Was that an email notification?
Through semi-opened eyes, you recognize the subject line :
“It’s a new lead!”
You jump out of your bed and leave your wife uncovered.
A month later, you wonder why she is asking for divorce.
But hey, it’s a new lead!
You’ve done something awesome, and that has drawn someone to your company. Now, the task at hand is converting the lead into a customer. How do you go about that? What should you do after getting that first beep?
Discard the lead and don’t give a damn about it.
Hold on before you pounce, Rajnikant!
I needed to start with a false positive to ensure you are awake 🙂
Here’s what your lead nurturing process should really look like :-
Firstly, check the product-lead fit.
Your hands might be itching to shoot across an introduction email to your new lead, but don’t do that. First, take a look at their website. Look up their profile on LinkedIn. Examine whether what you want to sell could possibly fit in with their business. Avoid pursuing leads that have ‘junk’ written all over them – shady website, no information about the business on the web, etc. I mean, do you really want that divorce to happen for no reason?!
Chuck the traditional advice about reaching out to or engaging with each lead that lands in your system. Learn to prioritize and chase the hottest leads first!
Note : You can eliminate this step by opting for a marketing automation platform like LeadSquared. LeadSquared calculates ‘quality’ and ‘engagement’ scores for each lead in the system, according to the criteria defined by you.
Now comes the tough part : lead nurturing.
You’ve finished your background check on the lead, and the results have been positive. What next? You could call up or email the lead right away with your sales pitch. Or, you can begin to ‘warm’ them up by sending a free e-book, a discount coupon, or any other value-packed item, and build a relationship. You can even invite them for your upcoming barbecue! But here’s what I’d suggest you do :-
Request your lead to complete a pre-call feedback form
This is a great practice if you have a high lead volume. When a lead fills up such a feedback form, it :-
1) Confirms their interest in your product, helping you identify them as a high-priority lead,
2) Helps you call them at a time that suits them, saving you the frustration of dozens of calls missed or cut abruptly.
3) Informs you about their exact requirements (the kind of details you couldn’t have gleaned from their website), helping you make your pitch smarter and more customized.
Connect with your lead on every social network possible
This is potentially the quickest, most effective way to build relationships with your leads. It is also the reason the best salespeople think of social media as a boon, and not a distraction. The options are plenty – you could send welcoming shout out to your lead on Twitter, or share high-relevance content with them on LinkedIn, or simply, engage with their posts on Facebook. Although, if you have to choose one, LinkedIn is your best bet, since it’s a social network where people come with the sole purpose of making professional contacts.
Note : Speaking of LinkedIn, always send a quick note to people who view your LinkedIn profile. Mine goes nothing longer than – “Hey, thanks for stopping by my profile. If there is any way I can be of help, I’m one quick note away from you!”. And it works!
Delve deeper into their profile
You’ve done a basic check up to determine if the lead is worth being pitched to, in Step 1. Now, you have to make sure your pitch is worth their time!
This is why you need to don your research hats and use all of the information you gather, to send them an email that is tailored to their company and addresses the use-case specific to their business.
The Rand Fishkin advice
When that guy tweets, I listen. Here is the latest gem of an insight he tweeted :
Best way to sell something – don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect, & trust of those who might buy.
There cannot be a better way to approach sales. Good selling is not selling. It’s helping out. Building value. It is going an extra mile to show your prospect how your product can add value to their business, instead of simply focusing on the product’s features. It is saying ‘no’ when you know that your product cannot add value to their business. Not only will such honesty win your prospect’s appreciation, but also, you won’t waste time with a short-term customer. Some of my past ‘no’s’ are very good friends today, and they’ve brought me some outstanding opportunities later.
Automate and engage
You can’t do the above for each lead landing up in your system. For that, you’ve got to find a marketing automation software, and use it to send nurturing emails, SMSes, and other drip campaigns.
Just remember to not rely on automation entirely. I do not recall any million dollar deal being closed over automated emails or SMSes alone. Sometimes, sending a birthday cake or attending a golf party can do what no software can!
What process do you follow after the beep happens? I’d love to learn from you as well 🙂