A study published on Forbes.com as well as other leading online publications revealed that a whopping 71 percent of internet leads are never contacted. What’s the cause? There are a variety of reasons for these disappointing numbers, and we won’t go into the “why” but can instead offer tips on how you can get the most out of your sales leads.
First off, it’s important to know that email campaigns directed at potential prospects have open rates that vary and can range from two to 15 percent. These campaigns are known as acquisition campaigns because the prospects are not yet in your CRM system and you are seeking to “acquire” them as customers.
When it comes to acquisition emails, you can expect a percentage of the leads to come from individuals or businesses who may be ready to buy or who wish to request more information about your offer. These are considered warm leads. Prospects that open and click through to an offer are also considered warm leads.
What about prospects that do nothing more than open the email? You might consider them to be lukewarm leads because they have shown a small level of interest in your offer. While an opened email indicates potential interest, the truth is the email recipient may not be ready to buy yet and are possibly in the research phase of their purchase decision.
How can you nurture these lukewarm prospects into becoming customers? Here are five important steps:
Step 1: Call or email the leads to introduce yourself and answer any questions they may have about your company or your offer. If they’re not ready to move forward, ask when you can get back in touch with them, and if they have a preferred method of communication (such as email, text or
Step 2: For leads that are not ready to buy, attempt to determine the reason why. Consider these key points:
- If the purchase decision is some time in the future, conduct regular outreach by email or phone in order to be top of mind when they are ready to buy.
- Does your offer fulfill their need?
- Are you able to solve a prospect’s problem with your service offerings?
Step 3: Conduct a lead nurturing program for those leads not ready to purchase. Follow up with them once or twice a month with relevant information tailored to what they have shown interest in, and tailored for where they are in the buying process. Do this by taking inventory of the content you have such as blog posts, e-books and videos for your lead nurturing outreach. And, above all, always personalize communication with your prospects.
Step 4: Once you have communicated with your prospects, enter the information for those who have opened your email — as well as those who have opened and clicked through — into a CRM system, such as Eloqua or Marketo. These programs offer a lead scoring system to help you rank leads for future follow up, as well as email automation to guide you in nurturing the sale.
Step 5: Knowing your sales cycle for each product or service is important in scheduling follow up outreach and for lead scoring. For some offerings, the sales cycle is shorter, which means follow up should take place across a shorter time span. For other products and services, it can take up to six months or longer to close a sale. Follow up for these leads can span several months or more.
Remember, regular outreach is key when it comes to winning new customers. It’s essential to be there when they raise their hand to buy. And now that you’ve read our five steps for success with your leads, there’s no reason you can’t hit your sales numbers.
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.
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