Lead generation is important, but ultimately the number of leads you have isn’t directly contributing to the bottom line. In order to generate a return on investment, the leads must turn into paying customers or clients. Once a lead is generated, the next step is to move the lead through the sales funnel towards conversion by following these important next steps:
In an ideal world, every single lead received would be sales-ready and a perfect match for the products/services offered. Well, it isn’t an ideal world. Not every lead that is generated is going to be a good fit or be ready to buy in the short-term. This is where lead qualification comes in. During an initial phone conversation, a representative can ask the right questions in order to score the lead and determine what (if any) next steps should be taken.
Determine who the decision maker is
There are certainly benefits to having initial conversations with anyone at the company, but in order to keep the process moving, further discussions should be with those whose opinions carry the most weight and are able to make purchase decisions.
Focus on benefits
As they say, features tell and benefits sell. During the outreach process, it’s necessary to outline how the prospective customer/client will benefit from the product/solution offered and how it will help them. Lead qualification conversations can determine what their unique pain points are and the sales conversation should be crafted towards speaking directly to those specific needs.
Define next steps
Never leave things up in the air after a prospect phone call. At the end of the conversation, it’s necessary to clearly define what the next steps should be so that all parties are on the same page. The next step could be another phone meeting, a web demo, an in-person meeting, etc. Leading up to the next meeting, be sure to send reminder emails.
One of the biggest mistakes that sales professionals make is giving up on leads too quickly. It’s important to conduct multiple follow up attempts using both phone and email.
Develop a lead nurturing strategy
Sometimes a lead is a great fit, but the timing just isn’t right for them to make a purchase. This is where a lead nurturing strategy comes into place. To keep your company top of mind for when the timing is right, various tactics can be used such as sending them relevant content via email newsletters and having the sales team reach out periodically to maintain the relationship.
Once a lead is generated it’s the job of the sales team to qualify the leads and ensure that those that are a good fit continue through the sales funnel towards conversion.