Originally published May 11th, 2012
There is no denying that the increase in social media tools and web technology has expanded a company’s reach and ability to connect with customers and prospects. This has increased the number of leads that sales organizations have to follow-up on. And what’s the number one thing salespeople can’t get enough of? Leads. Sounds great, right? However, if you don’t capitalize on the effort that you are putting into inbound marketing you’ll be left with lists that are long, unqualified, and disorganized. And what’s the number one thing salespeople hate? Crappy leads.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure you maximize your inbound marketing spend and a have a better lead qualification process:
Know your Audience
Before you start blogging, tweeting, creating web content, etc. you need to know who you want your message resonating with. Having a clear understanding of your target market will help you deliver more precise information, resulting in fewer leads that “qualify out.” This saves you some time on the lead qualification and nurturing end of things and allows you to focus more resources on those prospects most likely to buy your product or service. A good way to do this is to take a look at a few metrics like existing customer base, revenue, geography, industry, etc. and find out what websites and blogs those prospects follow.
It’s fantastic when you have people coming to you and requesting to learn more about your product or service, yet if a lead comes in and nobody follows-up in a timely manner the prospect will be turned off, or worse, they might be busy talking to a competitor. Inbound leads should be touched within 24 hours in order to ensure that a prospect’s needs are met at the appropriate time.
Have an Action Plan in Place
You have all of these inbound leads — great! Now what? Who follows up on them? How many times do you contact them? What do you send them after their initial visit to your website? Having your team place an initial introduction call will help to determine how qualified the lead is and will give you the ability to assign the correct designation to each lead. You can then nurture the warm leads appropriately, qualify out the uninterested prospects, and move the hot leads over to a direct sales rep quickly. CRM solutions and marketing automation software are great lead qualification tools that will certainly help automate these processes.
The steps you should take to maximize the effectiveness of inbound marketing are quite simple, yet can make all the difference between exceeding your sales goals and falling short. By ensuring you have the knowledge and resources to follow-up on a marketing campaign, you increase your chances of finding qualified leads, and strengthen your pipeline in the process.