Know When To Follow-up And Start The Sales Process

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Lead generation and online sales make up for a majority of influence in purchasing decisions from a B2B or B2C prospect. So what happens when you do get a lead? What does the process look like? What are the selling rules that work best for leads that come through a website versus leads acquired from traditional means? Are they different?

We're going to take a quick dive into what amounts to being a very new and recently talked about sales process in most business development at companies world wide. 

How to develop a lead from inbound marketing

First of all, what exactly is a lead from an online? Inbound marketing establishes a practiced methodology in structuring content for online leads. When we work with most clients in developing an inbound marketing strategy, we really start with sales process first. We ask questions like:

  • Who is your ideal client?

  • What kinds of things do they struggle with on a day to day basis?

  • When selling to a prospect, what objections do they have? What questions come up?

  • What sorts of things do they need to know to make a decisions?

  • Who are your competitors and how are they competing online for your prospects attention?

After we can identify content that can map to conversion points in your sales, we begin to build out our campaigns. We look for ways to build a community and build brand recognition proving how our client is an expert in their field. 

We then begin to analyze their content and conversion points with offers. These offers are ways for prospects to receive information they find valuable and can help them come up with solutions for problems that they have. Once they download an offer, be it a guide or a fact sheet or even a webinar promotion, we as marketers know that we have a visitor that has expressed an interest in the company - so basically, we have a lead.

When is it time to call a lead?

So, a visitor has visited your site, found an offer that they consider valuable and helpful, and have given you their name and email (at the least) on one of your forms to become a lead. Is it time to call? 

Not so fast. This depends on your strategy. The Lead Management Response Study tells us that a salesperson's chance of connecting with a lead are 100 times greater if they reach out within five minutes. That means when an inbound lead comes in, you should act. ASAP. Well, sort of.

You really need to analyze your marketing and sales funnel to know if your prospect is a "sales ready" lead or not. Essentially, most funnels will look like this: 

Each stage has an offer and each offer means your buyer is in a frame of mind of awareness, consideration, or decision making. The variant of a lead is: lead, marketing lead, sales ready lead, and opportunity. (Hubspot methodology)

So in reality, calling your lead once they downloaded a TOFU offer might be too hasty. Again, you need to structure your sales process around your marketing and sales funnel to understand how your buyers have interacted with your brand. 

Of course, interacting with your brand online is a much different animal than the traditional route. Yet, with lead intelligence and a good CRM, your chances of understanding how most buyers interact with your brand is going to help your ability to follow-up and close sales when the time is right. 

Following up with a lead at the BOFU level

This may sound like "marketing goobidy goo" but it's important to distinguish how marketing works with online leads. Now that we have an understanding of what kinds of content brings a buyer through the buyer's journey, we can say this:

If your buyer just downloaded a pricing guide in your bottom of the funnel offer - it's time to call!

Here are some suggestions on what to say:

If they converted on a piece of content:

  • Did it download okay?

  • How did you find it?

  • Was it your idea to download this, or did someone else ask you to?

  • Did you have any "a-ha" moments as you read this?

  • Why did you choose X on the form?


If they converted on a webinar:

  • Why did you sign up?

  • What are you hoping to learn?

  • Did you have an "a-ha" moment while listening to the speaker?

  • What was your #1 takeaway?

  • Did you receive the promised follow up?


If they registered for a conference or event:

  • Is this your first time attending?

  • What are you famous for?

  • What other similar events have you been to?

  • Why are you hoping to get out of the event?

  • Who are you looking to meet?

People have changed the way they buy today. Your sales should be changing the way they sell. Identifying the buyers journey including both offline and online touch points measures the knowledge your prospects are acquiring in the sales process. Be a smarter seller and you can find your close rates will increase.