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Qualifying Leads in Your CRM From Inbound Marketing Efforts
Jul 28, 2023

Mastering Inbound Lead Generation: Qualify & Convert Ideal Leads

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by Nicole Stiverson
Inbound lead generation has revolutionized the way businesses attract and engage potential customers. 
Yes, social media and are beneficial for increasing brand awareness. However, the actual value lies in obtaining leads that are more likely to convert into customers.
In this guide, we'll learn about inbound lead generation, finding qualified leads, and using CRM to increase conversions.

What is inbound lead generation?

An illustration of different inbound lead generation aspects. | Watermark
Inbound lead generation is a customer-focused approach businesses use to attract potential customers naturally and meaningfully.
Businesses create helpful content like blog posts, videos, and guides to engage and educate potential buyers instead of aggressively approaching them.
The process involves nurturing these warm leads and guiding them through their decision-making journey without being pushy or sales-oriented.
Businesses can provide personalized experiences that make prospects feel valued and understood by understanding their interests, preferences, and pain points.
The main goal of inbound lead generation is to build trust and establish relationships.

A Crash Course in Inbound Marketing Glossary

You should know some important terms and acronyms if you're new to marketing.
Here's a quick recap of the keywords from this blog to help you understand better.
A note book with the word 'Definitions' to indicate the blog section for the definitions of key terms in inbound lead generation. | Watermark
Warm Leads: Potential customers who have shown interest in a business by engaging with their content or website.
Cold Leads: Prospects without interest or engagement with a business.
Pain Points: Specific problems or needs that potential customers seek to solve.
Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs): A description of the characteristics of the perfect customer for a business.
Buyer Personas: Fictional representations of different types of customers based on demographics, interests, and behavior.
Qualified Leads: Potential customers assessed to be a good fit for a business's products or services.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management): A software system to manage customer interactions and data.
Lead Scoring: Ranking and prioritizing leads based on their interactions and engagement.
Lead Segmentation: Categorizing leads into groups based on shared characteristics or behaviors.
Conversion: The moment when a potential customer takes a desired action, such as making a purchase.
Buyer's Journey: The process potential customers go through, from problem awareness to the final decision to purchase.
Sales Funnel: A visual representation of the buyer's journey stages.
Sales Pipeline: The series of steps to convert leads into customers.
Building and maintaining relationships with potential customers through valuable content.
Now that you understand these key terms in inbound lead generation let's explore how they work together to help you achieve your sales goals.

Crafting Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and Buyer Personas

Target Audience Conversions
Before starting any marketing campaign, it's crucial to know who your is.
This means understanding the people you want to reach and connect with through your marketing efforts.
Businesses create Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) and Buyer Personas to do this effectively.
Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) are like detailed descriptions of your perfect customers. They include essential information such as their interests, preferences, and needs. It's like clearly showing who you want to attract to your business.
Buyer Personas, however, are like characters representing different customer types. We create these personas based on research and data to understand the various groups of people we want to reach.
So why are these profiles and personas so important? 
They help us better understand our audience, allowing us to tailor our marketing efforts to their specific needs and preferences.
When we know exactly who we want to talk to, we can speak directly to them and create content that resonates with them.
But here's the thing — to create accurate and effective ICPs and Buyer Personas, we need to gather insights from different parts of our business.
That means talking to the sales, customer service, and marketing teams.
Each team has valuable information about the customers they interact with daily. 
You can create profiles and personas that truly represent our target audience by bringing all these insights together.
The Takeaway: When you clearly understand your audience, you can create marketing campaigns that speak to them and attract the right customers to your business.

Leveraging Lead Scoring and Segmentation

qualifying inbound leads
Lead scoring and segmentation are potent strategies that complement each other to enhance lead qualification and nurturing, ultimately leading to better conversions.
Here's a closer look at how these two techniques work together to achieve this goal:

1. Lead Scoring:

Lead scoring involves assigning a numerical value or score to each lead based on their actions, interactions, and engagement with a business's content and website.
Lead scoring aims to prioritize leads based on their level of interest and readiness to make a purchase.
Here's how lead scoring contributes to better conversions:
Identifying High-Value Leads: Lead scoring helps businesses identify leads that exhibit behaviors indicating a higher level of interest in their products or services. Leads with higher scores are more likely to be interested in making a purchase.
Streamlining Sales Efforts: By focusing on leads with higher scores, sales teams can allocate their time and resources more efficiently. They can concentrate on engaging with leads more likely to convert, resulting in a more targeted and effective sales approach.
Improved Lead Nurturing: Leads with lower scores may still be interested in the business but must be ready to decide. can be used to gradually engage and educate these leads until they are prepared to convert.

2. Lead Segmentation:

Lead segmentation involves categorizing leads into different groups based on shared characteristics, interests, or behaviors.
Each segment receives targeted and personalized marketing messages. Here's how lead segmentation contributes to better conversions:
  • Personalized Communication: Segmented leads receive tailored content and marketing messages that address their needs and interests. This customized approach increases engagement and establishes a stronger connection with the leads.
  • Addressing Pain Points: By understanding each segment's unique challenges and pain points, businesses can offer solutions that resonate with their target audience. This helps in building trust and credibility with potential customers.
  • Enhancing Relevance: Segmented leads are more likely to find the content and offer relevant to their current stage in the buyer's journey. This relevance increases the likelihood of leads taking the desired actions, such as filling out a contact form or purchasing.

3. Combining Lead Scoring and Segmentation:

When and are used, businesses can create a highly effective lead qualification and nurturing process.
By combining these strategies, businesses can:
  • Maximize Efficiency: Prioritize efforts on high-value leads, using the best sales and marketing resources.
  • Improve Conversion Rates: Engage leads with relevant content and offers, increasing the likelihood of converting them into customers.
  • Enhance Customer Experience: Deliver a personalized experience that makes potential customers feel valued and understood, fostering trust and loyalty.
The Take Away:
By combining lead scoring and segmentation, businesses can significantly enhance lead qualification and nurturing, effectively targeting suitable leads with personalized content, leading to better conversions and long-term customer relationships.

The Role of CRM in Qualifying Inbound Leads

Colorful wheel of all the benefits that a CRM has to offer. | Watermark
A CRM system stores all customer interactions and data in one place, offering a complete view of each lead's journey.
A robust CRM system is a game-changer for managing and qualifying inbound leads. Popular options include HubSpot, SharpSpring, and Salesforce.
LEARN MORE: Of course this little blog section only scratches the surface on all the benefits of a CRM is. Lucky for you, we've got an entire online video series dedicated to this unsung hero of inbound marketing. In the meantime, here's a sneak peek:
Here's how a CRM system helps streamline lead scoring and segmentation, enabling sales teams to focus on the most promising leads:
1. Centralized Lead Data:
A CRM system organizes and makes all lead information, including contact details, engagement history, and interactions, easily accessible in one place.
2. Lead Scoring Automation:
A CRM system can automate lead scoring based on predefined criteria and engagement levels, saving your sales team time.
3. Segmentation for Personalization:
CRM systems enable lead segmentation, grouping leads based on shared characteristics or behaviors.
4. Prioritization of Promising Leads:
The CRM system uses lead scoring and segmentation to identify high-scoring and well-aligned leads, indicating their potential as qualified leads.
Sales teams can then prioritize their efforts and focus on engaging these promising leads, increasing the chances of successful conversions.
5. Real-Time Tracking and Reporting:
A CRM system provides real-time tracking and reporting on lead activities, conversions, and overall performance.
6. Seamless Collaboration:
CRM systems make working together easy for sales, marketing, and customer service teams. When everyone is on the same page, they can coordinate efforts to nurture and convert leads effectively.
The Take Away: CRM systems like HubSpot and Sharpspring offer automated lead scoring and segmentation features to save time and effort. Also, by scoring leads, businesses can prioritize their efforts on high-value prospects, increasing conversion rates.

How to Connect with Your Qualified Leads at the Right Time

Orange and white background with a puzzle piece fitting to complete the orange section. To symbolize when to connect with your qualified leads in inbound lead generation. | Watermark
So we’ve discussed identifying, tracking, and segmenting your leads, but when do you contact them?
Every salesperson has known the excitement of getting a hot lead that’s a potential sales opportunity, but they’ve also probably made the mistake of contacting them too soon (or not soon enough) at some point in their career.
It happens to the best of us.
But using all of the previous topics we’ve mentioned above will hopefully help you identify the perfect moment to contact your prospect.
Inbound marketing is about reaching your target audience with an omnichannel approach using relevant content that delights and inspires them to reach out to you when and where they choose.
We call this the, and your CRM and lead qualification process create momentum for all the other pieces to work together within your inbound strategy.
When it comes to inbound marketing, connecting with your qualified leads at the right time is crucial for successful conversions.
Let's explore practical strategies for engaging with leads, and knowing when to make that connection is the perfect moment:

Effective Questioning for Lead Qualification:

Understanding your leads is the key to offering them the best solutions.
When reviewing incoming leads, ask relevant questions to determine if they match your Ideal Customer Profile.
Additionally, engage the leads with questions that help gather essential information for personalized communication and tailored solutions.
By knowing your leads inside and out, you can approach them with confidence and relevance.

When to Contact Your Leads:

Timing plays a vital role in converting leads into customers. It's essential to reach out to leads when they are ready to decide.
An omnichannel approach allows leads to connect with your business conveniently, creating a positive customer experience.
By aligning your contact with a lead's readiness, you increase the chances of turning them into satisfied customers.

The Inbound Marketing Flywheel:

the inbound marketing flywheel composed of the words 'discover,' 'strategize,' 'design,' 'deploy', 'measure.' | Watermark
Fueled by lead qualification and a robust CRM system, the inbound marketing flywheel sets the stage for timely and relevant interactions with leads.
As leads progress through the sales funnel, your CRM system helps track their engagement and preferences.
By closely monitoring this data, you can identify the perfect moment to engage with a lead, enhancing the overall customer journey and driving conversions.
The Takeaway:
Connecting with qualified leads at the right time is vital for successful inbound marketing. By asking practical questions during the lead qualification stage, you can gather essential insights for personalized communication. 


Illustration of three people holding a target, lightbulb, rocket, and flag to indicate that inbound lead generation tactics are a powerful marketing strategy. | Watermark
Inbound lead generation is a powerful strategy for attracting and nurturing qualified leads. 
By leveraging CRM technology, businesses can streamline lead qualification, scoring, and segmentation, maximizing the chances of converting prospects into loyal customers. 

Embrace the potential of inbound leads and implement these strategies to supercharge your sales and marketing efforts.