Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a B2B company, everyone knows the importance of lead generation. It’s what fills your sales funnel with leads that you’ll nurture and hopefully convert into paying customers.
But, while generating leads can be a challenge, moving inbound leads through the sales funnel is a whole other ball game!
With that said, let’s take a look at 8 strategies on how you can respond to sales leads to improve conversion rates.
The typical start of the sales cycle for most businesses involves attracting a person to resources such as blog articles, educational or informative pieces of content, or a free product trial.
However, it is not always clear how to segment and prioritize leads. Lead scoring is one technique used to determine how ‘cold’ or ‘hot’ a lead is, which can, in turn, help to build a sense of urgency with your response.
For example, it can show you hot leads that are almost ready to convert. Your sales team can then sweep in to close those sales immediately.
But how will you determine a lead’s score? That can be determined through actions that inbound leads have taken, the information they’ve provided, their engagement levels on social media, and more. You can also ask qualification questions through a survey.
Automating some of your sales processes will also help you prioritize your leads better. For example, with an automated system, you can calculate your lead time for each prospect and improve your average lead response time.
In a perfect world, it would only take a few messages and one communication channel to close a lead.
However, in reality, it usually requires several conversations spread across different communication channels. A cold email might suffice when trying to attract a new prospect. However, a sales call might be a better pick for a lead ready for a product upgrade.
In the snippet above, HubSpot has made communication easy through an AI-driven chatbot. That’s another channel of communication.
Look at your data and identify the channels where your leads are most engaged. That’s usually the channel you want to double down on. However, it’s also good to experiment with other communication channels.
Remember that you may need to use multiple channels with the same lead. Therefore, it’s critical that you have a platform like a chat marketing platform with a multi-channel inbox to harmonize all the data from the different communication channels.
Before personalization should always come segmentation. Here, qualified leads can be segmented by demographics, levels of engagement, and purchasing habits, among others.
You might be able to capture your lead’s full name, email address, company, or phone number from lead capture software like click-to-call widgets or lead magnet pop-ups. With this biodata, you can then personalize a call or an email by tailoring content specific to the lead.
There are other ways you could personalize your lead outreach. For example, you could have a sales rep send a personalized video email to a new product subscriber.
Vidyard is one of the various tools that allow you to send personalized video messages via email. You could provide a personalized product demo, respond to FAQs and pain points personally, or even introduce customer testimonials in the video.
Oftentimes, many businesses overlook creating content because they fail to recognize that content is extremely valuable for attracting and nurturing leads.
Top-of-the-funnel content may include informational blog posts, videos, and infographics. Middle-of-the-funnel content may include e-books, whitepapers, on-demand webinars, and podcasts. Finally, bottom-of-the-funnel content, which is where sales are closed, can include demos, consultations, and product trials.
Understanding the lead’s journey and what they might need at each stage is crucial to crafting impactful content. Your content should align with their goals and provide value.
Furthermore, within your content, you can include strong CTAs that appeal to the lead at that particular stage of the journey. With that said, you can offer such useful resources to your leads to help them (and also yourself).
HubSpot is an excellent example of a company that tailors its content for each stage of the lead’s journey. HubSpot has categorized its content into multiple categories to help potential customers find what they are looking for. If you dig deeper, you’ll also realize that each category has high-quality content for every buyer journey stage.
The company also recognizes the power of providing a great user experience besides content, leveraging the best practice in B2B web designing.
How do you know if you’re being pushy? Disruptive cold calling and sending unnecessary emails will only lead to prospects blacklisting and blocking you entirely.
It may be unwise to send three consecutive emails to a lead within a two to three-day span without getting a response back.
From available marketing data, salespeople with more contact attempts perform better than those with fewer attempts. However, you’ll need to find that perfect balance where you’re not being too pushy but are also doing enough follow-up.
Alerting a customer that they will receive a follow-up call or email from a sales rep in a couple of days or weeks is one way to avoid being pushy. However, for sales-ready and service query leads, it is essential to keep time and do a follow-up as soon as possible, preferably within 12 to 24 hours (or sooner) of the lead making contact.
Leads and prospects interact with marketers in different ways, from blogs and social media channels to chat boxes and email.
Regardless of the communication channel, you’d like a formal system for organizing and storing all your communication and leads. That is where a marketing automation system such as an advanced CRM comes in handy.
With a CRM, you can log all interactions with your prospects, from phone calls, emails, notes, and follow-up items on one dashboard.
Not only does this improve lead time, but it also ensures that context within conversations is not lost. Other team members such as sales development reps can view these conversations and make follow-ups.
Statistically, calling a lead within 5 minutes of them initiating communication is 21 times more effective than calling them after 30 minutes. With a CRM software, you’ll avoid missing out on “hot” leads and ensure that the right person speaks to the prospect asap.
If you’re running email marketing campaigns, track your emails to get a clearer picture of how leads respond to your messages. Then, use that information to enhance your communication strategy.
For example, if most of your emails are going unopened, you may want to reconsider the type of content you’re sharing, how you’re writing your subject lines, the health of your email list, etc.
Determining whether, when, and how to do follow-ups are crucial. That depends on how solid the lead is and how far they are in the sales process.
You can create a follow-up schedule with any tool that’s convenient for you, whether in a simple application like Excel or even in a notebook. However, a marketing automation tool such as Salesforce Pardot for B2B will help you follow up with a lead more efficiently.
With the tool, you can assign a specific sales rep to a lead and provide an actionable program sequence for moving the prospect from the top to the bottom of the funnel.
In determining how to respond to a sales lead, it is essential to discern what method of communication your lead prefers (you can include this on your lead capture form). C-suite managers might strictly prefer emails, while more flexible business owners may prefer phone calls or face-to-face meetings.
Spending too much time on unqualified leads can be a waste of resources. Some prospects may need more time for a trial, while others may simply end up not being interested in your product or service.
This is why knowing when to let go comes in handy. Unfortunately, it also requires a bit of experience and intuition.
Just by the type of responses, you can quickly tell whether a lead is interested in your offer. For example, a lead that is constantly unavailable even after multiple calls and emails should be off your list. On the other hand, a lead asking for more time to consider the offer is probably worth keeping in your sales pipeline.
As a marketer, it’s always nerve-racking to watch a lead slip through your fingers. However, this sort of break-up doesn’t have to be unpleasant. In writing that final ‘separation’ email, you should consider mentioning or doing the following:
The ‘separation’ email might help capture the lead’s attention one last time.
In determining how to respond to a sales lead, it is essential to properly define your end goals and success metrics. For example, what percentage of conversions are you aiming at? Have you created a strategic roadmap to achieve these objectives?
Through the 8 helpful strategies described above — marketing automation, better lead response management, lead prioritization, and revamped content strategies — you stand a better chance of converting a prospect into a lead. You will also improve the ROI of your marketing spend.
Experienced marketers and sales leaders know the power of experimentation. Thus, you can test out various content, website design changes, and advertising channels. Practice this until you find what works for you in your journey to nurture your sales leads.
For more of such tips and advice, check out these useful resources! 👇👇
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