Sales leads are essential for a lead to develop interest in your product. A lead is a prospective customer who has the potential to buy from you, but has not yet conveyed an active interest to do so. Such leads are termed unqualified contacts and would include the guys you meet in a trade show and those who sign up in your website form.
Lead generation is the first stage of sales process and many sales organizations place a lot of emphasis on this. However, without nurturing those leads that are not yet ready for your product, you lose out a lot of potential customers without closing the loop. In this post, I will cover the best practices in lead nurturing.
Businesses gain access to sales leads through advertising & direct mailings.
Categorizing the Leads
Before nurturing, it is important to group the leads into different buckets, so as to develop the appropriate sales strategy. There are 3 main types of leads:
- Cold leads – these are people you have randomly picked up from the phone book. The sales conversion in this category is the lowest.
- Warm leads – these are guys who have signed up for your newsletter, or attended your seminars and trade shows. There is a slightly higher chance of conversion here.
- Hot leads – these are guys who are in the market and have conveyed an intent to purchase, in a category you sell. Conversion is the highest in this category.
5 ways to nurture your sales leads
- Invest in a good CRM system to actively categorize and group the leads you generate from various sources. Without an effective tool, you run the risk of missing good leads through the communication cracks.
- Focus your main energy on the hot leads and warm leads first. Track their needs and pitch your advantages actively. Cold leads should be the last resort as they are more numerous and their needs are more fuzzy.
- Respond immediately to enquiries. When you get a sales inquiry through email or website, the first couple of hours are critical after the message is written and if you can respond within that period with a relevant product offer, the conversion chances are high. If you let the lead turn stale, the person might either lose interest in the purchase or might go with a competitor.
- Stay connected. If the lead is not currently interested in your product, ask their permission to keep them in the loop. Send newsletter and periodic updates to keep your brand in their mind.
- Use analytics to understand the conversion ratios (leads/sales) from various sources and use that to fine tune your lead generation strategy.
Following these steps would enhance the sales lead process!