The word “lead” is used all the time in marketing, but not everyone understands what a lead is or how to go from finding a lead to making a sale. Considering how fundamental it is to be able to locate and nurture leads, let’s take a moment to demystify the process.
The first step in this process is identifying a lead. An individual who visits your website is anonymous until he or she takes action. This may include filling out a form, downloading content, or interacting with others. Once this step occurs, you have qualitative and quantitative information from a known activity. This will help you discern the needs of the user. You can now call this previously unknown visitor a lead.
First Call to Action
Generally, the lead will progress into a hot lead once he or she makes contact and inquires about your capabilities. This critical moment requires specific attention: It’s an opportunity to hook your lead. This is the time to open up a discussion. Explain your value proposition in a way that gives your lead a broader perspective of what you can deliver. By engaging your lead in conversation, you’ll begin to grow the relationship.
To maximize your chance of investing in viable opportunities, make sure you truly understand your lead. Perform a background check to gain insight into your lead’s prior Web activities. Once a lead has performed an action, such as opening or clicking on an email, marketing automation tracks back 90 days from the time the lead is first cookied. Review this information to determine whether you’re making productive use of your time in pursuing the lead.
Initial Touch Points
Continue to build a rapport with your lead by establishing a series of initial touch points. Once your leads make first contact by filling out a form or sending a note, add them to the marketing email distribution list so that their information will always be on file. At the same time, establish reliability by assigning a sales rep to make a call or send an email within 24 hours of the lead reaching out to you. It’s the most critical stage for a qualified lead, as he or she is likely investigating the competition at the same time. The first 10 days is the research and learning period when the lead will be performing due diligence. This is the key time to differentiate yourself through compelling content and communication, as you want to redirect the lead to your site as often as possible.
The next step in the process is conversion. You have a strong opportunity once a sales rep qualifies and accepts a lead; create a plan of attack by learning as much as you can about the company as a potential business partner. Understand what goes on in the mind of the lead, and how your services can best address the lead’s specific needs. Sales and marketing must work in conjunction to take advantage of the situation. Sales will usually make on-site visits and have in-person meetings to develop the relationship, while marketing continues to remain hands-on by maintaining other channels of communication.
Closing the Deal
It takes 30 days from the time you send a proposal to close the deal. Afterwards, marketing is tasked with sending new content on a regular basis to maintain communication. This helps ensure transparency, accessibility, and the ability to forge a long-term relationship. Remember: continued interaction leads to mutual trust.
Creating a Contact
Finally, once you’ve closed the deal, the leads become contacts. They should now receive fresh content and still feel like they’re deserving of your time and attention. The key to nurturing client relationships is analyzing past behavior and taking advantage of this information. See what types of activities your contacts respond to the most, and tailor your interactions accordingly.
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