Every business owner dreams of a steady stream of red hot sales leads that can be turned on and off like a tap so that the next customer is always waiting in line. But for many years, the idea seemed like just that — a dream.
But that’s all started to change thanks to the recent explosion in the number of powerful marketing automation and lead nurturing tools that are on the market. These tools are great because they enable marketers to put more work in up front to qualify their leads before they hand them over to the sales team.
At LeadsForward, we specialize in working with contracting businesses and landscaping companies, but the techniques that we’re about to share in this post can apply to any business that sells higher value products or services that have longer buying cycles. That’s the beauty of lead generation and the more measured approach to marketing that it enables.
Here are just a few of the ways that we turn total strangers into red hot sales leads.
Step One: Understanding the Audience
There’s really no point doing anything until you’ve put some time in to understand your target audience. You’ll need to identify typical demographic information (i.e. ages, genders, income level, education level, etc.), but you’ll also need to identify what problems your product or service is solving for people.
We’d usually recommend creating buyer personas for your most popular types of customer and to give these personas names and faces to bring them to life. Then, whenever you’re developing a campaign or a piece of content, you can check it against the buyer personas to make sure that it’s something they’d actually be interested in. If you want to generate red hot sales leads, relevance is key. You need to reach the right person with the right message at the right time.
Step Two: Capturing Cold and Lukewarm Leads
Once you’ve identified your target audience and created buyer personas, the next step is to go ahead and create a data capture campaign. As a general rule, this is carried out by offering up a piece of high quality content (such as a webinar or an ebook) in exchange for somebody’s email address. However, you can also capture data through demo requests, contact forms and more, so feel free to be creative.
The goal here is to start to build a profile on these potential customers over time. Don’t make the mistake of capturing data and immediately handing it over to your sales team because you’ll be giving them lukewarm leads that aren’t quite ready to buy. Instead of landing the sale, you risk driving them away for good.
Step Three: Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is the process of taking those leads and ushering them along the buyer’s journey until they’re ready to make a purchase. As you start to get to know more about your leads based on the types of content that they’re consuming, which emails they’re opening and what resources they’re accessing, you can start to tailor the messaging that you send to them using marketing automation.
For any sort of marketing automation, unless you are a smaller company this is absolutely essential. You need to make sure you partner with a company that can handle all your IT services as well as providing some sort of integration platform for your needs. M.X. Data offers a retail integration platform and retail pro support that works to integrate disparate systems which they use with their existing Retail Pro customers to help them manage all their eCommerce, in-store and order fulfillment processes. While this kind of integration is not relatable to the smaller company or contractor, it gives you an idea of the possibilities that are out there as you grow your company.
If you really want to make sure that your leads are red hot before you approach them, it’s a good idea to use a lead scoring system. These systems effectively give your leads a point score based on what they’ve been doing, so a download might score five points while reading a blog post scores two and requesting a demo scores ten. You can then set a threshold that your leads have to meet before they’re ready to hand over to sales.
Step Four: Closing the Deal
At last, your leads are ready to hand over to the sales team. Better still, they’ll now have access to a handy log of potential discussion subjects based on the content that they’ve consumed in the past. This helps them to start up a conversation based on something that they know the potential customer is into.
There’s no sure-fire way to take a red hot sales lead and to turn it into a customer, but we find that it helps to go off-script if you need to and to treat each lead as an individual. Listen to what they have to say before you try to sell something to them. And remember that if you’ve got your lead generation and lead nurturing approach just right, they should already want to buy from you. You won’t need to sell to them because they’ve already convinced themselves that they want to buy.
We make it our business to help our clients develop powerful lead generation campaigns and to turn on that tap of red hot sales leads. In fact, we use an end-to-end model that means you only pay us when one of our red hot leads turns into an actual paying customer.
So if you’d like a little help with lead generation and you want to find out more about what makes us unique, be sure to sign up for a demo. We’ll be more than happy to help!