We left off in Part 1 discussing some pitfalls companies run into with needing more sales leads or needing more sales. And the philosophy at Concept is that successful businesses need to lead nurturing and have a full sales funnel in order to grow the bottom line.
You often hear everyone talk about top-of-funnel leads. Top-of-funnel refers to prospects becoming aware or interacting with your business in some way. Top-of-funnel prospects often are not familiar with your company, product, or service. However, you have limited time to make a first impression, create a higher level of interest, and perhaps move them further down in the funnel.
Outbound calling, paid search, email marketing, SEO, and form fills generate leads of all types and quality. You dictate the type and quality of leads you want. If someone meets your criteria but not ready to buy today, they are extremely worth staying in front of. If they meet your criteria, the chances are they buy and use a product and/or service like yours. You simply need to be in front of them when they are ready to buy. That is why qualifying leads is so important and moving them through the sales funnel. Utilizing a lead scoring model that reflects how many actions or which actions take sales leads from an information-qualified lead (IQL) to a marketing-qualified lead (MQL).
You have already spent the time, effort, and dollars to identify a prospect who buys your product or service. Wouldn’t you like to have an entire database of companies that use products and services like yours? If you did, that means every call you make, every email you send, and every video or blog you post, is being put in front of people who buy your product or service.
Lead nurturing takes marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) and converts them to sales-qualified leads (SQLs) – or moves them from the top-of-funnel to the middle-of and bottom-of-funnel. The time required to do this is different for each prospect. Effective lead nurturing increases our odds of being at the right place at the right time and is a critical component of a strong sales process and sales engine.
Nurturing leads are validated by proof and reporting, not by sales rep’s feedback. Too often, sales leaders determine the quality of their leads and their lead nurturing based on what their sales reps say. Follow-up steps and actions must be documented in CRM by the sales reps. The sales reps must be very detailed as to what steps they took following up the lead, phone conversations they had with the prospect, email exchanges, documents submitted, etc. This information will be used by back-end sales automation and nurturing processes to continue nurturing the lead until it is completely disqualified or elevated to a ready to buy status.
It is this type of sales process that increases the odds of being at the right place at the right time. It is this type of sales process that improves your sales pipeline. It is this type of sales process that decreases the highs and lows of sales. And lastly, it is this type of sales process that increases overall sales.
Lead nurturing will have a positive impact on overall sales. Successful lead generation combined with thriving lead nurturing will improve sales. However, these are not the only areas we need to address. There are other areas to address and questions we must ask. Other areas and questions to consider why your business needs more sales are below. These questions just scratch the surface – for now.
Many companies are hoping they can implement a lead generation program that can generate sales-qualified leads that quickly turn into closed-won deals. I think this is the route most companies go because it is the path of least resistance and the easiest path to take. Addressing other areas of the sales process and sales engine to increase sales requires confrontation, effort, skillset, and change. We often hope, want, and fool ourselves that there is an easier way. We hope that easier way is simply sending more leads to our sales group.
The next time we say, “we need more leads”, stop for a moment and say, “we need more sales.” Saying “we need more sales” results in a different course of action than saying “we need more leads.” The statement you make will dictate the direction you go. The statement you make will dictate whether sales increases or not. Regardless of what statement you make, lead generation and lead follow-up must be part of it. However, what comes next will be the difference.
As a quick health check, provide the following brief survey to your Executive Leadership, Marketing, Sales Development, Sales Leadership, and Sales Reps to gauge lead follow-up alignment:
“I need more leads.” “We just need more leads.” “If you can simply put my sales reps in front of qualified prospects, they will close them.” “We just need to be in front of more companies.”
No…you need more sales.