Blog post

B2B Marketing Tips to Increase Sales Qualified Leads

By Marc Brown | June 05, 2018 | 4 Comments

MarketingCustomer Acquisition and Retention

As a marketer, how do you successfully grow your sales funnel with qualified leads? A company’s financial health depends on a constant flow of sales opportunities. But more than a well-aligned strategy between marketing and sales, the “business machine” only works when there’s a constant stream of sales qualified leads that can be converted into customers.

Just generating leads isn’t enough. It’s important that these new contacts have a strong “affinity” with your company’s solutions. Proper lead generation targeting (via well-defined individual and enterprise personas), compelling content, and good sales enablement will assist, but it’s not enough. To bring in better business opportunities, the acquisition methods must be improved.

To help generate more sales qualified leads, and ultimately more business opportunities, I’ve compiled a list of 5 best practices to increase your sales qualified leads:

  1. Define your content marketing strategy. Your strategy should have clear goals defined; prioritized personas, journey stages, and storylines; and defined budget and ROI expectations.
  2. Move beyond text-only content. It’s no secret that good content drives higher engagement, whether it’s highly informative whitepapers, entertaining and interesting videos, or interactive blog posts. But, good content doesn’t just require good writing; it also requires crafting your message in a format and channel that’s interesting to your target audience.
  3. Use Account-Based Marketing (ABM). By year-end 2018, more than 70% of B2B marketers in mid- to large-size organizations will have adopted ABM techniques such as predictive lead scoring, programmatic advertising and targeted multichannel content, to engage groups of buyers in selected accounts. ABM programs operate in fundamentally different ways from traditional demand-generation programs. There are specific requirements around account selection, see “Three Steps to Optimize Account Section for Your ABM Program” (Gartner subscription required), and distinct expectations around marketing-sales alignment. Upfront account planning (including sourcing and maintaining up-to-date account data and mapping personalized content and touch strategies) is also an essential element for success. ABM metrics also differ from those of traditional demand-generation programs. See “Plan a Successful Account-Based Marketing Program” (Gartner subscription required.).
  4. Let data guide decisions. Establish metrics to measure the marketing strategy’s success. Look to analytics available through your Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM) software, Google Analytics, and your marketing automation software. You should be tracking your efforts and those of your competitors to determine what you’re doing well and what needs revamping. You can use analytics to make better decisions about the kind of content you produce.
  5. Pivot, Adjust, and Optimize. With your strategy in place, programs being executed, and analytics available, assess what’s working and what’s not. Double your efforts on successes.

Let me know your thoughts here. How are you scaling and optimizing your programs to drive better-converting leads?

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Leave a Comment


  • Alfred says:

    Hi Marc

    Today in my opinion , The marketing funnel is one of defining thing to improving the sale process and vendors need to be seen by buyers as trusted experts in their field, and have a clear point of differentiation in the market.

  • CouponsKiss says:

    Data analysis is one of the key factor for increase good sales. Only need a good CRM software that helps to manage all your data. And with proper reporting tools you can define your marketing strategy and take steps to reach your sales.

  • John Elmer says:

    Agree completely on the importance of data analysis in assessing strategies and developing productive content offerings. We see very few marketers using BI tools to tie together data from marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, CRMs like Salesforce, and quote/invoice/revenue data from ERP systems like NetSuite to develop a compete picture of the sales funnel, forecast, backlog, DSO, etc. Such a comprehensive dashboard view of the business is well within reach for SMBs now thanks to developments like Microsoft Power BI, which is bundled with the Office 365 Suite. I would encourage all marketing managers to look at how they can capitalize on this BI software that they may already have available in their organizations.

  • Nikita says:

    Many organizations are still not leveraging the power of CRM software to make informed sales decisions. Their approach is still guided by aspirations of their leaders instead of the analytical observations from data. Data driven approach is the way to go.