Connecting With Leads In Five Simple Steps
The lifeblood of a business is its sales and generating sales starts with connecting with leads on the market. Every business has to figure out a way to connect to potential customers. Some businesses go aggressive and spend a huge amount of ad money to get people to recognize their brand. Some go passive and rely on word-of-mouth communication. There is no fixed template on how to do this as every business is in a unique position and may even have different target markets. But before going on to discuss the steps on generating leads, let us break down a few concepts first:
What is a lead?
A lead is an unqualified contact that has the potential to become your customer. They are at the top of the sales funnel– meaning they have the least contact and engagement with your business yet. When a lead is unqualified, it means that the person has not revealed any detail yet that qualifies the person to be part of your target market. Leads are gathered through different techniques. Some companies purchase an email list to send promotional messages to. Others have lead magnets– incentive companies give in exchange for information like website visitors dropping their email in exchange for an eBook.
When a lead becomes qualified, they turn into what the industry calls prospects. Prospects are qualified leads which means they can be categorized as people who fit your target market (people you want your product or services to be addressed to). And there are different classifications for qualified leads:
Marketing Qualified Leads – marketing leads are prospects who have responded to the efforts of your marketing team (like signing up a form where they input their contact information in exchange for an eBook, a PDF, or a template). Marketing leads do not necessarily express or indicate interest over your products or services. They may have just dropped their emails for the sake of getting the free eBook or material you have provided.
Sales Qualified Leads – the difference between a Sales Qualified Lead and a Marketing Qualified Lead is that in the former, the prospect is qualified to be contacted by your sales team. This means that the prospect has indicated interest over your products and services. This usually happens when the prospect looks for more information on your marketing channels such as your website and clicks on a CTA (Call to Action) button to ask for a Free Trial (or more information about your products and services).
Product or Service Qualified Leads – product or service qualified leads are prospects who have indicated interest to be paying customers. This often happens as a result of using a free or limited version of the product or service you are providing. Product or service qualified leads often express interest over the paid version of your product or service– or ask about the features that are only available in the paid version. This is where sales teams try to win the customer over by highlighting the benefits of the paid version and how customers can do more by availing of the paid version.
Now that you know what a lead is, let us get to the five simple steps to guide you in generating leads:
1. Be active online
Active engagement over the Internet increases your chances of capturing leads. Most people around the world are connected to the Internet, which increases your market and increases your chances of generating leads. Being active online also means you have to expand your reach by creating several marketing channels online and focusing on them. An example of this is by creating a website, a social media channel, a blog site, and etc.
So the first step is to expand your reach by creating active marketing channels online.
2. Create engaging content
The content of your marketing channels should be of value to your leads. This incentivizes them to visit your channel again or even recommend it to others. When your content is engaging, customers are more likely to stay interested in your product over time. This may also encourage them to engage with you like clicking on the CTA button you have provided on your marketing channels. An example of this is when your lead subscribes to your newsletter to get updated about your content all the time.
An engaged lead is also more likely to participate in clicking on links or other content you have provided and will soon convert into a paying customer. Hence, the second step is to keep your customers engaged with your online marketing channels so they will click on the CTA buttons you have provided there.
3. Create curated content with actual value to the lead
When a customer clicks on a CTA button and has provided contact information to keep on engaging with you, do not take this lightly. All relationships are built on trust and value this trust by only providing content relevant to the lead. DO NOT, we repeat, DO NOT sell your customers’ information to other companies. Not only will this probably violate privacy laws, but this will also deter other customers from providing their information to you.
There are techniques in determining a customer’s preference when it comes to content. You can have them fill up a form where they can mark on the checkboxes themes or content they want to be updated with. So it is better to segment your customers according to interest or preferences. This step ensures that the message you are sending to your customers is relevant to their interests.
You can also use tools to determine the buyer persona. Some tools can help record relevant information about your customers like their contact information, geographic location, income, interests, and other information.
4. Use tools like CRM to help you manage your leads
CRM tools are often designed to help you manage the leads that you have captured from your marketing channels. They can automatically send leads forms to fill up their information with, record this information, and store them into your CRM database. Some CRM tools have email marketing features that allow you to communicate with your potential customers through email via the CRM. Some tools also automate the sending of customized email based on the trigger responses you have set up – like sending a “welcome” email to a potential customer who has clicked on the “subscribe” button or a “thank you” email to a customer who has recently made a purchase via your website.
The technique to keeping your customers satisfied is by keeping them engaged (just like how you keep your leads engaged).
Innovation can take place in the form of creating new products or improvements to existing products. Some leads are not willing to engage with you because they are not interested in your products and services or they just do not need them. This is why innovating is important to every business to keep them relevant in the industry.
Improvements to your existing products and services can also help keep not only your leads but also your customers interested in your brand. Innovation will also help set you apart from the competition and can help you provide a unique selling proposition (USP) to your customers.