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According to a study by RingLead, 85% of B2B marketers say that their main objective is to generate leads. But achieving any goal requires a bit of effort. And being able to successfully generate high-quality leads for your business is no different. It also requires you carry out a vital step: lead analytics.

Good lead analysis improves the processes of lead acquisition, qualification, and engagement. But how do you analyse the leads you pass on to your sales teams? Do you know the 7 key ways to analyse leads? In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to carry out a successful lead analysis.

guide to marketing automation

Why you should use lead analytics

If you use an inbound marketing strategy to generate leads, that’s great. But the lead generation process is not limited to acquiring new leads and converting them into clients. If there’s one step that you shouldn’t overlook, it’s lead analysis.

That’s because analysing leads is key to improving both your inbound marketing strategy and marketing performance. It will enable you to:

  • Identify any friction points in converting leads into clients
  • Identify the best channels to use to acquire leads
  • Get feedback from salespeople about the quality of leads
  • Measure the return on investment (ROI) of your current lead generation campaigns
  • Help you optimize future campaigns and your lead generation strategy as a whole

Analysing the leads you’ve generated to identify their strengths and weaknesses is an important step. And you’ll need to put on your analyst’s hat if you want to continuously improve how you generate leads.

When to analyse leads

Lead analysis is an important exercise, so you should aim to do it on a regular basis. At Plezi, we recommend analysing your leads every quarter. If you haven’t scheduled when you will next carry out a lead analysis, now’s the time to do so.

Of course, some warning signs might prompt you to analyse leads more regularly. For example, if you’ve seen a significant drop in the conversion rate between new leads and marketing qualified leads (MQLs). If this is the case, you also know what you have to do.

What you need before you analyse leads

Before you carry out a lead analysis, there are a few things you need to remember. You don’t want to be looking at all visitors who enter your marketing funnel. To ensure your analysis will provide you with good quality data, we suggest that you only analyse your Marketing Qualified Leads.

An MQL isn’t simply a lead that you don’t know anything about. They have two particular characteristics: Here’s how to recognize them:

how to recognize an mql

The analysis of these MQLs is carried out over 3 stages:

Acquisition Qualification Engagement
Where do these leads come from? How were they generated? What do you know about these leads? What actions have been taken to turn leads into MQLs?

Now, you’re almost ready to get started. But before you do, make sure you have the following in place:

A specific time period for analysis: to analyse your leads successfully, you need to do so over a set period of time. This needs to be long enough to ensure that you have a sufficient number of leads to analyse. Analysing leads over a week, for example, is too short to be of value. Instead, choose a period of a quarter or six months, depending on the number of leads you have.

Industry-leading tools: To effectively analyse your qualified leads, you need to have the right tools to do so. Lead analysis will be much easier to do if you have a CRM and a marketing automation tool. Having these tools will enable you to obtain data from both sales and marketing. You can then use this to carry out a comprehensive and consistent analysis of leads.

A defined methodology: in addition to having the right tools and a defined analysis period, you need to think about how you will use to analyse leads. We recommend making use of pre-built dashboards and analysing leads manually if you have more specific questions. In our experience, this is a winning combination.

7 key ways to analyse the quality of leads

1. Analyse why leads are rejected

Imagine a world where all B2B leads become clients.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that in the real world. Some leads abandon their buyer’s journey at different stages of the marketing funnel. While others are rejected by the sales team. And that’s actually a good thing. The rejection of poor-quality leads leaves more room (and time) for those leads that are better qualified.

This rejection process involves closing leads in a company’s CRM. The purpose of this is to reject poor-quality leads and to specify the reason for doing so. At Plezi, we use the following reasons:

  • Already a client: the lead is already one of our clients
  • Already has a solution: the lead is a client of a competitor and doesn’t want to change their solution at the current time
  • Not in target audience: the lead is not part of Plezi’s target audience. Examples might include B2C companies and students
  • Incorrect information: the lead doesn’t really exist, or their email address isn’t valid
  • Can’t be contacted: the lead hasn’t responded to our messages, and after a certain period of time we decide they can’t be contacted
  • Has no plans: the lead has no intention of purchasing a marketing automation tool in the following months

Sales teams will always specify the main reason that they have closed a lead in the CRM. Analysing these reasons will let you improve your inbound marketing strategy and the company’s performance. For example:

  • If you have a lot of leads who aren’t part of your target audience: you need to review your messaging and try using different channels to generate leads.
  • If a lot of your leads already have a solution: you may be targeting an audience that no longer needs your product or service. Perhaps it’s time to think about who your target audience is?
  • If a lot of your leads have no immediate plans to make a purchase: you might be targeting an audience that isn’t (yet) ready to buy. Here, you also need to think more about who your target audience is.

2. Analyse the sources of leads

When carrying out a lead analysis, you need to ask yourself where your poor-quality leads come from.

To do this, compare the number of leads accepted by the sales team with the number closed in the CRM for each of your marketing channels. You can calculate this for the following channels:

Advertising SEO Direct traffic Email marketing Social media Offline
(e.g., events, networking)
Referral traffic
(e.g., mentions in the press, online directories)

The aim of this is to identify channels with too high a percentage of rejected leads. You then need to investigate further to understand why and how this is happening.

We also recommend carrying out a more detailed analysis of each lead generation source, this time by medium. For example, you might see that a lot of poor-quality leads come from advertising. But by analysing the advertising source by medium, two things stand out:

  • Google Ads provide you with a small number of high-quality leads.
  • Facebook Ads provide you with a large number of poor-quality leads.

The answer here is to focus more on Google Ads, while improving your Facebook Ads strategy, where there is room for improvement.

Depending on the results of your analysis, you might take other actions:

  • If the leads generated on a channel are of poor quality: you need to identify the reasons for this (i.e., poorly conveyed message, campaigns that aren’t clear). As a last resort, you can also stop using this channel altogether.
  • If a channel generates high-quality leads: you should start investing more in it now!

3. Analyse the email addresses of leads

You know how to run a B2B business. And your clients are all professionals. But you continue to attract leads who provide you with a personal email address. What have you done to attract “london_sweety@gmail.com” or “keyboard_warrior@yahoo.co.uk”?

Rest assured; you probably haven’t done anything wrong. A lot of internet users still download content using their personal email address. But if too many of your leads have given you their personal email address, you might want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many of your MQLs have a personal email address?
  • Does this affect their conversion rate?
  • How does the conversion rate of leads with work email addresses compare to those with personal email addresses?

Depending on your answers, you can take a number of actions:

  • Identify the channels where these leads were generated and limit further investment in them.
  • Require leads to provide you with a work email address when completing online forms. For example, why not have an automated message appear that says, “work email address required”?
  • Send an automated email to those leads with personal email addresses. Ask them, “Can you provide us with a work email address?”
  • Ask leads to provide you with their company’s website address when completing an online form. This way, you can always find a lead’s work email address online if needed.
  • Prevent MQLs from using their personal email address to send messages to your sales team.

4. Analyse information for qualifying leads

How do you know if your MQL really is an MQL if they haven’t provided you with all the information you want? Obviously, every company will have their own definition of what an MQL is. At Plezi, for example, we consider an MQL to be a lead with a current email address, a company name and contact details, and a certain score after taking actions (by engaging with our content) in our lead scoring strategy.

It’s vital that you have as much information as possible about a lead before they are sent to the sales team. This can include, for example, their phone number, their role, and other qualifying information like project budget or deadline. You need to check that you have this information when analysing leads. This will let you see how this information corresponds to the quality of leads:

  • Are leads that have a lower budget for their project of lower quality?
  • Does the timeframe of the project affect the likelihood of a lead being rejected?
  • What type of lead roles are rejected the most?

Depending on your answers, here are some actions you could take as a result:

  • Ask leads for more information: for example, by using progressive profiling, by requiring certain form fields to be completed, by adapting forms to different stages of the buying cycle.
  • Identify the most attractive lead profiles: for example, by role, project budget, company size.
  • Analyse the path of these MQLs: for example, traffic sources, content downloaded. The goal is to improve your overall performance by attracting more leads like these.

5. Analyse the impact of content and forms

As you know, the key to inbound marketing is the right content, at the right time, on the right channel. And above all, for the right leads!

But to be sure that your content is targeting the right people, you need to analyse the impact of that content. For example, what pieces of content do poor-quality leads download first?

You can learn a lot by looking at the buyer’s journey of these leads. Then, identify the type of content involved (e.g., template, white paper, guide) and the subject of this content. If too many leads that download this content are later rejected, then the content might not be targeting the right people. Here are some actions you can take:

Check if your content promise is correct. For example, do you state that your content is designed for a B2B audience? If you don’t, you might attract B2C visitors who aren’t at all part of your target audience.

Check if your content is still relevant. For example, some content that you’ve previously published might no longer be aligned with your current objectives, product, or service. To ensure content continues to remain relevant, consider taking some content offline, updating it, or lowering its score in your lead scoring system.

6. Analyse the level of engagement of leads

Generating leads is good. But turning these leads into qualified MQLs is even better. To be able to do this, you need to put in place a programme to nurture leads. This helps companies engage leads and move them forward in the buyer’s journey.

And here again, you need to analyse the impact of your actions to qualify leads. Tracking the engagement of MQLs includes analysing:

  • Their score, using a lead scoring system;
  • The number of interactions with your company, e.g., number of online forms submitted, emails opened;
  • The lifespan of leads: how long after a lead is generated are they qualified as an MQL?

Check what effect each of these has on the number of leads accepted or rejected. If most leads below a certain score or number of interactions are rejected, you need to optimize your lead nurturing strategy. As many leads as possible need to reach this score or number of interactions before being sent to salespeople.

7. Analyse contact requests, requests for demo or a quote

You’ve hit the jackpot. A lead has asked you to contact them, requested a demo, or asked you for a quote on your website. This lead is well-advanced in the buyer’s journey and is ready to make a purchase. To get a better idea of who these leads are, they need to be analysed. Where do they come from? What motivates them? What are their interests? Are they all high-quality MQLs?

To successfully analyse these leads, it’s important to work closely with sales teams. Having sales and marketing teams that are well-aligned and having regular discussions between teams will help improve your marketing strategy. It will also give you a better idea why these leads became clients, or why they failed to do so.

Because you can’t always get all the information you need simply by looking at figures. You can also learn a lot from having a good conversation with the sales team and listening to their feedback.

How to improve the quality of your leads: Plezi’s action plan

You now know how to effectively analyse your leads. This lead analysis will enable you to improve your different marketing processes:

  • Acquisition: channels, messages, targeting
  • Qualification: forms, data enrichment
  • Engagement: lead nurturing, lead scoring, sales cycle

You should then carefully monitor the impact of your actions on a regular basis.

An example at Plezi

  • Our problem: a lot of our leads weren’t part of our target audience.
  • Goal: reduce the total number of leads rejected by 10%.

Our analysis across the three stages:

Acquisition: the channels identified as a problem were advertising and SEO. The problem here lay with some of the content at the awareness stage. When we promoted this content, the messages weren’t targeted to the right audience.

Qualification: this meant that some information about leads was missing. For example, a lead’s role, or a work email address. But having this information was vital to be able to qualify leads.

Engagement: Nothing special to note here.

As a result of our analysis, we implemented the following actions at the acquisition and qualification stages:

  • Acquisition: we redesigned our campaigns and landing pages to ensure their messages targeted the right audience.
  • Qualification: we redesigned our form templates to ensure they captured the right information at the right time. We also prevented leads from entering personal emails on request for demo forms and at the purchase stage of the funnel.

Result: the total number of rejected leads fell by 12%. Goal achieved (and exceeded!)

Do you want your lead generation strategy to continue to be successful over the long term? There are three key ingredients to this:

  • Lead acquisition
  • Regular analysis of these leads
  • Actions to continuously improve your processes

Having a regular lead analytics process in place is vital to improving the quality of your leads and to improving marketing performance.

guide to marketing automation

Paul-Louis Valat