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Treat a sales lead like a person not a lead

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In a perfect world the marketing team will generate leads, those leads are nurtured and then subsequently handed over to the sales team to convert the leads into customers. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? As a business owner, who is closely involved in every step of this process, you know that you need a clear cut strategy that is effective in order to convert those leads into actual buyers.

The value of How Email Marketing Nurtures Leads and Creates Customers is already proven, but at what point is it a good idea to actually pick up the phone and make that call to an inbound lead? Most businesses attempt to convert their sales leads to customers far too soon in the buying journey. And it is a journey, so do not risk the chance of losing a potential customer just because you are rushing to the finish line.

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Is your lead really sales ready?

There is a market place for leads, unfortunately in most cases those leads are not truly qualified. Meaning, they are traded like cattle on the market. Companies still run out and purchase leads in the hope that by blasting emails out they will get some traction for the sales team.

Not surprisingly, sales teams complain about those leads. They are neither truly qualified, nor warmed up to your company. The main aspect why inbound marketing is so appealing is that via the company’s website warm leads are being generated. These are people who have voluntarily visited your website, liked what they saw and subsequently have given you their details in return for further information you provide ( i.e. your content).

Because in many cases those bought lead lists are being treated as a commodity, they do not get the individual attention they deserve. If you want a person to enter in a business relationship with you, buy from you, surely it serves you well to treat them as best you can?

In the online marketing world one easily forgets that even an anonymous website visitor is a person. Treating them as such starts with having a user friendly website that is orientated at the problems that visitor faces and your solutions to them.

Impersonal mass mailing and websites have no place in an inbound marketing campaign. This is the main reason why every inbound campaign starts with developing the buyer personas. With this we want to truly understand the potential customer who visits the website.

Then we also look at where in the buyer journey they are. If someone is just becoming aware of a problem he or she has they might not be ready to purchase yet. They will do extensive research first. Typically the higher the price ticket the more research is done. Your content on your website will over time reflect an understanding of this process.

The more your content on your websites and your lead nurturing campaigns are aligned along with the buyer personas and the buyer journey, the more the recipient will feel like he is being treated as a person and not a number, and it’s that that gives you a big edge over competitors who fail speak to their audience on a personal level.

With tracking software you become aware of what the people are doing on your website, what they are reading, how long they stay and so forth. Armed with this information you can create a funnel that leads them back and back again to your website to find more content. With every visit you gain more insight into who they are, with every form you ask them to fill out you can ask for more information to gain even further insight in order to start a more personal conversation with them. [Read more about Email Segmentation here]

The information you have gained about their behaviour and who they are will assist you with qualifying your leads according to set criteria. You need to be sure that your next step does not jeopardize their becoming a customer in future. Instead of treating a lead as a lead, treat them as a person.

 

Change your perspective

Now that you know what your lead is interested in, you are in a position to speak to the, in relation to their needs, on a very personal level. You are now better equipped to put yourself in their shoes and answer any questions that they may have. All buyers need to feel like they are making an informed decision.

When you engage on an individual level with a lead, make sure that you have done your homework. Visit their website and get an understanding of what they are trying to achieve. Use search engines to find out more about the person themselves. Check social media sites.

You should be able to:

  • Identify and understand what’s happening in their business right now. What they are trying to achieve?
  • See them as a person that is looking for information, and offer tips and tricks that will be genuinely helpful.
  • Ask them questions in order to understand what they need.
  • Before you make that call, investigate their website, search the person, do some research on company and person and find something you can really offer them in terms of advice.

And then, make the call, but have the mindset to connect with the individual, not sell. Chat to them. Be helpful and resist the urge to sell or make a deal. The irony is, that after that call, it’s highly probable that you have sold to them already.

Bottom line: people close deals...with other people.

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