Lead generation is, obviously, vital to every sales team. No new leads means no new sales and some companies pay through the roof for new ones when their stock runs dry. There are many strategies to generate new leads, though, including digital products such as webinars, white papers, and eBooks, as well as more concrete interactions like event sponsorship.
Some 80% of leads are never contacted, and 42% of sales reps feel uninformed about the lead they’re attempting to sell to. 50% are maybe qualified but are not yet ready to buy. These statistics all tell us that companies simply don’t know enough about their leads and are therefore missing out on sales. A little bit of knowledge is powerful, but in depth knowledge of a lead’s company and industry can prove to be invaluable.
Most initially hot leads go cold. It’s a fact of business, but it’s one that can eat away at productivity (and therefore revenue) if it isn’t tackled head on. Before you start chipping away at your reserve of leads, consider these tips to turn cold leads into hot ones and maximize sales.
Know when to engage with a lead
One of the key deciding factors in a sale is when the lead is engaged. 90% of buyers want to decide when to engage a company, which makes cold calling or even following up on a warm lead tricky techniques to get right. The key can be in the tone. Have your sales people initially ask if the time is convenient and, if it isn’t, have them arrange a time when it is. If you have a particularly engaging email campaign ready to launch, include the option of the lead arranging a meeting - you might just be surprised how many do.
Identify tools that can help
Opt in techniques are incredibly effective. Offering free content in exchange for an email address is a great way of generating warm leads, but anyone in managerial position will be all too familiar with the experience of opening their emails and being inundated with sales pitches from innumerable smaller companies claiming they have a product that can turn their businesses around. Essentially, anyone engaging with leads needs to connect with them and cut through the noise of the millions of sales and marketing pitches they experience on a daily basis.
One tool that can help is video. Prospects are far more likely to watch a video included in an email or on a landing page than they are to read a lengthy product review. Hosting webinars and sharing the video afterwards can be a great way of highlighting an industry problem, building brand awareness, and demonstrating how your company can provide the solution. If the problem resonates with your audience, your association with the solution can be worth a hundred carefully worded emails.
Perhaps one of the most effective lead generation techniques is event sponsorship. In an increasingly digitised world, the impact of a face-to-face meeting or a physical presence at an event shouldn’t be underestimated. Leads acquired at events have seen the product first-hand, spoken to a sales rep or a member of the company in person, and potentially had a product demonstration. This level of engagement cannot be had online or over the phone.
Event sponsorship needs to be done right, though. Although you automatically are drawn to the senior level executives at the very top of the lead list, you need to refocus and prioritise the list so it’s in line with the target customer you need at that time. Of course everyone dreams of the Fortune 500 (maybe they are your target customer), but first you should evaluate who attended your booth, presentation, face-to-face, dinner, lunch etc. The ones that wanted to be there already know who you are and are already interested in your solution and brand. Though it may seem counterintuitive to chase already interested leads, a face-to-face interaction can often be the difference in a sale being secured or falling through.
One closing nugget of info for future success is that just because leads grow cold for whatever reason, doesn’t mean they should be discounted and discarded. In most cases some get recycled but the majority don’t. Ensure your business is maximising the potential of your leads by developing a nurture process. Knowing when to engage, using the right tools, and grabbing face-to-face time with leads can all help to ensure that leads, however initially warm, stay that way.