Rapidly Elevate Lead Quality in B2B Saas Marketing

Jun 11, 2022


Narayan Prasath

The right lead is the lifeblood of any thriving business.

On the other hand, the wrong set of leads can deter growth, drain resources, and may even affect morale.

Imagine for a second.

You've poured your heart and soul into a marketing campaign. You anticipate to see a big lift in the lead volume, and when it happens, you are even more elated.

But then, as you pick up the phone and start calling, your initial excitement starts to plunge. As you realize most leads are going nowhere.

Even worse is when you spend hours on calls only to end up with a list of dead-end leads.The initial excitement quickly turns into frustration.

The wrong set of leads can break your team.

Leading to a unproductive cycle that

  • drain your resources

  • consumes valuable time of your sales team

  • depletes the marketing budget

  • affects morale between marketing and sales

I've seen it too many times - businesses get bogged down by volumes of low-quality leads.

I'm not claiming to have a magic wand, but my experience has shown that there are clear, actionable steps to dramatically enhance the quality of your leads: steps that bring focus, efficiency, and, most importantly, results, especially in B2B Saas.

Because when you land an ideal lead:

  • the lead has a clear understanding of your offering

  • the lead perfectly fits the customer profile

  • the lead arrives with the right expectations

  • the process is smooth & frictionless (regardless of converting into a customer)

and the entire process fosters a positive experience, ultimately leading to new revenue. A win win for teams.

And here's a spoiler: targeting high-quality leads doesn’t necessarily mean sacrificing quantity. In fact, when done right, it can enhance both in the B2B Saas realm.

That's why I'm certain of the undeniable importance of honing in on quality.

Transitioning from a cycle of frustration to a rhythm of success in lead generation doesn't happen overnight.

It requires a shift in focus, a refining of B2B Saas marketing strategies, and a commitment to quality.

Here's how I approach the challenge of rapidly improving lead quality:

I lean on five fundamental pillars that are critical in attracting the ideal leads while minimizing noise and reducing the frequency of 'bad leads', often lamented by sales teams.

  1. Messaging

  2. Targeting

  3. Filtering

  4. Qualifying

  5. Feedback Loop


1. Nailing Your Messaging is Key

I have come across plenty of technical help when it comes to qualifying and filtering traffic. Captcha, ip blocking, placement exclusions, some of which we will cover in this post. Yet what gets overlooked is the power of your message as the natural filter.

An unclear message attracts a mixed audience.

Vague copy and generic creative elements gather low-quality leads.

In B2B Saas, effective messaging goes beyond simply crafting attractive copy. When your message is precise and incisive to your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), you effectively filter out 90% of irrelevant traffic.

The art of perfecting your messaging begins with a deep, passionate understanding and empathy for your target audience. This process should be systematic, documented, and centered around a well-defined persona.

This is your foundation for crafting resonant messages.

Key here is to understand that 'Strategy precedes Execution'.

When you skip strategy and jump directly into execution without a highly specific persona, it may seem harmless at first. But within no time you could end up processing numerous leads outside of your addressable market. Especially in B2B Saas there's a lot of room for overlap. When the vernacular gets technical, you need to be very precise on who you're addressing.

Getting the first step right saves you a ton of efforts later in the funnel. And if you are suffering from 'bad leads' I firmly suggest that you revisit your messaging.

And because platforms like Google and Facebook and LinkedIn have native forms, meaning the leads that come in through your outbound ads on these platforms have engaged with just one creative banner. Some of the leads haven't had the chance to visit your site yet, so the creative and copy pretty much is the only reference point.

So essentially you are reaching out to hand raisers who saw your copy and clicked on your ads, chances are there is room for noise in there. Which makes it even critical to get your messaging right on these outbound banners.

That’s why I put my bet on strategic, targeted and incisive copy writing. As the first and crucial step to improving lead quality.

2. Targeting Tactics

Targeting is a tactical game. It's about smart testing and fine-tuning. Demand-Side-Platforms (DSPs) have evolved and now offer more robust set of targeting features. A plethora of solutions from data providers to full CDP platforms are transforming how teams approach targeting. For the topic of our discussion today, our goal is to set a fair level of targeting based on our persona. Demographics are the standard, however you can get more granular and add tailored combination of lifestyle and behavioral targeting(custom dimensions like targeting based on product and category interest). If you're advertising on LinkedIn, it's stupid not to leverage firmographics.

Here's my take, the more layers you add to your targeting, the sharper your focus. But, a word of caution - don't overdo it. Why? Technology isn't flawless. Algorithms and data have their limits. Over-narrowing can be counterproductive.

As one who's walked these roads before, my caution is against too tight targeting at the DSP level. You might say I'm more of an old soul in this context. I lean towards a top-heavy funnel, where a steady stream of data flows into the CRM, offering me a broader spectrum for assessment.

If we filter too much before conversion, it hampers ad propagation. It's just harder for the tech to do its job - Feel free to challenge this view.

With that said, let's dive into some specific tactics:

Negative Keywords

Here's a quick win on search ads: Establish a master list of negative keywords at the campaign level. At regular intervals, perhaps weekly, review Search Term reports and adjust your list accordingly.

Content Filtering

How about this one: Opt out of ads on Mobile Apps to start with. Even though you have plans for showing ads, being prescriptive with ad placements is crucial: seasoned programmatic experts know that many mobile app impressions simply inflate stats without appealing to a relevant audience.


If you have your campaigns structured by audience types, its easier to identify and manage.

Display Networks

Notice a surge in irrelevant leads? First step: Opt out of Display networks on Google Ads. See if that fixed it.

Display Traffic is A Tricky Beast

I've been in marketing for eight years. Display traffic still puzzles me. It's the wildcard in your funnel. It can bring the most unexpected visitors. You need precise targeting to attract quality traffic. And yes, that often means higher CPMs.

Even then, expect some random site visitors.

That's why we're diving into filtering tactics we can employ at the site level.

3. Mastering The Fine Art of Filtering

While the existing content filters enforced by DSPs(Google & Facebook) provide a decent line of defense against poor quality traffic. Optimizing quality necessitates taking it a step further.


Without captcha, your CRM could become a playground for all sorts of unsolicited guests - spammers, bots, hackers, and other Internet mischief-makers. The good news? Most form tools come equipped with a captcha feature. Make sure it's enabled.

Placement reports

Make it a habit to regularly assess your ad placements and remove those that aren't serving your purpose. Also, be vary about strange traffic patterns and their sources to protect your lead collection from undesired or 'out-of-network' traffic. Madison Feldhake from Brainlabs shares a detailed step-by-step guide into how you can run placement reports. When manually removing these sources becomes a daunting task, automation is your best ally, offering a smooth, efficient alternative.

Fraud Detection

When dealing with traffic that's more complex, enhancing your defenses with dedicated IP filtering tools can prove highly beneficial. Despite Google's refund policy for charges incurred through fraudulent interactions, organizations picturing the larger canvas - especially those managing seven-figure budgets - may require an extra layer of protection. Tools such as Cloudflare and Clixtell bring this specific focus to the table, establishing a robust filter against dubious traffic and thus preserving the integrity of your leads.

4. Qualifying

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. - Peter Drucker

Goes with out saying - Clear cut definition of Lead, MQL, and SQL is paramount in B2B Saas Marketing. Lead handoffs are unique to each team. But ideally you want the handoff from marketing to sales to take place at the MQL stage and not the lead stage. So there's opportunity for the lead to have been warmed up and nurtured if not already before becoming a MQL. In this context, implementing a robust lead scoring system is not just advantageous, it's indispensable.

Lead Scoring

To ensure quality control, you need a lead scoring system. Think of it as more than a safety net. It's your tool for catching any suboptimal leads that might slip through other methods and for understanding the quality of your leads in depth, giving your sales team a clearer picture.

There are two key aspects you should focus on in lead scoring: Intent and Fitness.

  • Intent: You measure this through behavioral data. How are your leads interacting with your website? Are they filling out forms or engaging with your emails? Tools like HubSpot are great for this. They let you create custom lead scoring models that integrate with your ads and website, giving you a full picture of behaviors like page visits, form submissions, and email interactions.

  • Fitness: This is about how well a lead matches your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) based on firmographic criteria. In a B2B setting, you might score leads based on their email domains, like giving more points to leads with professional emails rather than personal ones. Set up a scoring system in HubSpot or your CRM to check for email domains, industry, company size, and more that align with your ICP.

Furthermore, you can use email nurturing or use data enrichment tools to fill in the gaps that you're missing to assess fitness. Nano surveys are also a great way to collect insights around technographic details, which are really important for B2B Saas caompatibility.

A solid lead scoring model is multidimensional and fully automated. Did you know that companies automating their lead management see a revenue bump of 10% or more in just 6-9 months?

5. Mastering the Feedback Loop

Most teams get the above tactics correct, the tips we discussed up until this point. But where teams fail is the following - Closed Feedback Loop between marketing and sales.

Think about it — you've painstakingly removed detrimental sources at the front end of your funnel, implemented tactics, and yet bad quality traffic continues to filtrate your funnel. You might find yourself wondering why.

Here's a bit of wisdom. Flip the hourglass to reverse track quality sources from the bottom of the funnel. We will do that by using feedback loops.

Closed-feedback-loop is an actionable, systematic approach to relay information into your marketing efforts. Feedback loops can be used to improve lead quality by providing insights into what is working and what isn't in a company's lead generation strategy. Companies that leverage feedback loops see a continuous increase in lead quality and reduction in lead acquisition costs.

Feedback loops are implemented within the CRM. I personally think a minimalistic approach is a great way to get started. And when we look at the kind of feedback that marketing and sales need to sync, it needs to be anecdotal.

Each interaction that sales make is a signal as to whether marketing works or not.  An signalling metric from sales view point is what's required.

Also, the feedback loop between marketing and sales needs to be almost instant.

So, a singular metric like a numeric rating or score that's assigned by sales works. You can call it Lead Rating, and can be as simple as a number between 1 and 5 that tells the quality of the lead in a simple manner. When you arrive at the feedback meetings, these numbers are valid enough to steer a productive conversation. This is easy and quick to execute.

You can easily implement this on Hubspot and Salesforce. And run reports like the channels, or campaigns that brought in the highest qualified leads to start with during your lead quality check-in meetings.

Side note: when it comes to source tracking - 'self-reported' 'sales-reported'  is an important aspect that is another overlooked tactic. It is the most accurate attribution model for leads. You may have the most sophisticated tracking system and have all kinds of multi-touch attribution of whatever, nothing beats the authenticity when you base information directly from the mouths of your leads.

You can add automation to instantly relay these signals back and forth between teams. You can create a 'zap' or similar automation to send your team a slack message when the lead get's rated 5 or 1. So once your team gets into the hang of using lead rating as a mechanism to instantly pass on feedback. Fine tuning campaigns and optimization can happen in realtime. Shortening cycles, and rapidly improving quality. Instead of waiting until your next meeting to make improvements.

Feedback loop is the ultimate tactic to rapidly increase the quality of leads your sales spend time with. Approximately 80% of businesses not using feedback loops report struggles with lead quality. Implementing this is a no brainer and save you and your team a ton of effort and lead to better use of time and more conversions.

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