As a marketing or sales leader, how often do you encounter this scenario?
- Each month, your website, marketing campaigns and cold calling efforts deliver a number of promising leads.
- You’ve successfully identified interested prospects, logged them into the CRM system and notified the appropriate sales rep.
- A few weeks later, you follow up, and your pipeline looks exactly the same as the month before.
Where are the qualified opportunities, and why aren’t these leads advancing through the sales funnel?
If you’re constantly starting over with demand generation and sales prospecting, or if your promising leads frequently stall out in the sales funnel, consider this checklist:
How to move more B2B leads through your sales funnel
Speak with the right person
Often, inbound leads come from individuals at all levels in the organization. This is especially true with inquiries from your website, events or purchased lists. In complex B2B or medtech sales, these professionals may be gathering information, educating themselves or seeking ideas, without the authority to make a purchasing decision.
A first step in advancing more B2B or medtech leads through the sales funnel is making sure you are working with a decision-maker or key influencer within the organization. While conversations with anyone in the business can be meaningful, it’s the conversations with those that feel the pain and make the decisions that are going to carry the most weight and keep things moving.
Properly qualify leads
All leads aren’t created equal. Separating and grading the quality of your leads ensures marketing and sales spend time where it’s most impactful. It also gives you time to target the right campaigns and messages required to nurture cooler leads before handing them off to sales.
Every time a medtech lead or B2B inquiry comes in, have a method in place to determine if they’re a good fit. This will require some upfront prep work; specifically, marketing and sales should agree on objective criteria to make these decisions. An initial phone call with the right questions can then obtain the necessary information.
Share relevant information
One of the biggest mistakes B2B and medtech companies make with sales leads is a one-size-fits-all process. Today, most buyers conduct detailed research online before ever contacting your company. Leads will have very different levels of understanding of your product or service, and need specific follow-up information.
A marketing automation system can help customize your engagement strategy. But, even without this technology, simply taking the time to review your prospect’s interest level and clarify their needs and challenges will ensure you share the right details about your solution at the right time in the sales process. This increases the likelihood of moving a lead to the next step in your sales funnel.
Always define next steps
The best sales reps know that their role is just as much consultant, educator and trusted advisor as it is “selling.” With every communication, take the lead and clearly define a call-to-action or next step; don’t leave it up to the lead to follow up with you or decide what’s next.
During a phone conversation, have an objective in mind, whether that means setting up another phone call, scheduling a web demo, meeting additional decision-makers or discussing pricing. With email communications, always include a clear call-to-action. Simply outlining the steps in your sales process helps move your buyer forward toward an ultimate sale.
Make several follow-up calls
How many times does your inside sales team reach out before marking a lead as dead? If it’s only one or two, it’s time to increase that number. Catching busy medtech and B2B decision-makers can routinely take 4-6 (or more) attempts. Especially during COVID-19, reach rates and sales cycles are unpredictable. This doesn’t mean the lead won’t be worthwhile in the end.
Use CRM or call-tracking software to schedule follow-up calls automatically and keep lead nurturing attempts on track. Or, consider outsourcing this sales prospecting and lead nurturing work to a professional call center. Persistence does pay off.
Continue to nurture leads
When you do connect with a qualified lead, but they’re not ready to move forward, have a strategy to continue to nurture that potential business. Most companies stratify their leads in some way, such as A, B or C tiers or hot, warm and cool. The sales team actively works “A” or hot leads to close them within a short period of time. Marketing, inside sales or an outsourced call center then provide a steady, planned stream of communications to stay in contact with the “B,” “C” or warm and cool leads until the time is right.
Solid approaches for medtech and B2B usually include sending relevant content on a regular basis, using marketing automation tools and making periodic outbound calls to build the relationship.
Volkart May works at all stages of the sales funnel to help leading medtech and B2B brands build robust sales pipelines that generate sales and revenue. Contact us to discuss your inside sales and lead nurturing needs.