Even as inbound marketing principles are adopted by more companies each year and marketers gain a better understanding of what inbound lead generation is, there are still some major misconceptions regarding inbound sales leads and how inbound lead generation works.
Myth #1: Everyone that fills out a form is a sales-ready lead.
In the most simplistic of inbound marketing models, you create a bunch of landing pages that include contact forms and distribute them for the world to see. Because everyone loves what you are doing, they happily fill out your contact forms with their information and inform you of their purchase intent. Everyone that fills out a contact form is sales-ready and eager to sign up for your service or buy your product.
Well, this isn’t exactly how things work with inbound marketing sales leads. The biggest difference between this simplistic inbound model and reality is that most leads are not sales ready and every lead that fills out a contact form needs to be reviewed and acted upon accordingly.
Myth #2: A website visitor isn’t a lead unless he or she has downloaded something.
Another big misconception about inbound sales leads is that the only way to generate an inbound lead is to use a contact form and capture someone’s information when downloading a PDF. When reviewing the ROI of inbound campaigns, this is one of the areas where companies go horribly wrong and screw up the calculations of their inbound ROI. If you are only going to track sales-ready leads that downloaded something, you are missing out on a number of leads that at first might not seem to amount to much, but with some basic prospecting, turn into gold.
Ask yourself if the following qualify as inbound sales leads:
Someone that comments on a LinkedIn post you made
A new follower of your company page on LinkedIn
Someone that shared your Facebook post with their network
Someone that retweeted one of your Tweets
Someone that favorited a Tweet
A new blog subscriber
A new blog commenter
Do these qualify as inbound sales leads? The simple answer is “maybe”.
With each of these types of leads you have to do a little work to determine who these people are, what their intent is, and if he or she is someone you might want to follow up with—or at least take a look at the person’s LinkedIn profile. Yes, this takes some time. But let’s face it—not every lead that you get is going to be someone that filled out a bottom-of-the-funnel form and requested a consultation to learn more about your product or services.
But hear me clearly, these are real leads that you need to follow up with if you are wanting to see a positive return on your inbound investment. These are leads that might be interested in your product or service and should be researched and put into your CRM if they look like marketing qualified leads. These are also leads you want to count towards your monthly lead total if they do end up being a marketing qualified lead. If the new followers on your company LinkedIn page are employees or someone looking for employment, don’t worry about following up with them or researching further. But for the ones you are not sure of, you need to do your due diligence.
Hey, if it looks like a lead, smells like a lead and walks like a lead…it’s probably a lead. So don’t neglect the leads that haven’t filled out a form or stated their intentions.