Your marketing team has passed a qualified lead over to your sales team. That’s great! Marketing has done everything it was supposed to do… but now what?
No matter how a lead initially came in — visiting your website after hearing your radio ad, clicking on your online ad, converting from a landing page or social media, or walking into your store — once a lead is deemed qualified, it’s important that your sales team knows what to do.
Not every first one-on-one encounter with a lead will be the same. However, when it comes to B2B or big-ticket B2C purchases, it’s safe to say that leads will need to be nurtured before you can close a deal. It takes time and can get frustrating fast with the wrong approach.
There are a few common scenarios that can play out when a lead isn’t ready to buy. Review the following with your sales team so they can be well prepared to close the leads that come in from your marketing.
4 Scenarios Your Sales Team Should be Prepared to Handle When Following Up with Marketing Leads
1. They Don’t Pick Up Your First Call.
You took the time to review how your lead came in and what content they specifically interacted with. You do a little more homework, learning what you can about the lead, including their position and the company they work for. Armed with all the information you need to make the right impression, you call the lead. Unfortunately, they don’t answer.
What should you do? You did the work necessary to have a meaningful and engaging conversation, so be sure to leave a thoughtful voicemail. Remember that you should always be presenting value before trying to make any kind of pitch. However, you shouldn’t make the mistake of assuming that no answer means that they’re not actually interested; there are many reasons why the call may have been missed. Don’t leave it up to them to get back to you either. Follow up with email at the very least. And, if it makes sense, reach out to connect via LinkedIn.
Tip: Balance being persistent with being patient, and be sure that you’re not annoying them. Wait a couple of days between calls, but no longer than that.
2. They Don’t Reply to Your Email or Call.
You’ve already put in some effort — you’ve sent an email and/or called, but there’s no answer or reply. What now?
First, be willing to try a different route. If you’ve only called, send an email. If you’ve done both, try connecting on LinkedIn. Second, when you reach out, always ensure you’re adding value, like sharing resources such as case studies, guides, and other content based on your understanding of their (or their company’s) needs. However, this needs to be done with focus and intent, and you should stay focused on just one CTA per communication (e.g., one CTA per email). Finally, be specific and clear about when you’ll stop reaching out to them. If they’re interested, this could spur a sense of urgency and the fear of missing out.
Tip: Never assume the answer is “no,” or that the lead won’t be more proactively interested at some point in the future. The reason you’ll move on is because you need to nurture more leads that are ready to communicate right now.
3. They’re interested, but They Aren’t Ready to Buy.
You’ve been able to connect with the lead at least once and you’ve had a productive conversation. They’ve expressed their interest, but they’re not ready, or in a position, to buy right now.
How should you proceed? Use what you’ve learned about the lead and what they’ve shared with you about their needs and goals to develop a meaningful plan to stay in touch. You don’t need to connect with them as often as a lead that’s moving more readily down their path to purchase. You do need to check in periodically, but don’t put the emphasis solely on whether or not they’re ready to purchase. Continue to prove the value of your connection by sharing relevant content, and ask questions that spur consideration about the areas you can help to address. Develop other ways for your company to stay in touch, such as a newsletter or subscription.
Tip: Stay on their radar, and position yourself so that when an opportunity arises later, you’re top-of-mind as the solution.
4. They’re Not Interested.
You’ve finally connected with the lead and done your best to present the value you can provide them. Unfortunately, they’re just not interested, and don’t want to be bothered.
What are you supposed to do? The temptation may be to push, but you need to consider this carefully. If it doesn’t really make sense, then trying to continue the conversation will only hurt your brand perception and push the prospect further away. The other temptation may be to just completely drop them, but that may not be the best move either. Some prospects that give a firm no also leave the door open to potential conversations in the future. When this is the case, you need to give them time.
Tip: When following up with marketing leads that have said they’re not interested, respect is critical. You need to know when it’s time to back off, as well as when it’s time to try and keep the door open.
When you partner with a professional like Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group, your marketing efforts are going to generate leads, and we want you to be equipped to turn them into customers. Follow our tips above to open communication when their immediate response is less than a straightforward “yes,” and in turn, maximize the ROI of your advertising campaigns.