The primary goal for data center colocation service marketers is to obtain qualified leads. If your team uses inbound marketing strategies, you are in luck because most of these leads have already demonstrated an interest in your services and, at the very least, are considering a purchase.
In this respect, you are already way ahead of data centers collecting leads through traditional marketing approaches.
The challenge is to determine whether or not these leads are sales-ready. You cannot underestimate the importance of this step. Marketing Sherpa once estimated that 61% of B2B marketers send leads directly to the sales team as a matter of course, but only 27% of those leads will be sales-ready. This results in wasted effort on the part of the sales team and a growing mistrust for any leads marketers send their way.
Determining What is ‘Sales-Ready’
In most companies offering colocation data services, marketing is responsible for acquiring new leads and cultivating them until they are sales-ready. Knowing when a lead is finally open for a sales discussion can distinguish between a successful pitch and a wasted effort. The following criteria are all reliable ways of determining the sales readiness of a lead.
- High levels of interest: The interest level of a potential lead can be measured by how often they visit the company site, which area they check out the most frequently, and how often they download resources. Other behaviors like social media engagement and opening emails signal interest levels.
- Form conversions: Another effective way to determine the sales-readiness of a lead is to place various call-to-actions throughout the company website. Each CTA should lead to a different action item, such as a contact page, pricing information, and special offers. Verifying where each lead clicked through can help the marketing team confirm where they are in the buying process.
- Downloads: A good indicator of being sales-ready is if a lead takes advantage of available downloads. When a data center offering colocation services makes several assets available for download, it maintains interest and helps the marketing team determine what a particular lead’s interest.
- Webinar attendance: When a lead signs up for a specific webinar, the topic can indicate how close they are to making a purchase decision.
You can also measure the sales readiness of a lead by determining which stage they are in in the buying cycle. All leads start by becoming aware of a business and then typically start reading blog posts, following the business on social media, and downloading the occasional eBook. Over time they become a genuine lead after they have engaged with the data center site’s content and displayed buying behaviors such as:
- Downloading buyer guides and info sheets
- Visiting sections of the site providing pricing information, access to demos, and discount offers
- Contacting the data center with questions and requests for information
At this point, they can be passed on to sales for follow-up.
Inbound marketing brings in more qualified leads than the traditional marketing playbook, but determining which ones are sales-ready requires more than a surface assessment. Once the right practices are in place, the sales teams will experience more success when directly approaching a lead.
Do you determine which buying stage your prospect is in before approaching? Let us know in the comments below.