Anyone who follows this blog even casually probably knows the fundamentals of Inbound Marketing: it's all about attracting relevant prospects to your site, and getting them to convert (self-identify) through a value-added content download request. The majority of our posts are about all the different nuances of online attraction, from SEO to content strategy to getting the most from various social media platforms. There's a reason for this: most visitors who fill out our download forms tell us their greatest marketing challenge is attracting more leads.
But lately we've been getting questions from clients about what to do with leads, and especially deciding when and how it's appropriate to personally reach out to leads to move them toward closing. Great question!
Here are the key factors we consider that help us decide if and when we should go after a direct conversation.
- Financial - Based on the size of the business and any available evidence on past investment in marketing (like website sophistication, prior social media activity, PR history), is it reasonable to expect they could afford your services? If you sell capital equipment, are they considering adding to their asset base, or are they entrepreneurs thinking about plunging in? Because if it looks like they can't afford you, think twice about spending time pursuing.
- Title of lead contact. Our website is built on Hubspot, and leads generated from our landing pages are instantly uploaded to our crm product (Highrise). I can go right from my Hubspot lead listing to the leads' Highrise profile which shows me an abridged LinkedIn profile. (Isn't integration grand!) I can often tell from that profile if a lead is a potential decision-maker or a junior person just trying to learn.
- Honestly filling out download forms with real information, and providing genuine insights into their needs. People who are really considering a purchase or a long-term commitment with a vendor want to have conversations with qualified vendors. They know that will accelerate the process and help them make a better decision.
- Exhibiting online behavior that says there's serious interest in what you're selling. I'm encouraged if I see a lead eagerly consuming good content. Not downloading the same stuff every week, but progressing through a logical learning sequence.
- Number of visitors and frequency of visits. If the same organization suddenly has multiple visitors registering as leads, and they're all taking meaty downloads about our core competencies, they're kicking the tires and are all but screaming for a call from us. Every industry is different, but watching for behavioral tells in any industry is a critical factor in selling success.
Because Inbound Marketing is a relatively new approach and most practitioners are still learning as we go, I'm really interested in hearing how others are approaching this. Please tell us how you decide when it's time to go in for the sale!