Sellers must engage in speedy, personalized, knowledgeable conversation with potential customers to convert leads into sales.
Leads are only valuable if they convert into customers. So, generating quality leads is only half the battle. You need a sales team that knows how to resuscitate a lead, nurture it, and, ultimately, turn it into a customer.
Demand Gen’s 2016 B2B Buyer’s Survey Report confirms that today’s business buyers are expecting more from vendors than knowledge of their own product. Buyers expect the seller to personalize the buying process. The top four reasons the respondents reported choosing a particular vendor include:
- Timeliness of a vendor’s response to inquiries (98%)
- Strong knowledge of the solution area and business landscape (97%)
- Strong knowledge of the buyer’s company and its needs (94%)
- Content that showed ROI or built a business case for the purchase (90%)
Sales reps must provide a very hands-on, customized buying experience to convert leads into customers. (Hence the “nurturing” part of the phrase lead nurturing.) Here are a few tips to support your lead nurturing process.
Offer quality follow up.
Do you see leads as opportunities? You should. In fact, you should see them as an opportunity to be seized. Seize it quickly with effort more substantial than a single phone call resulting in a salesy voicemail. Follow up must be the start of a real conversation with the lead, building their trust and providing an opportunity for their needs to be heard and acknowledged.
Listen first, then offer solutions.
Avoid pitching as a start to a conversation with a lead. Instead, listen to their pain points and concerns. Identify what their challenges are, and then present specific solutions. Show them explicitly how your products or services could answer each particular need. Let them know they have been heard by recounting specific details from your conversation.
The faster you contact the lead, the better your chances of conversion. A study by Franklin Covey found that contact ratios improve 900% if web leads are called back quickly. Another found that 50% of sales went to the vendor that responded first. And remember that 98% of respondents to the Demand Gen survey reported choosing a vendor because of timely responses to inquiries. Don’t underestimate the value of a quick response time.
Choose the best time to follow up.
Data from 100,000 calls over 3 years analyzed by InsideSales.com indicates that Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days of the week to qualify leads. Calls made between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. were most successful, followed by 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Of course, you should get to know your potential customers and their individual schedules.
Be knowledgeable about the product.
Nothing kills a lead faster than a salesperson who does not know what their business has to offer. That call is about selling your value to a customer, not just a product or service.
Cultivating a lead is the first step in generating greater sales revenue. It is vital that you don’t let leads die, but nurture them quickly with personalized conversation, identifying their challenges and providing viable solutions.
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