Every sales process begins with lead generation. To sell anything, the first thing you need is a customer or prospective buyer. These people qualify as customers because they’ve expressed a certain level of interest in your products or services. Otherwise what you have is nothing more than web traffic.
So the first stage in any sales cycle is identifying potential prospects. Meaning, you have to sift through the traffic you’re getting and target anyone who’s expressed some level of interest in your products or services. That’s what’s commonly referred to as lead generation in this part of the universe.
When people land on your website, the correct term to use is that your website is attracting traffic or visitors. You have to understand that these visitors aren’t customers. Neither do they qualify as leads?
So it’s upon you to use your creativity and install some filters in place to find out who among them has some willingness to take action. That’s where you design a form where interested parties can enter their email addresses to proceed to the next stage of your sales funnel.
Another trick would be to design a conspicuous call to action button that your visitors can click through to find out more about your products or services or to proceed to the next stage of making a purchase.
As a marketer, you interpret this first action as the green light to reach out, connect, or do some follow-up. What you have at this point is a lead. Or should we say, a visitor with interest.
The lead will then be directed into a sales funnel where they’re reassured continuously and lured with freebies and other enticements into taking action.
Depending on how you’ve perfected your sales funnel, some of the leads may drop off along the way. No need to fret — this is very normal in the world of business. Those that follow all the stages of your sales funnel become your converts or sales.
This is the ultimate goal of every marketing strategy — to end up with the highest number of sales or converts as possible.
Now traffic and sales aside, what strategy can you employ to increase your number of sales? What are the lead generation steps to follow that inch you closer to your goals?
Well, you might want to read on to find out:
i. Drive Traffic
You have two types of traffic that you can drive here — low-quality traffic and high-quality traffic. Low-quality traffic is full of fluff or visitors that are only checking you out of curiosity or having been lured in with click baits. You’d be lucky to find an active lead in them.
High-quality traffic, on the other hand, boasts of visitors with a vested interest in your business or products. So the odds are good, you’ll have an easy time getting them to take action. Put differently, this traffic has more leads compared to the first group of visitors.
So as a marketer looking to drive traffic, you should be working towards driving high-quality traffic. You want to make sure the people you’re attracting to your site have some interest in your business or offers.
The easiest way to direct traffic to your website is through content (SEO) or PPC ads. Learn to churn out engaging content and share it on multiple channels. The content you create can come in the form of eBooks, white papers, infographics, blog posts, and so on.
This content is supposed to help you with SEO. But in the meantime, you can share it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other Social media channels. Social media followers will click them and bam! There goes your web traffic.
Some of the content you publish must be short, like tweets, posts, blog posts, and video clips. There should be nothing restricting anyone from reading them. While for some, mainly eBooks, white papers, and free courses, you can create a sign-up form that requires visitors to enter their email addresses to read them.
Once a visitor has entered their email address, that shows that they have a certain level of interest in your business or products. That’s your cue to start targeting them through email marketing.
Suffice it to say that this particular visitor qualifies as a new lead that you can convert into an active customer.
ii: Nurture your Current Leads
Lead nurturing can be defined as the process of cultivating the leads that fit into your target account profile. In other words, you’re yet to engage these leads into a buying cycle.
Lead nurturing can also be defined as the process of remaining engaged with your existing customers for references, testimonials, case studies, and drive-up sales.
From the first step, you’ve succeeded in adding a new lead into your email list or lead management system. What remains is for you to continue nurturing and reassuring them until you’re able to get them through your sales funnel. And even after they’re done with the first purchase, you have to continue nurturing them so they can make another purchase or become part of your loyal customer base.
Lead nurturing is all about building and retaining interest. You’re simply working towards establishing a long-term relationship with that particular lead through email marketing.
Be sure to set up an email auto-responder that will be automatically sending customised emails to the new leads that download your content and other freebies. Set the auto-responder to send customised emails to a customer after a free trial of your product or after they complete a purchase.
You can’t be sure about how long it’s going take you to nurture a lead until they finally decide to take action. This can range anywhere from a day to a few years, or even longer. That’s why you have to learn to exercise patience and to be more strategical with the approach you use.
iii. Score each Lead
Not all leads are created the same. Speaking of which, there’s a possibility that some will be more interested in your business or products than others.
Scoring them allows you to develop a deeper understanding of your leads. That way, you can rank them based on who’s more valuable to your business than the others.
In which case, a valuable lead is one that’s continually interacting with your business. They’re among the first to click on the new blog posts you publish. They’ll download all of your material and are very active in the comment section.
You can start by profiling your leads one by one. Find out more about them and the manner in which they’ve been interacting with your website. With the information you collect, you should be able to weigh in on their level of investment and group them accordingly.
Nurturing a lead is a team’s effort. So be sure to involve every member of your marketing team. Your focus should be on nurturing high-quality leads, not just leads. By high-quality leads what we mean is that that particular lead has shown greater interest in your business or products. It’s therefore expected that you’ll have an easy time converting them with little to no effort on your part.
A low-quality lead has a low interest level. You’ll, therefore, have to place them at the top of your sales funnel and work on their interest first until it’s grown enough to move them to the next stage of the funnel.
Take your time to analyse how your leads fall. Look for the blockage point and try to solve it fast enough. Find out about the concerns some of these leads have and figure out how to best motivate them. If anything, that’s how you solve a concern and clear out a blockage point.
iv: Pass the lead to your Sales Team
Your lead management process should feature different stages. This will ensure there’s a continuous flow of leads right from the beginning of your sales funnel to the last conversion stage. Your marketing team should handle all matters relating to lead generation, lead nurturing, lead retaining, and drop-offs. Their job is to establish desire. And once they’ve succeeded in that, you’re free to direct them to your sales team for the final close.
Your sales team is tasked with one role — to convert the desire that your customer has into some real action. As a marketer, you’re more interested in sales, and it’s your job to make it finally happen. It’s also part of their responsibility to enrich the experience of returning customers and retain them over time.
Find a way to describe a lead that’s ripe enough to be passed on to the sales team. The marketing team nurtures, the sales team closes. It’s that simple.
A sales-ready lead will have a healthy profile. You can also expect their lead score to be high. And most importantly, they’ll be showing specific behavioural attributes that communicate their high level of interest. You can also tell that they have a budget, authority, and a burning desire to proceed with a purchase.
v: Go through the Lead Generation Process and Evaluate it
You finally succeeded in making a lead take action. Congratulation! But that’s not to say that your lead generation strategy is flawless. It could be that the leads wanted the product really bad. And regardless of what you could have done, they would have still proceeded with the action.
So make your team go through the funnel and make sure it’s as efficient as you’d have wished it to be. The funnel must be effective at bringing in new leads, reassuring them, nurturing them, converting them, and retaining them for a repeat purchase.
Drop-off should be your main point of focus here. You have to come up with working solutions on how to prevent leaks and all that. You could also try recapturing some of the leads that drop off.
It could be that you passed the leads to the sales teams too early before they were even ripe for it. This resulted in a last-minute resistance that would see to it that the bulk of the leads fall out.
Another plausible explanation is the lack of trust. You were quick to close, without considering if the leads were invested enough to trust you with their hard-earned cash. If this is the case, then you may want to consider building enough comfort with your next leads before passing them on to your sales team.
The good thing with warm leads is that it’s possible to recapture them. The only problem is that it takes a lot of time, resources, and effort to achieve. So you might want to do all you can to avoid losing them in the first place.
Lastly, you have to evaluate your lead generation process to find out if you have hit your benchmark. Is your site driving enough traffic? Is your conversion rate impressive enough? Do you need to get more visitors to sign up for your newsletters?
Remember to monitor these benchmarks and determine if they’re impacting your business or the lead’s journey in any way. The whole point of running these analytics is to come up with realistic solutions that will be helping you prevent your lead from losing interest.
The Final Thought
Content is still king here. Both lead generation and nurturing require that you create content that will be helping you establish interest in your site’s visitors and leads. What you’re trying to do at every stage is solve the problems your customers have — and even more the closer they come to making the decision to buy.
Also, you have to be careful with the way that you handle the leads that are on the verge of making a purchase. This is where their senses are most alert, and one mistake on your part could easily send them parking. This is particularly the case where a potential customer is about to make an emotional purchase.
That said, mind sharing your lead generation process with MediaOne today? Drop us an email. Or better yet, talk to one of our customer representatives via the live chat provided, and let’s figure out how to propel your business to the next level.