“we have them-now what?”
I have worked for a number of organizations that don’t have trouble getting contacts, they have problems with qualification and further lead nurturing activities. The common problem is this-you get a bunch of names and contact information at say, a trade show. Then you get home and they are “downloaded”-whether into a spreadsheet, or if you’re lucky enough a CRM like Salesforce, but they either aren’t qualified, or they are not nurtured-and poof! Your names get stale like last year’s potato chips. Who? When? What? That’s wasted opportunity. And worth a hell of a lot of money. And frankly, a big reason why marketing and sales are the first to be taken to task when it comes to ROI, the bottom line and budget cuts.
But, barring begging as an option, what can you do to keep your business or product relevant to the buyer?
Begin with qualifying your leads when you get them-“think fresh” (like Subway but with less vegetables). I think it was IBM who pioneered the initial approach to sales qualification known as BANT, (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline) if my recall is correct. All marketers and sales people need to consider and obtain this info when they speak to someone on the trade show floor, on the phone or as they’re creating the drill down questions in their online forms. So figure out who you’re talking to-it will save you time and unnecessary stress when creating the messages that will resonate. After that, I think the next logical step is always to test-test your offers, test your touches, test your messages. Stop being a big baby and saying it’s too much work-there will be payoff. And regardless of what anyone tells you, there’s no one answer always for getting new customers. Unless you’ve tested options, you will not magically know what will resonate. Even when things are free sometimes people don’t take them. Not everything works for everyone.
I recently had a friend of mine come to me for some advice for his massage business-“this web marketing guy tells me that he can have so many clients to me I wouldn’t know what to do with it if he could just redo my website”. I bet. Nobody can tell how a market will behave (even with a great deal of experience) always. Just “redoing” your website randomly will not have some windfall of new customers. Consumers are darn fickle these days. And with the speed of information available at their fingertips, what works one month may not be the same in the next six. After testing I’d say have a well thought out plan as to what happens next-does sales always follow up? Do you reclassify your lead? Have a process and stick to it-knowing what comes next will leave you less room for dropping that lead-nothing is seriously worse that having a bunch of engagement up front and then hearing crickets. See how the lead is engaging, and give them what they want in terms of content-create a dialogue!
I think the most important take away would be to create a comprehensive strategy-in my mind this would include an initial welcome->content/info/understanding/engagement->introduce your product/service and benefit->keep an eye on their engagement, if the lead gets cold, add something that will peak their interest and re-engage. It is the rare person that comes and buys immediately, that just doesn’t happen. Customers will buy at their own pace-your job is to keep your brand top of mind when they’re ready to make that decision.