Lead generation companies provide you with critical contacts to begin lead nurturing and eventually close the sales loop with prospective customers who are actually ready to buy.
If, however, your business does not have an adequate lead-nurturing program in place, those precious leads that you've already spent marketing dollars to obtain may very well be lost.
By working hand in hand with your sales department, you'll have a much better chance at converting more of those precious leads into sales.
Work With Sales to Evaluate New Leads
If you’re working with lead generation companies, what process of evaluation do those leads undergo once you receive them? Determining which leads are in the late stages of the buying cycle is important before sending them off to the sales department, but the remaining leads are far from worthless contacts.
Marketing and sales should work together to determine which characteristics are present with leads in the ready to buy stage vs. those that are just starting the research process.
Remember, those early stage buyers will eventually reach the ready to purchase stage, so developing a rapport throughout their journey is an excellent way to nurture leads and help speed up the buying process.
Develop a Strong Lead Nurturing Process
Let's start with an example: if lead generation companies have provided you with 1000 new leads, research tells us that anywhere from 100-300 of those will be in the later stages of the buying process.
Another 500 will be in the earlier stages and ripe for lead nurturing.
Instead of just sending out standard emails to all those cooler leads, a true lead nurturing process offers buyers tools and assistance to help build trust, while simplifying and streamlining the decision making process.
Interviewing past and present customers to obtain feedback about the process they underwent before making a final choice about a product or service will help you determine the best ways to nurture those leads.
You may be able to provide prospective customers some or all of the following:
- White papers, case studies, specific return on investment (ROI) calculatorspecific return on investment (ROI) calculators and/or other data rich materials
- Free trial versions of software or other types of product samples
- Personalized follow up communication regarding their opinion about the sample, available tools, etc.; learning more about the unique needs of prospective customers in your line of business allows you to continuously upgrade the lead nurturing process you provide.
Ensure That Your Organization Closes the Sales Loop
Marketing is typically hands off once leads have been passed off to sales, but this could be costing your business countless numbers of new customers.
Communicate with sales staff to determine how many leads it generally takes to make a sale, then work backwards to calculate how many leads you need to keep passing along the chain to meet your sales goals.
And remember, just because a lead doesn't convert into an immediate sale doesn’t mean it should just be tossed back into the standardized email recipient pile. Oftentimes, buyers at this stage have developed a rapport with a particular sales person and may eventually convert provided they are not left to go cold.
When marketing and sales work hand in hand with open communication, sales will increase right alongside with customer satisfaction and the reputation of your brand.