If your company is beginning to see the benefits of your inbound marketing efforts, if you’re starting to see more and more inbound leads coming to your website and downloading your content, it’s time to take the next step—engaging with your inbound leads.
Despite the fact that Marketing is usually responsible for the top of the funnel (ToFu), Sales can be involved throughout the Buyer’s Journey, throughout the entirety of the sales funnel. By adopting Inbound Sales, following the principle of Always Be Helping, and by establishing yourself as a trusted advisor, you can create a meaningful relationship with your leads from the very beginning, which can be carried through to the end.
In this article, we’ll discuss a number of Sales tips that can guarantee that they effectively engage with inbound leads—from both a team perspective and an individual perspective.
For the Sales Team
To begin from a high-level team perspective, the most important thing your Sales team can do is prepare for an influx of inbound leads. That means plan ahead. What systems will you put in place to ensure you engage with all your inbound leads (which are arguably your most valuable leads)?
Assign Leads Quickly
An important consideration to make is how quickly you will assign leads, which will in turn determine how quickly you will engage with leads. Though when working with a database of outbound leads reps tend to work from the oldest to the newest, it should be the opposite with inbound leads. Research from InsideSales and Professor Oldroyd from MIT shows that the odds of making contact with a lead decrease by over 10x within the first hour, as shown below:
Create a Process
Of course, your first call to a lead may not result in making contact—especially if you can’t reach out within the hour. But this doesn’t mean you should give up. Create an engagement workflow stipulating how many times you will try to reach out, by phone and/or email, before you stop trying (3-5x is usually pretty standard, depending on what engagement they had with your website). Additionally, create templates for your Sales reps to use on their calls, and have an accessible database of Marketing assets your reps can use during and after the call.
For the Individual Sales Rep
From an individual perspective, however, the most important thing to do is to provide a personal and valuable experience on the first call you make to an inbound lead. It’s important to remember that these leads may only be in the Awareness Stage of their Buyer’s Journey, simply looking for information—yet there’s no reason why Sales can’t provide them this information.
Research Your Lead
Before grabbing that phone and calling that new inbound lead, though, Sales reps need to make sure that they research their leads—this enables you to make your call personal. First, find out what brought them to your website. You can do this using marketing automation software, like HubSpot. What pages did they visit? How many? What did they download? Then, find out who they are. Research them on LinkedIn and Twitter. Find out where they work, what their role is, what their company does, and anything you can that can help you personalize your call as well as qualify your lead.
Start the Conversation
Only after your research is done is it time to start the conversation. As noted above, it’s smart to begin with Sales templates, filling in the personalized info you just found. Some reps like to start with an open-ended question to get the lead talking, such as, “What are you looking for help with?” Other like to offer a helpful tip relevant to the content they downloaded. There are pros and cons of both so choose what works best for your own selling style.
When engaging with leads, as noted, it’s important to stick to your defined process. Additional research from the InsideSales/MIT study shows the following:
- Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days for trying to make contact, Thursday being 49.7% better than Tuesday (the worst day).
- Calling between 4-6pm to make contact with a lead is 114% more effective than calling between 11am-12pm.
Context & Content
Lastly, provide context to your call, and consider providing content after the call as well. What was it that you found that brought this lead to your site? Was it an eBook? Sales reps should be responsible for know what’s inside your content so you can discuss it with your lead, possibly providing additional insights not included in the content. Plus, saying “I saw you just downloaded our eBook on ICD-10” will remind your lead that they found you.
Then, after the call, try and provide them with even more information, in the form of other Marketing content on the same or on a similar topic in a follow-up email. This will further establish yourself as a trusted advisor, more interested in helping them learn than making a sale.
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