So you’ve got yourself a killer contact list packed with warm leads. Potential deals are just there for the taking. You may have gone to great lengths to get these leads and now all your sales team has to do is land their business – it’s the easy part, right?
Well the answer is…not necessarily. But with some intelligent profiling, good research and an ability to spot and react to cues that your prospects are giving off, you could end up not only converting more leads but turning those ‘no thanks’ to ‘maybes’, and even make brand ambassadors out of those who aren’t buying.
Top of your priorities is always going to be making sure your warm leads don’t go cold and for that you need to find the perfect balance. Leave them too long, or let lengthy gaps creep in between your interactions with them, and they’re likely to forget you (or be grabbed by a competitor). Equally, get pushy and bombard them with calls and emails, especially if you’re sending them stuff that they’re not interested in, and they’ll quickly slam the door on you. (Using workflows can really help here, check out our blog for some more handy hints.)
Your aim should always be to spot those buyer ready signals and then get the sales team to hit the phone. Or to recognise if the signals are weakening, then back off a bit and keep up contact in a way that will most suit that individual.
The key to success lies in understanding each of the leads really well. Pool all of the information you hold on them and add to it whenever you can. This will help you know what’s most likely to make them tick and will aid you at every stage of the sales process and in deciding the most appropriate plan of attack.
Break it down
Start by breaking down your leads into their different camps – the qualified and the not qualified. Do you have all the info you need to be able to tell if they’re a good lead or not? For example, are they the right size? In the right industry? Do they have the right level of turnover? What about their geographic location, if that’s a factor?
Progressive profiling that develops as your relationship with the lead develops, will enhance this even further. One way to keep growing your insight bank is to ensure that every time you communicate with a lead you are asking them more questions, or delving deeper getting them to fill out new forms.
Know where they are in the process
Do you know where each lead is sitting in the buying process? You’re likely to have leads at a range of different stages. Wherever they currently are, the use of intelligent content marketing can help you to nudge them down the path towards the end goal and conversion. You’re aiming to provide them with blogs, downloads, emails and other content that matches their interest. Then as the leads get warmer and warmer, to keep hitting them with the right messages at the right time.
For those at the beginning of the process it’s all about awareness and top level information. In the middle it’s about research, so providing content aimed at people who are interested in finding a solution to a problem or need. Towards the end of the process, just before a call from sales may be on the cards, the content should get even more targeted and specific.
Hit the right buttons
For the qualified leads you’re looking out for signs that they are ready to buy. The nurturing needed now should be designed around that. If the content you need doesn’t exist, then it’s time to get creating it. In most cases it may simply be a case of raiding your marketing hard drives, the sales people and even R&D teams or customer services to find any good information buried there that could be useful to potential clients.
Grow brand ambassadors
If a lead doesn’t tick the qualified box then they could still be encouraged to become a fan or ambassador for your brand. If they’re impressed by you then they will still suggest your company to others, even if they haven’t personally bought from you. These contacts shouldn’t be forgotten and should be marketed to separately, as they could help spread the word about you. Never underestimate the power that word of mouth can have.
In an ideal world you’ll get to a place with your content marketing where you have covered every type of buying persona, for every stage of the buying journey. The more intelligent and targeted you can get here, the more effective you’ll be at nurturing your leads.