A great lead can result in a sale and improve your bottom line, but a bad lead is typically just a waste of time. Luckily, there are things you can do to help ensure your leads are worth your time. Here is a simple five-step plan that will help you turn more of your leads into sales.
1. Decide Who Qualifies as a Lead
Not everyone who visits your website, enters your store, or asks for a quote is a true lead. Many people are simply looking for free information from your website, window shopping, or calling around to compare prices. The trick is to identify the people who are true leads, so you can focus on converting them to buyers. To do that, draw an imaginary line, and when prospects cross it, identify them as true leads. For example, people who visit your site and download a free e-book probably won’t all qualify as good leads, but if they also sign up for your newsletter, email you with a product question, or initiate a live chat with your customer service department, they are likely worth pursuing. Likewise, you can’t assume everyone who calls for a phone quote is a good lead, but if they make an appointment or ask for a callback from sales rep, they might be. In short, the more interaction potential leads have with your company, the better the odds that it will lead to a sale.
2. Market to the Right People
Now that you’ve identified what qualifies as a lead, it’s time to determine which type of consumer you should target in your marketing efforts. Identify the traits of your best customers, and target your marketing efforts to people who share the same characteristics. For instance, if you own a house painting business that only uses nontoxic paint. You know from the data you have on your existing customers that most of them are highly concerned about environmental toxins. To bring in more leads who have a good chance of turning into sales, you should target the same type of consumer when marketing your business.
3. Market in Places Your Ideal Leads Congregate
Your next job is to find out where your ideal leads hang out and direct your marketing efforts there. In the nontoxic painting company example, you would do well to advertise where environmentally conscious people congregate — online and in the real world. You could advertise in e-newsletters and/or websites of other companies or organizations that cater to people who “shop green,” make your business known to like-minded community networks and organizations, or partner with an environmentally conscious noncompeting businesses and swap referrals.
4. Develop a System to Score Your Leads
Even after all this effort, you’re still likely to go after leads that may end up wasting your time. To help avoid this, you can develop a scoring system that will categorize your leads and help you decide which ones to pursue. The most popular way to do this is to assign each lead a “cold,” “warm,” or “hot” score, then pursue the hot and warm ones first. (The cold leads go on the back burner.) Leads who share the same traits as your best customers and show interest by interacting with your company would be assigned a “hot” tag and you should pursue them. Leads who share your best customers’ characteristics, but haven’t interacted with your company beyond searching for information on your website, should probably get a “warm” score. You’ll want to pursue them, but not as aggressively as hot leads. If you get your leads online, consider using a web marketing automation system such as Infusionsoft or InTouch, which can show you exactly how consumers are interacting with your website and provide lead-scoring functions and automated follow-up for hot and warm leads.
5. Analyze your Efforts and Make Necessary Adjustments
Once you set this plan into motion, you will quickly identify which aspects of it work for you and which don’t. For instance, you may have identified a pattern in your new leads that is contrary to your initial picture of the ideal lead. If that happens, you simply need to tweak your program in light of the new information. By consistently evaluating each area of the plan, over time you will create a system that can bring you more leads that convert to sales.