When you embark on any sort of sales or marketing effort, the first result that you look for is to start seeing some responses from your prospects. It doesn’t matter what form your marketing campaign takes. It’s always exciting when the phone starts ringing, when customers come in your door, or when you start to see traffic hitting your website. But getting that response isn’t really all that’s needed, of course. Most of those prospects are not actually going to become buyers. At this point, your next task is to identify which of these potential leads are worth spending your time on.
In the world of brick-and-mortar retail stores, it’s known as window shopping. Some people are only there to look at the displays in the windows, with no intention of buying. Many will continue, and enter the store, and look more closely at what you’re selling, and maybe even engage a salesperson to get more information, but still don’t buy. If there’s a crowd in the store, salespeople need to quickly weed out the window shoppers.
It’s not so different if you’re doing online marketing. Your website may be getting a lot of hits, but like the window shoppers, many of them are people who are just looking for information. If you’re doing content marketing, this is to be expected. Lots of people will come to download your free eBook, or read an interesting blog post. But you need to be able to figure out who are really the best prospects to follow up with.
The process is known as qualifying your leads. Traditionally, a skilled salesperson needs to ask probing questions to prospects, to determine how serious they are about buying. Engaging the prospects in a dialogue is important at this point. So they’ll ask questions like, “How soon will you be ready to make a decision?”, or “What’s your budget?”. These questions help get a better idea of where that prospect really is in the buyer’s journey, and how hot the lead really is.
In the world of online marketing, you need to accomplish the same goal, but you don’t always have the luxury of having a conversation with everyone who lands on your website. Honestly, if you’re getting a lot of traffic, you wouldn’t have time to speak with them all in any event.
Fortunately, when you build your site using a tool like HubSpot, there are built-in tools which help you track exactly what prospects are doing on your site. A well-planned Smart Sales Website should include strategically placed “calls to action”, leading to a content offer or other information. Tracking which links a prospect follows, and what they do when they get there, will help to separate the hot leads from the window shoppers.