Every customer relationship begins as a lead. And like a seed that becomes a tree, a lead must be nurtured under just the right conditions to grow. Marketing, the first phase in the lifecycle of the customer relationship, must keep a steady stream of leads coming in, and then build the relationship until those prospects are ready for sales.
Take Your Leads to the Next Level
1. Define “customer” and “lead”
Before starting any lead generation activities, it’s essential to know what you’re looking for. What’s the profile of your desired customer? Start by assessing your current customers to create a profile in terms of factors like revenue, industry, number of employees, location, and the titles of contacts. From there, you can answer the question, What makes a good lead for our organization?
2. Create a process
The goal of marketing: generate leads that ultimately lead to new customers. However, without an effective lead-management process, leads may not be nurtured and tracked effectively – making it tough to know if your marketing efforts are working or to hand off solid leads to sales.
Establish a clear process for handling and distributing your inquiries and leads, and then automate it using a contact management solution. Based on your definitions of your ideal customer and lead, score inquiries and leads, sort them into categories, and then apply specific processes for moving those relationships along.
3. Get a centralized database
So, how do you manage leads across your organization as theyevolve into sales-ready opportunities? A centralized database allows you to store every contact as it comes in, and ensure that everyone involved has a complete, up-to-the-minute record of every interaction with that lead. With an intelligent database, you can organize leads by type, level of readiness, etc., enabling you to tailor communications specifically for those groups.
Each group might receive a different message or offer targeted at their needs and what drives them. Accessible by marketing and sales, everyone in your organization knows exactly where a lead stands and next steps.
4. Build the relationship
Remember, you’re not selling to a company, but rather to a person. Leads turn into customers only when buyers feel they have developed an ongoing relationship with you and your representatives, separate from their decision to buy. Take that valued contact through a series of steps and interactions to build the trust necessary for prospects to choose to work with you. By providing relevant content for their specific needs, at the right time, you effectively engage in a dialogue with them – even before any actual sales conversations take place.
5. Collaborate internally!
Sales and marketing are two parts of one goal: acquiring new customers. Yet, too often one hand operates without knowing what the other hand is doing – ultimately affecting sales. The answer to a more harmonious, productive relationship? An understanding of what marketing tactics are working to bring in quality leads, and how well those leads work for sales. Develop an ROI on the process and continue refining for better and better results. Also make sure that marketing and sales both know the definition of the target customer and lead.
6. Nurture your leads
Successful lead generation goes far beyond simply acquiring leads. It’s about evolving those leads from inquiries to a salesready state. Again, accomplishing this depends on aligning marketing with sales.
An effective nurturing process seeks to truly understand the customer and their current needs, and delivers relevant dialogue around those needs. Make sure you understand the prospect’s challenges, goals, and when and how they want to receive communication from you. Respect those concerns and wishes and you go a long way toward building the relationship.
7. Close the loop
The only way to improve your marketing efforts is to know what’s working and what’s not. “Closed-loop” reporting refers to the process of measuring results against efforts to determine a return on your investment. According to Aberdeen Group, in its Creating a Customer-Centric Marketing Organization report, the group’s research found that “companies that adopt closed-loop marketing processes are more than three times as likely to report a greater than- 50% return on marketing investment (ROMI) than those that do not.” Pretty powerful statistics. The report goes on to say that companies accomplish this by using the right metrics, differentiating capabilities, and applying integrated and sophisticated technologies. By tracking every activity and result, these organizations can easily measure the effectiveness of their efforts.
8. Track and tweak
What works for one type of prospect may not work for another. Only by tracking every interaction with every lead can you know which series of events led to desired results and which were less effective.With that insight, you can tweak your marketing model, the specific processes that take place on the road from inquiry to sales-ready. For example, what combination of outreach and lead nurturing, through what avenues, produced the best results?
9. Market to existing customers
Once you acquire a customer, the marketing doesn’t stop there. Existing customers know you and trust you, giving you the opportunity to continue a relevant, and deeper, dialogue with them. If anything, it’s more important than ever to communicate with to them to ensure they get the most from your products and services.
Through ongoing communications, webinars, events, etc., continue educating them about your products and services. Help them understand how they can do business better not just with the products and services they currently use, but with other offerings.
10. Make reporting easy
As a couple of the steps reinforced, reporting is critical. But it’s also important to ensure that marketing and sales teams can do this easily. They should spend their time generating leads and closing business, rather than manually crunching numbers. To that end, give them centralized databases for complete tracking, enabling them to simply run regular reports on their own with all the information they need.
Amata Office Centers hopes these ten tips for converting your leads into sales helps your business grow. Contact Amata today to learn how you can break into the Chicago and/or Naperville marketing: 1(877)262-8204 or visit our website at www.amataoffices.com