49% of companies report that customer acquisition is their primary marketing objective. 58% of business leaders indicate that lead generation is one of their most toughest challenges.
Business growth is always challenging – few businesses build their sales revenue on luck – it takes dedicated effort and the right tactics to grow and retain your customer base.
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve tried almost every conceivable way to grow our business. Some of it works – most of it doesn’t.
But let’s start at the beginning – the key to accomplishing your ambitious sales goal, starts with attracting more of the right sales leads.
A sales lead is a person or a business that has the potential to purchase your company’s product or service.
A lead only becomes a prospect once you have identified their fit as a potential customer or they have shown a level of direct interest in what your company has to offer.
Without well-targeted leads we won’t have the chance to close deals. Our clever engagement tactics, sales offers, landing pages, proposals and closing scripts won’t see the light-of-day unless we feed the sales funnel with leads.
Tune in to your buyers’ needs
Fundamental to engaging with leads is appreciating their situation – understanding the process a customer goes through to become aware of, consider alternatives and decide to purchase from you.
Our outreach communication or inbound content needs to resonate with them:
- What problem do we solve for them?
- What’s our ideal customers biggest frustration?
- What motivates them to take action?
- What’s the best way to communicate to them?
- Why should they care about what we provide?
Once you have identified your most important personas, then you need to optimise your website for conversions. Your website will be your most important tool you have for tuning into your audiences needs and turning leads in to customers.
Implement an omni-channel approach
You can dramatically increase your chances of turning leads in to customers by increasing the number of times your leads see you or engage with you.
The adage that it takes 7 touchpoints or interactions to generate a prospect is so very true – indeed, depending on the commitment (dollar value, consideration of alternatives, trust) required to make a purchase decision, many industries report it takes 2 or 3 times this many interactions before a decision is made.
We need to use every channel to connect with leads – traditional, social media, website content, direct calls, live chat, email, SMS, retargeting and more.
The messages need to be tuned to the stage in their journey with you – discovering their problem, not aware of your solution, weighing up alternatives, developing trust in your promise, motivated by your offer.
Try outbound responses to inbound leads
If you’ve attracted an inbound lead through your promotion, advertising, or content, great.
Sure, you can nurture those leads with a series of automated emails and social and PPC retargeting efforts.
But why not take more direct charge of turning those respondents in to prospects and customers through outbound.
Send more personalised emails, live chat, and direct SMS messages to them and where relevant, call them.
Make your outbound as personalised and as tailored as possible.
If you can’t get to all of them, lead scoring can identify the most engaged leads or those most ready to make a purchase decision.
A direct call has been found to increase the chances of a close by 2-3 times.
Respond lightning fast to leads
According to HubSpot, the odds of a lead becoming qualified are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes.
Just imagine how our odds drop, when we take a day or two to respond to a lead!
Get to your lead while they are in the moment.
A robust lead-to-close system addresses this by triggering a task and alerting an internal sales agent to respond within 5 minutes of acquiring a new inbound lead.
Revisit closed and lost opportunities
Often, “no” means “not right now”.
Revisit with your closed or lost opportunities. There is every chance that while you weren’t selected 6 months ago, you left a favourable impression that you might be reconsidered now that the time is right or other alternatives proved not so positive.
Companies that did not buy from you before are already qualified sales leads. Invest time and resources into marketing to these prospects. Stay in touch through email campaigns, local events, blog posts, and phone calls.
Today might be the very day that old lead asks “what was the name of that company that provided that amazing presentation 6 months ago?”
Find sales leads on social media networks
About 42% of us use some kind of social media.
Facebook and Instagram offer an abundant source of leads for B2C leads but that’s not to say they aren’t a viable source for B2B business either.
LinkedIn offers a more targeted source of business customers, with members more in the zone of finding business related information.
Use social media to get recommendations from your clients, post special offers, and tell more about your company. Any social media can be a fruitful channel to reach your audience and generate sales leads online.
Plus, once you have leads in the system, you can use social media to talk to them and find out more about what they need and want.
Get referrals from current customers
Your leads aren’t as likely to accept you singing about how great you are, as they will hearing from your current clients and customers.
Ratings, reviews and testimonials are powerful forms of endorsement.
Your leads are far more likely to trust you and hopefully purchase from you if they see that that they are working in good company or read positive messages from satisfied customers.
Get those messages front and centre on your website. Use those referrals in your pitch videos. Display your google ratings and reviews everywhere.
Don’t be afraid to ask your customers to refer friends and colleagues to you.
Run specific friend-get-friend promotions to encourage referral lead generation.
Create a better sales funnel
Once you have identified your ideal lead targets and what channels to use to reach them you should have a plan to collect contact information.
Usually, the first stage of an optimised sales funnel process is funnelling leads toa lead capture page or landing page that encourages visitors to share their contact information, usually in exchange for something of value to them; a coupon code, a free gift, a demo or valuable piece of content like an how-to ebook.
At this point, it’s vital that you have CRM or Marketing Automation software in place to keep track of sales leads and to further engage them through email, SMS and retargeting messages on social and websites platforms.
Marketing automation apps like Klaviyo or ActiveCampaign can be set to do all the hard-lifting of sending personalised messages and identifying just the right time to offer online sales incentives or prompt a sales representative to make a closing call.
Attract organic traffic from SEO
While paid online advertising can offer a short term fix for targeting leads, search engine optimisation can generate organic traffic to your website on an ongoing basis, literally for free.
By focusing on keyword researched quality content, posted to informative and engaging landing pages and blogs, you can rank high with search engines like Google and offset the massive investment of ad campaigns.
It’s unlikely that a business in a competitive industry can give up on paid placement, but ranking well with Google will ensure that this organic channel serves you well for a strong flow of leads at a lower cost of conversion.
- A healthy and productive sales funnel must start with a strong flow of leads.
- Without leads your sales pipeline is dead in the water.
- Start by assessing your buyer personas and appeal to their pain points and frustrations with a strong value proposition.
- Communicate your value proposition through an omnichannel lead generation approach that may include conventional media, PPC, social media, email, SMS, or cold calling.
- Continue to experiment and optimise the sources for your sales leads – measuring not just quantity but conversion, costs and sales value of each lead source.
- It’s vital that you use CRM and Marketing Automation to gather contact information of your hard-fought sales leads to engage and nurture them through your sales pipeline.
- Assess if your current process responds to new leads quickly and provides them the personalised information that will make your business stand out from the competitors those leads are also considering.