Lead Development

What Exactly Is a Bad Lead and Why You Should Care

Bad leads are the scourge of any B2B business. Who’s to blame? Your salespeople are often clamoring for more and more B2B leads to meet their quotas, so your marketing team is rushing through their work to meet those numbers, right? Wrong. It’s pointless to play the blame game because the root of bad leads extends far deeper into the heart of your business. When you look at those root causes, it’s no surprise why bad leads have such a wide-spanning impact on your business.

What is a bad lead?

Determining bad quality leads is easy. If B2B leads aren’t qualified or vetted by anyone for their contact details, demographics, firmographics, and even interest in what you have to offer, they’re not likely to buy from you. They’re ”bad” leads because they waste your teams’ time and they don’t make a positive impact on your bottom line. They’re also bad because a lot of them might give you the illusion you’re doing okay in terms of your leads list—but they’re really just padding.

What are the root causes of bad leads?

Clearly, no one wants bad leads. And it’s all too easy to think they’re the result of poor effort on the part of your team. Bad leads more commonly result from the following:

A vague website

These days, your website is the source of truth regarding your business. Regardless of how you’re generating traffic, all roads lead back to your website—and in some cases, a specific, targeted landing page on your website. If you aren’t clear enough about what you’re offering, how it benefits the prospect, what it might cost, and even what they need to do to acquire your products and services, you aren’t offering much of an experience at all.

A vague website leads to poor prospects because even if they engage with you, they’ll be poorly informed about your real offerings, which wastes time for both of you. It’s safe to assume that however your lead made it to your website, they’re actively searching for information. It may be a cliché, but it’s true: You won’t get a second chance to make a first impression when it comes to educating a lead about your company’s products and services.

Your website should include as much information about your offerings as possible. That includes features, benefits, implementation plans, case studies, and even pricing. If possible, anticipate questions that might be relevant to your ideal prospect and answer them. This will also help you tick off boxes on your lead qualification checklist, because visitors who aren’t interested won’t bother to engage you.

A poorly defined target market

We cannot stress enough how important it is to truly know your target market/audience. Since it’s not possible to reach everyone, you must identify the needs and pain points of a specific segment of the total market. This will allow you to focus your marketing efforts (and budget) on a defined audience group, one that’s most likely to buy from you.

Defining or re-evaluating the people you target is no easy feat. But it will inform the way you think about your products and services. This, in turn, will influence what stories you tell, what benefits and features you highlight, what tone and language you use—all of which should be reflected on your website as mentioned above.

•	No one likes aggressive, pushy prospecting.
No one likes aggressive, pushy prospecting.

Aggressive outreach

Another root cause of bad leads can be found in your approach to prospecting for leads. There’s certainly nothing wrong with setting high goals on the number of leads you reach out to daily. The problem lies in how aggressive you come across during your outreach. If your people are pushy, not active listeners, and are overly focused on closing the deal rather than proving value, you could end up with leads who say “yes” to the next steps in your sales process just to get your reps out of their faces.

Before you give your reps a dressing down, you should note the problem could be one of two things—or even both. First, it could be the pressure on your sales reps. If their prospecting goals are unreasonable, they could be aggressively trying to ensure they meet their numbers. Intrusive prospecting could also result from your current sales training program.

B2B buyers are looking for empathy, understanding, and patience more than anything else and it’s worth thinking about whether these virtues are part of your approach to prospecting and cold calling—which still remains the most effective means to reach out to gain leads.

Bad leads are everyone’s problem and priority

There’s no point in trying to pin the blame for bad leads on anybody. The fact is, improving the quality of your leads is a team effort, because bad leads waste everybody’s time. And if you want to work with great leads that aren’t just qualified and segmented but also show intent to purchase, talk to us today.