Inbound marketing solves many problems that are faced by the modern business. It helps us decide what kind of customers we want to target (the buyer personas), what sort of topics they’re interested in, how we bring them to our website, and how to convince them to become leads once they’re on the site. But what happens then? Once they’ve become a lead, how do we convert them into a sale?
This is a problem that’s as old as marketing itself, which is also why sales and marketing are forever intertwined. Once a lead has been established, it is now up to sales to turn that lead into a purchase. Sales must remain in contact with the lead and keep trying to convert them, a process that is known as lead nurturing. This is usually a cross-platform effort, which can involve emails, social media outreach and phone calls.
Leading up to the sales call
A phone call must be considered one of the most powerful weapons you have at your disposal, and therefore should be saved until later in the lead nurturing process. Most people lead busy lives, involving their own job responsibilities, families and other activities. Therefore, you’ll likely only get one opportunity for a significant sales call. Additionally, you probably don’t have an enormous sales staff – you don’t want a salesperson tied up with phone calls all day when they have (hopefully) many leads to interact with.
So what can be done before that sales call? Plenty of online groundwork.
The importance of lead nurturing emails
Since this is inbound marketing we’re talking about, the internet will always play a vital role in the sales process. You should be sending emails to your leads at various intervals, such as every week after they first made contact with your website. Not only does this keep your company fresh in their mind, it’s also an easy way to possibly convert a lead into a sale, saving you from having to make the sales call.
However, this is also an excellent opportunity to provide the lead with additional content. You should attach blog articles or even a content offer to your lead nurturing emails, so that you continue to demonstrate value to the lead. This may not result in them making a purchase based off of email alone, but it will give you great material to discuss once you finally get them on the phone.
So when should I finally make the call?
There’s no wrong time to attempt a sales call – some people believe you should start with a call first, while others advocate using email to reach out before ultimately calling. In order to maximize your sales team’s productivity, we recommend waiting until you’ve sent a few emails to the lead first. If you’re following the timeline of a week between emails, you should consider calling 1-2 weeks after a lead has first interacted with your site. The lead should be receiving an automatic email when they first fill out a form on your site, and waiting a week will allow time for them receive the first follow-up email from your business. These two emails will give you something to reference when talking to the lead, and by waiting no longer than two weeks to reach out, you ensure the lead hasn’t forgotten about your business.
Of course, these are just general guidelines to follow. Every lead has the potential to be different. If you find a lead is interacting heavily with your emails or website, they may be ready for a sales call right away. The most important thing to keep in mind is to “strike when the iron is hot” – don’t allow enough time to pass that your lead forgets why they were interested in your company to begin with. Keep them engaged through emails and make your move when they’re interest has hit its zenith.