Action Steps to get more quality leads and close more sales
So at this point we know that throwing money at advertising and marketing firms is not an option. We need a way to generate leads that doesn’t involve putting up huge sums with no way to know how and when it will come back to us. Ideally, we’d like a way to invest a relatively small amount, measure the results closely, make adjustments to increase the profitability and then ramp up the investment, the leads and the profits according to our needs.
Of course. And while we’re at it, let’s also say that we want our sales people to get involved only when we know we have a highly qualified lead.
Believe it or not, this is not as tall an order as it appears to be. The basic principle is to design a lead funnel, a series of steps that each lead can go through that will ensure that they want and need what you’re selling. At each step, you offer the lead something and their choice tells you if now is the time for your sales team to talk with them.
So how do you decide what these steps are? What do you offer to the leads at each step in your funnel?
The first one is the hardest so, try to get yourself in the head of your customers. Talk to them. Ask them what questions were going through their mind when they decided to start looking for a solution like yours. What is it that everyone in your audience or market needs or desires?
#1 Action Step to Get More Quality Leads and Close More Sales
Offer something that every potential prospect for your product or service will be interested in.
Remember, this is a funnel or a series of steps. The first one should not be too exclusive. It should be highly attractive to people that need and want what you’re selling and people that likely will need or want what you sell in the future.
The first step is not a free trial or an appointment with a sales rep or a buyer’s guide.
Those are things you offer later in the process. Up front you want to offer something that someone with a general interest in the subject will find interesting. We want their accepting the offer to tell you that they could be a prospect some day. If you sell an industrial pump, you might want to write a quick guide titled “Are you spending too much keeping old pump equipment running?”.
Responding to your first offer doesn’t indicate a readiness to buy. But, it indicates that this is someone who is within your market space. You want to establish trust and credibility with this person so that when they are looking for what you sell, they reach out to you. That’s why you’ve got to have a plan to nurture the relationship regularly.
#2 Action Step to Get More Quality Leads and Close More Sales
Nurture leads automatically
These are not hot leads. You’re going to be worrying about closing the hot deals in your pipeline every day. That’s why your lead nurturing efforts have to be automatic. You’ll put it off or forget about it if it requires you to stop what you’re doing.
Plus, there are email marketing systems, auto-responders, online CRMs or just simple contact management systems that are affordable, easy to set up and can do the job for you. At a minimum you need a contact management system or CRM that can keep track of which leads have accepted which offer and let you know when it’s time to make the next offer.
Mix it up. Some of the leads that accepted your first offer may actually be ready to buy. Give them that chance! Don’t force them to accept each offer in the sequence you determine. If the final step in the funnel is to attend a demo or schedule a 30 minute consultation, then there’s no harm in presenting that option to new, early stage leads.
#3 Action Step to Get More Quality Leads and Close More Sales
Let the offers qualify leads for you
A buyer’s guide is a perfect qualifier. If a lead wants to learn how to buy what you sell, then they are much more qualified than the lead that’s only been willing to read your report on effective maintenance schedules.
Attending a webinar or demo is a good strong qualifier. Anything that involves the lead investing their own time or money. But give them options. If they’re not ready for the buyer’s guide, have something else with involving less commitment on their part as well.
#4 Action Step to Get More Quality Leads and Close More Sales
Build your sales process to fit the offers the lead responds to
You’re sales person isn’t going to pick up the phone and call each lead that responds to the first offer. The idea is for them to invest their time only in leads that have responded to offers that really qualify them as near term buyers.
Be sure that your process makes it easy for your sales people to respond appropriately to each lead’s actions. If they responded to your first offer and then immediately requested the buyer’s guide, they just might be very hot. Don’t make that lead wait. Call within hours. However, if you’re going to call leads that respond to earlier offers, be sure the sales person is not going for the close immediately. In that situation, their objective is really to steer the lead toward the next offer in the funnel.
Again, a good contact management system or CRM will help. With a CRM that tells the sales rep which offers each lead has responded to, they’ll know how to handle each one. Many CRMs can even allow the sales rep to change the email campaign that the lead will receive based on what they learn on the call.
#5 Action Step to Get More Quality Leads and Close More Sales
Measure lead quality and close rates
A subtle change in the offers you make can have tremendous results. Some offers will attract the wrong sort of lead unexpectedly. Believe it or not, the worst thing you could do is generate too many leads of the wrong type. In that situation, your sales people are spending lots of time on leads that don’t buy.
For these reasons, you’ve got to know the metrics of your funnel. For everyone that responded to step one, how many closed? And the same for each step. When your sales people talk to the leads, what is their judgment of quality?
These metrics will allow you to find the offers that are working and the ones that aren’t and adjust accordingly. Your CRM should make it easy to track these metrics and analyze them.
#6 Action Step to Get More Quality Leads and Close More Sales
Hold your team accountable to following the process
This is not selling 101. Most sales people have that “go for it” attitude. They’ll want to call all the leads. That may be a huge mistake from the stand point of time invested in unqualified leads. Make sure they understand when to get involved and what to do in each situation.
Make sure they document things properly as we’ve discussed above. Again, this is not throwing sales people at leads and hoping for the best. This is a finely tuned funnel. You can’t tune the funnel without data. The sales team is going to be a big part of gathering that data.
Communicate these concepts to the team and then make sure they’re held accountable. If they document the quality of leads only 80% of the time, that can completely skew your analysis.
If particular sales people are having trouble following the process – taking the right action at the right time or documenting results, you’ve got to know about it and you’ve got to address it.
I’ve always found that the best way to encourage participation and buy-in by the sales people is to take advantage of their natural competitiveness. Use your CRM to run a report of how many leads have been responded to by each sales person and how many had the results documented properly. Put that report in front of the entire team at sales meetings. None of them want to be on the bottom of this list.
Remember, this is the 5th chapter in our newest eBook, “Build Your Own Automatic Selling Machine”. Register to receive each new chapter as its released and the entire eBook when complete, free here.