How do you qualify leads?
A friend asked me this question the other day.
In our business, we say that we help you qualify the leads so that you only spend time on the relevant ones. Sounds grand, but it is important for many reasons:
It bridges the gap between marketing and sales
It makes the calls your sales department more successful (and they need to make less calls)
It gains more insight into what kind of client you should actually target and makes your marketing much more efficient
So how do we qualify the leads?
Let me give some food for thought...
First thing first, get the right leads in. Don't force someone that is not interested in your product or services to listen to or read your marketing material. Often easier said than done, but getting feedback from sales on what characterizes good leads is very valuable. In addition to defining your ideal client and revisiting this definition. Also remember to focus on the problems you are actually solving. Your buyer is a person with motivations, feelings and goals.
Remember that your buyer is never "a company" or "a manager" but a real person. A small business manager and an enterprise business manager will have many differences.
Your buyer is a person with motivations, feelings and goals.
This brings us over to my second point, your message. Make sure that your messaging talks to your prospects real problems/challenges, not only on what you want to tell them. Also makes sure that you use wording that is relatable. Here are two examples where the sentence is saying the same thing, but one is more relatable than the other:
Are you depressed?
Are you feeling tense and a bit down sometimes?
Save time and money with lead prequalification
Make your sales more efficient by only having them spending time on leads that are likely to buy
Did you see what I did there to the sentences?
Thirdly, most people do not realize how many contact points you need to have to make an impression on a lead! Stats show that on average about 7-12 contact points are needed to convert a contact, but stats also show that most sales people give up after 1-2 contact points. Oops!
The psychology here can be quite simple, it is easy to think that you are nagging if the person is just not interested or not replying. But keep in mind that you can get people at a bad time, they have bigger priorities right there and then or they just didn't notice your contact attempt. The trick here is to automate as many of these contact points as possible so that you don't necessarily think about them too much and the lead gets "warmed up" without you even knowing. This "warming up" can be done through various ways, including re-marketing (usually a better investment than the initial attention marketing), email marketing (cheap and should not be underestimated, but focus on messaging and personalization) and more.
Stats show that you on average need about 7-12 contact points to convert a contact, but stats also show that most sales people give up after 1-2 contacts.
My fourth point, a lead is only qualified when they have indicated some kind of legitimate interest in your product/services and they need to show more interest than just give your social media post a like, visit your website or click on your ad.
Most marketing departments send leads too early over to sales and this is where the gap between marketing and sales happens and no one really wins in that situation. One must keep in mind that your lead and potential client is going through a buying journey and that 97% of people that interact with your brand will not buy on that first interaction. This does however NOT mean that they are not interested and with the help of nurturing you can increase the chances that more of them will convert.
Remember the stats further up about the number of contact points and how many give up too early? Imagine how much marketing money is wasted on acquiring leads that are never nurtured!
97% of people that interact with your brand will not buy on that first interaction. That does NOT mean that they are not interested.
Simple version of the buyers journey:
Awareness (they realize they need something, this could be by you making them aware or they realized themselves)
Consideration (they looking for a solution)
Decision (the buyer makes a purchase decision)
Supplying a lead with your expert guidance rather than making an attempt to force their hand to buy will build trust. Trust has a tremendous influence on today’s purchaser and nurturing a lead according to a position on the buyer’s journey gives you the highest potential to convert them.
The next step in the process is to make it easy to identify where in the buying process they are, and segment the contacts. This is also where you define when you consider someone a hot lead and ready to be contacted by sales. Makes sure that the actions you encourage your buyer to take tell you something about how ready they are to buy, and then and them over to sales.
Voilá, you just bridged the gap between marketing and sales!
The perfect buyer's journey is seldom lined out for the businesses we meet, and if they insist that they are I guarantee you that there is room for improvement.The easiest way to get started is to set up a simple email nurturing campaign and see what kind of content triggers your buyer to take initiative. From there you can make better decisions on what to improve and how to adjust your audience or marketing messaging to further improve the process and get better qualified leads to spend actual time on.
Don't get scared by lead nurturing, get started!
Contact me if you have any questions: