There is a lot of effort put into top of the funnel sales. Creating content, updating social media, sending newsletters and more are primarily geared toward attracting new visitors to your brand. The best companies have refined that process and can smoothly create marketing collateral that pulls new customers in.
But what do you do after they’ve converted? Or more importantly, what do you define as a conversion? Today’s prospective B2B customer has a lot of touch points with you before they decide to pick up the phone. Here are our best practices for lead generation and follow up.
Determine the Lead Type
Everything from a social media follow to a newsletter subscription to an eBook download can count as a “conversion.” But for a business it all boils down to two primary lead types: passive and active. With so many channels for a prospect to show interest in your brand, putting the same weight on every channel isn’t an effective use of your resources.
Instead, map out the various channels a prospect can convert, online or offline. Your list may look something like this:
Once your list is compiled, look back into your sales and marketing data to determine where the most valuable leads are coming from. Not collecting data? Even conducting cross-department collaboration meetings to gather anecdotal knowledge can help. For example, the sales team may tell you any conversions from the tip sheet are uneducated or “passive” leads. This is good to know, as it’ll help focus your resources on a more valuable lead generator.
Once your data collection is done, your list may look like this:
Don’t be discouraged if you find only one or two content marketing tactics driving the active conversions. That doesn’t mean all the passive lead tactics should be abandoned. In fact, you’ll most likely find that prospects started out on one of the passive tactics and worked through the funnel.
Building Your Follow Up
The next step is the importance of follow up. Beware of treating active and passive conversions the same. Either being too aggressive or too complacent with follow up can result in a prospect abandoning your funnel.
It’s important to take the list you’ve made and tailor the follow up for each. Here are some best practices:
Always drive them back to your website
Think a “Thank You” page on your website is enough? You thought wrong. Today, keeping a prospect engaged after that initial conversion helps accelerate them down your sales funnel. Take the extra time up front to drive individuals back to more content on your website so your lead nurturing time is cut down.
Establish trust with passive leads
Passive leads are not ready for a phone call or barrage of emails asking to schedule an initial consultation. Instead, offer a softer follow up, like an autoresponder with links to related blog posts or encouragement to sign up for a regular newsletter. Most importantly, make sure it’s something that is reoccurring so you remain top of mind next week, next month and next year.
Save urgency for highly active leads
The quickest lead killer is pushing a prospect to “Act Now and Save” without proper education on what the prospect can get out of it. Rushing into a signed agreement opens the door for buyer’s remorse and frustration—so save any special offers for prospects who have spent a good amount of time in the sales funnel.
Leave the high resource follow up to the most active leads
Follow ups drain a lot of resources. Staff time is spent emailing hundreds of contacts, talking for hours on the phone or spending a whole day away from the office. These business development tactics are necessary for some active leads, but not all. Content marketing has allowed companies to win business without the lengthy decision process. For example, sending case studies and portfolio examples now erases the need for out-of-office pitches. There will still be some decision makers who demand in-person meetings, but content can help free up your available staff time and budget.