A common theme among some clients we’ve had is that they just aren’t interested in lead generation. Now to marketers, this may sound a little ridiculous, but these B2B businesses are serious: They just don’t really know what to do with those first leads once they have them, and they don’t want to waste time finding out when they aren’t sure those leads will create B2B sales.
Of course, letting leads die an early death is a mistake that can cost a lot of business growth (and profit), and it’s important that smaller companies convert leads! So let’s take some time and go over the top ways that brands can use their leads, especially if they aren’t sure what they should be doing once lead generation starts working.
Track Those Leads and Set Your Goals
Many times, when a business isn’t really interested in more leads, it’s because they haven’t set clear growth goals for their digital marketing strategy. This is a big mistake, but one that’s easy to fix. The first step should always be to quantify leads and decide what to do with them. How many leads is a generation strategy expected to bring in (or how many new leads exist for an ongoing strategy)? Be specific, and get some numbers down! Next, find a strong conversion goal for those leads: How many of them do you want to turn into sales? What’s a reasonable number based on your business and industry?
With these goals in hand, you’re ready to put your leads to work in all sorts of ways. Let’s go over some of them!
Qualify and Label Your Leads
Lead management is a key part of turning leads into sales, and if you don’t know what to do with your leads, you probably need to work more on lead management. Businesses need a reliable system to qualify leads, or rank them according to how promising they are, and how important it is to make further contact. Leads should also be labeled, even if they are low-ranked, so that the business can tell at a glance where leads are coming from, and how lead sources change over time.
Act Quickly – Very Quickly
Jump on those leads! If you get any sort of contact information from a lead, then your sales team needs to take immediate action. The average response time for B2B companies to get back to a lead is around 42 hours. The best response time to develop leads is just a few minutes. That’s a lot of room for improvement! Even small companies can shoot back an email asking for more information or offering addition product info within a few minutes. A phone call is even better, but it’s often efficient to save that for only the highest quality leads. This is also an area where you can look into automated responses…and more advanced response AI options!
Create Obvious Visuals and Steps for What the Lead Should Do Next
It’s always great when you can get the leads to do as much of your work for you as possible. One way to do this is to provide very clear instructions and big, obvious visuals on your site to point leads in the right direction – toward your products, or the purchasing process, or sign-up forms, or whatever else you want leads to complete. This can help turn very early leads like web traffic to your site into more productive leads overall.
Give Social Proof for Leads to Look at On Their Own
Social proof is an increasingly important part of the lead management experience. Leads are doing a lot of their own research, often even before making contact. You can help “guide” that research by providing plenty of social proof, or evidence that other buyers that made successful purchases and really approve of your brand. This includes reviews, ratings, testimonials, and case studies. Make sure these are easy to find on both your website and the social media that you use.
Always Offer More Information and Value
When in doubt, give your leads more information! A great example of this process is a link to a whitepaper that your business wrote. A whitepaper is great for providing in-depth information, demonstrating authority, and keeping leads interested in your brand instead of off investigating competitors. Whitepaper links can also be combined with sign-up forms and other CTAs to gather even more information and further the lead. Of course, you can use many types of content here as long as it is highly information.
Watch for Any Cracks in Your Sales Funnel
With your leads labeled, watch your analytics as leads go through the sales funnel, from first encountering your brand to completing a purchase. Watch for any cracks, or areas where the number of leads make an unexpected drop. If you’re suddenly losing leads at a particular point (or before a key step) this is a sign that you need to take a look and see if you can change design, instructions, or lead management to better seal your sales funnel.
Don’t Forget About Competitor Analysis
Take a look at your competitors, and the sales funnels they use! Know what leads will experience when they try to compare your business to a competitor. This will give you a lot of useful information about what to offer leads and how to give them a better experience.
Even if the Leads Go Nowhere, Use Them to Create Buyer Personas
Leads don’t always work out. But study where they come from, when they come, and what those leads are asking for. Use this information to create useful customer personas that can help you build all sorts of powerful marketing content in the future!
Remember, leads are a sign of success, and lead generation is important…as long as you act on it! Have a fully thought out sales funnel, and remember all the different ways you can use leads to achieve success!