Live chat functions allow site visitors to reach out to you directly without having to pick up a phone or write an email. New customers benefit from being able to ask questions whenever they want, and then you can reach out directly to answer questions and help close new sales. And in this case, a little touch—such as a “Chat Now!” button on a business website—can go a long way toward establishing relationships with new customers and leads.
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The inbound method attracts leads using online content. You create a website, or you write a blog, and you optimize it for online search through SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. This means the content has the appropriate keywords and answers the questions your target audience is asking. When your content is easily discoverable and begins to engage your readers, they become your leads. Depending on how you interact with them from then on, they can become your customers too.
How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.
Although lead generation no longer revolves around using the phone to identify qualified leads, that doesn’t mean the calling has stopped entirely. To engage and qualify prospective buyers, inside or outsourced teams will often still call prospects who have shown some level of interest. Sometimes they’ll call to highlight a value proposition or event as part of the lead nurturing and engagement process. In other cases, they’ll call simply to ask questions and determine interest as part of the lead qualification process.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
No matter what your business, your brochures should help bring in profitable business … yet most brochures fail miserably. You therefore need to know how to create professional brochures and fliers that sell for you by educating your prospects and customers about the benefits you offer and also addresses their questions and their needs for your product or service.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
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If you depend more on repeat business than initial sales, or if most of your sales and profits occur when customers repeat purchase from you again and again, you should be doing everything possible to motivate as many customers as you can to make their initial buying decision as quickly and easily as possible. Making it easy and irresistible for the customer to start doing business with you by adding extra incentives or by making your initial sale at breakeven or a small loss, means that you will benefit sooner rather than later from all the repeat business, the add-ons and the ancillary products and services that represent the bulk of your profits.
Monitor and influence the progress of leads through the sales funnel by presenting them with relevant content based on buyer persona and content mapping. Content can be sent via personalized drip email campaigns or by direct integration using personalized content, for example website messaging that is tailored for lead segments or buyer personas. Apply lead scoring rules as leads consume your lead nurturing content and move them to different lifecycle stages and segments using marketing automation workflows.
ToFu: Leads at the top of the funnel need awareness. They know nothing about what you offer and what domain you operate in, so you’ll need to create a conversation around both these focus points—without selling your product up front. If you sell CRMs, you attract ToFu leads by talking about how SDRs (sales development representatives) can do their job better using CRM software. Blogs, ebooks and guides are content types that work well at this stage.
However, this does not mean that you should sign up every blogger who looks to be even remotely interested in food to your weekly email about organic apples. That’s just silly (and it also violates the CAN-SPAM Act!). Instead, if you see someone mention on Twitter that they’re having a hard time locating organic apples in their area, consider tweeting back to ask if they’ve seen your online shop. Or drop them a short, polite email asking if you can help them.
Online surveys: Consumers are asked to complete a survey, including their demographic information and product and lifestyle interests. This information is used as a sales lead for advertisers, who purchase the consumer's information if provided. The consumer may 'opt-in' to receive correspondence from the advertiser and is therefore considered a qualified lead.