans ensure lifetime access to all content available.
Another example comes from Drift. As you can see, apart from their free eBooks, they’re also selling books.
The simple fact that someone paid money for your content (even if you’re a SaaS company) shows their commitment to change and their desire to learn more. Also, the need to pay money for content will keep the undesirable leads at bay.
Another way to attract leads is by offering product trials. Whether it’s a 7-day or a 14-day trial, there are plenty of SaaS companies that’ll allow people to use their products first, then make a decision whether to purchase it or not.
And although the product trial aims to attract people who are at the bottom of the funnels, you’ll also attract plenty of low-quality leads.
How to keep this from happening? By offering … paid trials. This is something I’ve learned from the article “19 SaaS Marketing Strategies That Bootstrapped Ahrefs To $40m ARR” by Tom Hunt.
He made an in-depth analysis of the marketing strategies Ahrefs deployed, and one of them was offering these 7-day trials for $7.
As in the case of paid content, those people who’re willing to pay for these trials are much more interested and invested in trying your product, meaning you’ll keep the low leads at bay.
Surprisingly, as Hunt notes, “In fact, at the point where Ahrefs switched from free to a $7, 7-day trial, they had twice as many prospects on trial as they had customers.”
If you want to reduce the number of unwanted leads, ask for the business email address in the lead magnet form. Simple as that. Plus, if you’re in the world of B2B SaaS, you’ll be able to identify which company might be interested in your product.
By asking people to introduce their business email address, instead of their Gmail address, for example, will make them think twice if they want to fill in the form and it will filter those leads who aren’t 100% interested in knowing your product, brand or offer.
Here’s an example from Intercom.
As you can see, Intercom took it one step further, by offering people the possibility to auto-fill the form by using their LinkedIn account. This is a great hack, especially if you want to reduce the anonymity of your leads.
Finally, if you want to reduce the number of bad leads, you can always provide the same piece of content both as a free or downloadable asset. Those people who’re not quite serious about your content or product can easily skim through the free content and forget about it.
Meanwhile, your qualified leads will be more eager to download the content asset in exchange for their data and review it whenever they want.
Here’s an interesting example from Drift.
They’re offering both the downloadable eBook and the free text people can read by scrolling down.
Attracting the right leads shouldn’t be difficult. Don’t wait to clog your pipeline with low-quality leads. Act today and apply some of these hacks:
Do you use any of these hacks? If so, which one? What works best for you? Let me know in the comments section.