No, I’m not thinking of marching on Downing Street with a placard just yet. But marketers are always devising campaigns to bring in more leads for their sales teams to work on.
So, how do you increase the number of incoming leads? You could simply increase the number of people arriving on your website by writing lots more relevant blogs and emails.
You could just buy more traffic to the website by using paid advertising like Google AdWords.
But both methods are just pushing more sausage-meat into the top of your sausage machine. A better approach might be to improve the way that the sausage machine works, to oil and maintain it, to reduce the amount of down time and reject sausages it produces.
For sausages read leads (sorry – hungry).
So, we need to look after the current site visitors better and convert more of them into leads that the sales team can close.
But if we have done our persona work and we know who our ideal customer personas are and what keeps them up at night then we can do better.
Firstly, we can segment our database into those personas. Then we can use our understanding of their fears, mistakes, aspirations and goals to write copy that really resonates with them.
That will give us better levels of engagement and our visitors will feel that we really ‘get’ them.
2. Good Use of Lead Nurturing
Let’s apply some best practice to our lead nurturing.
We need to keep it interesting and recognise that a typical prospect receives ten touches from the top of the funnel through to being a customer. If all those touches are via email that won’t build a strong relationship with them. Nor will it be hugely engaging.
We know that most visitors aren’t yet ready to buy so we need to nurture them by drip feeding them some information. Maybe some useful, relevant blogs, maybe some case studies of other organisations like theirs that we have helped.
Let’s take the previous point and make sure that the messages are personalised.
Can we nurture them through channels other than just email? How might we contact them via social media, so that we are not just sending emails?
And let’s think about how we can make our communications really interesting. Can we design and deliver more engaging content like infographics or link through to relevant videos?
Can we gently introduce a friendly account manager who takes it upon themselves not to just sell to them but to help them, by nudging useful and relevant content their way?
A Marketing Automation platform can assign a numeric value against each piece of demographic information (e.g. Do you know their name, email, job title and company?) But more interestingly you can apply this to their behaviour on the website.
Did they download your eBook on buyer personas? Good, 10 points.
Did they sign up to the next seminar on Marketing Automation? Great, 15 points.
Did they download your whitepaper on Marketing Automation Implementation? Superb, 25 points.
And you can use the lead scoring to automatically prompt your sales team to contact the prospect when they reach over 25 points (for example).
4. Get Marketing & Sales Aligned
Maybe your sales team need a little bit of training so that they can adopt an inbound approach. They need to recognise that they are part of the team who needs to be ‘courting’ the customer.
That is done primarily by helping the customers, and showing them that you understand their world, their fears and aspirations. It can’t be about just closing leads – especially if you have a long sales cycle.
The earlier that the sales team can get involved (with the right leads) the more that they will be seen as a trusted adviser, and the more likely they are to win business.
The other commitment that you should get from your sales team is that when a lead is identified as being ready for a sales contact, there is a quick response.
Several studies have shown that the likelihood of converting a lead into a sales opportunity is substantially higher when the lead is contacted right after the website conversion.
You know that the prospect is highly interested in whatever they have just downloaded or requested from your website. Strike whilst the iron is hot!
5. Make Separate Content Offers
Most of the people coming to your website are not ready to buy from you or engage with sales just yet. Research tells us that typically three quarters of them are in research mode, and would not respond well to a call from our sales team.
But if we spend a bit of time thinking about what makes them sales-ready we can then set up content offers for early and late stages of our customers’ buyer’s journey.
An early stage content offer from us might be to download our beginners guide to buyer personas. If our visitors are downloading that then they are in the early stages of understanding Marketing Automation.
But if we set up a landing page with an offer of a demonstration of a particular Marketing Automation platform, then we can deduce that they are a lot further along their buyer’s journey.