We briefly discussed lead nurturing in a previous article, Nurturing Your Prospects. What are other ways your sales team can produce revenue? In this article we focus on 3 ingredients that, when coordinated with each other, produce sales.
- Timely Follow-Ups. For some reason, in this age of electronic communications, the practice of following up with prospects has all but disappeared. In reality, the odds of a lead entering the sales process and becoming a qualified prospect, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes, versus 30 minutes, after a lead completes a form on your website (This process is known as a “conversion”). A quick response signals attentiveness and interest. A prospect has choices. If your sales team fails to respond in a timely manner, the prospect often moves on to someone or some company that does respond quickly. It’s the perfect exemplification of the old adage: “You snooze, you lose.”
The benefits of immediate follow-up calls seem quite evident, but most organizations still aren’t acting very quickly. According to InsideSales.com, about 50% of companies respond to a conversion in 3 hours or more. Keep in mind that most buyers choose to work with the company that contacts them first. In an article in Harvard Business Review, the surprisingly slow response times of 2,240 U.S. based companies was as follows:
- The average first response time of B2B companies to their leads was 42 hours.
- Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour.
- 24% of companies took more than 24 hours.
- 23% of the companies never responded at all.
In the article we mentioned above, Nurturing Your Leads, we talk about how automated lead nurturing can help you reach large groups of prospects. But even with an automated system, a timely follow-up email or a phone call is still quite often the best way to convert leads into qualified sales opportunities. The odds of converting a lead into a sales opportunity are exponentially higher when the lead is contacted immediately following a website conversion.
When you make a timely, well researched call to a lead who has converted from your website, it’s more than likely going to be far more effective than any cold calling technique you may use. The reason? You will know more about the prospect, what information he/she has been researching, and you know there is interest in your company. Armed with that information, a call from sales can be very effective.
- The second ingredient in producing sales is a personalized email. A personal email – one that is sent from one person to another – generates up to 6 times higher revenue per email than non-personalized emails do.Email marketing continues to be the most effective tactic for lead nurturing. And research consistently shows that personalized emails tend to produce significantly better results than generic email blasts. In fact, a study by Experian® (the credit report company) indicates that personalized emails can generate up to six times higher revenue per email than non-personalized campaigns do.There are many ways you can personalize your electronically generated emails to improve your lead nurturing strategy. You can send emails that are triggered when a lead is added to a database or when the lead downloads a specific piece of content. You can even trigger an email when someone clicks on a link in your email newsletter. With this marketing power and the ability to send a personalized email, you end up delivering the right message to the right prospect at the right time!
- Sales and Marketing Alignment. Opportunities increase when your sales and marketing teams are communicating with each other. In fact, 89% of companies with this cooperation between departments, report measurable increases in the number of sales opportunities that are generated.In order for both sales and marketing to contribute to lead nurturing, you must identify different stages in the sales process and what information the lead will need at each stage. Think about certain events that might be the triggers for information – when something is downloaded from the site, when a page is visited, when a lead subscribes to a newsletter, registers for an event, etc. The more coordinated the effort, the better the result.
Following the steps we’ve provided in this article, your sales team can produce more revenue. The next step is Managing Your Sales Pipeline. For help in getting started or for more information, contact us at 240-242-3349.