Wassup with those leads, dude? Is that what your sales people tell you? Then it’s time for a serious change. Quality doesn’t just count when you’re choosing a cut of steak or the best diamond. Improving the quality of your leads is the best thing you can do for your sales team. Attacking it from several angles as part of your inbound marketing strategy will sweep the best leads into the net, thereby increasing the potential for sales.
#1: Make a Human Connection
Even though customers know in the back of their minds that your only interest in them is a sale, they want to feel like you are their friend and the two of you are simply connecting at first. There are several ways to draw them to you, including
- informative/educational content
- regular, automated email contact to nurture your leads along
People are often inundated with aggressive sales pitches and have learned to tune them out. Imagine their surprise when you don’t suggest a purchase or a pitch, you simply invite them to read a whitepaper or article that they might find interesting! Of course, you will make sure that the only articles and whitepapers potential clients access educate and inform them about your industry, service or product.
Follow up by asking if you can email them the latest newsletter from your company. It contains not only exciting news about your product or service but also some fun elements such as employee birthdays and promotions. Now you have invited them to “join the family” and they are feeling quite warm and fuzzy.
#2: Qualify Your Leads
Before moving in for the pitch, you need to be sure the warm and fuzzy person has a need, desire and budget when it comes to what you have for sale. Forms the customer can download and fill out are an easy way to gauge both interest and ability to purchase from you. Obviously, if they won’t even answer the basic questions about their company and its needs, they most likely won’t be buying at the moment!
It isn’t enough just to generate leads. Save your sales team’s time and money by qualifying the leads and sending them where the only thing left to do is an awesome presentation and closing the deal. Because you already started the education process by having potential customers read the whitepaper or articles, they should already have an idea what you offer.
#3: Build Thought Leadership in Your Industry
By providing regularly updated content on different aspects of your industry or product the potential customer continues to be informed. But don’t just publish content on your company website—get your information placed in trade and other credible publications. This defines you as an expert in your area. Won’t your client love seeing your content used as expert advice, if he (or she) is already a part of your “family” through emails and newsletters?
By doing this you’ll have cemented a long-term relationship, which makes it difficult for competitors to even get his attention, let alone a chance to make a pitch. You can become a thought leader by following these simple (but not so easy!) steps.
#4: Target Customer Personas
- Speak directly to your ideal client by determining the sort of content that will attract each type of customer, and then tailor it for that particular person. This may mean having a whole bunch of blogs, webinars and whitepapers available, but being able to direct each buyer persona to something that will attract them is worth the effort.
- Keep track of who’s reading what. When you see potential customers checking the same type of content each time, you will know how to tailor the sales pitch toward their primary interest or concern. Many customers are unable to identify what it is they need from your service or where the weaknesses are etc. But what they are drawn to out of all your available content options speaks volumes!
#5: Evaluate Results – Constantly!
Commit to looking at your lead generation history every month. Figure out which leads turned into sales and which ones didn’t. Why? Are there budget issues? Was timing a factor? Once you identify each weakness take steps to correct it and see if it improves your sales for future months.
By nurturing potential customers, targeting personas and tracking results using various types of internet marketing analytics, you are going to improve the quality of your leads. Sort of like fish in a barrel, without the fish or the barrel.
*Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net