It’s one thing to generate leads. It’s another to close them.
The industry wide statistic of 70% of leads never receiving effective sales follow-up is astounding. With the mass amount of resources devoted to lead generation, the act of following up on leads has to be improved to experience growth in conversion rates.
The key to generating, nurturing and closing leads is communication. Follow these three tips to determine if your company is communicating well enough to keep leads from falling through the cracks and into the hands of the competition:
1. Communicate with prospects effectively
- Communicate with your qualified inquiries often and keep your brand at the forefront.
- Send pertinent messages related to where your prospect is in the buying cycle offering them information to help move them from one stage to the next.
- Online marketing (such as search engine optimization and Pay Per Click) works best for inbound marketing. Direct marketing, (such as email, e-newsletters and telemarketing) is ideal for outbound efforts.
2. Communicate with leads in time
- Too many companies lose business because of lack of timely follow up on leads. Save time by using marketing automation software that incorporates lead management, inclusive of crucial activities such as lead scoring and lead nurturing.
- Following up on both high and low probability prospects through manual methods (phone, e-mail or in person) is time consuming and creates inefficient and inconsistent processes for ‘eyeballing’ a lead to determine if it’s ‘hot’ and leaving it up to personal discretion as to who is followed up with and in what manner.
- Automation sifts through leads, qualifies them and keeps them in follow up mode until they move forward or drop from the buying cycle. By clarifying your list, automation targets prospects based on demographics, activity history and online behavioral triggers allowing your sales team to follow up on the highest-potential leads first, while allowing marketing to nurture the rest.
3. Communicate within your company
- A study by DemandGen Report shows sales opportunities increase by 20% with nurtured leads versus non-nurtured.
- But, for effective lead nurturing, marketing and sales must agree on the process of lead qualification. To be sure both are on the same page, ask these questions about closed leads: How long were their sales cycles? When during their buying cycles did they enter the marketing funnel? What kind of offerings did they respond to?
To fill cracks in the system, marketers need to shift from a sole focus of lead generation to a dual focus of generation and management. Efforts need to go beyond just getting the lead to fostering a relationship until that lead is ready to hand over to sales. Then sales can complete the cycle.
With 7 out of 10 of leads eventually making a purchase, there is no reason they shouldn’t be purchasing from you. Establish a well-planned lead management process to increase your lead-to-close ratio and decrease the number of leads you’re losing to your competitors.