Once the marketing department has done its job and identified a promising lead, the baton is passed to the sales team to nurture that lead and, ideally, convert it into new business.
If you’re able to get this process of following up sales-ready leads down to a fine art, you’re in a strong position to generate consistent revenue for the business and lay the groundwork for future growth.
Unfortunately, converting leads into sales isn’t always easy. Here are some methods that can make the process more straightforward and boost your chances of getting results:
Stay close with marketing
The relationship between the marketing and sales departments shouldn’t end as soon as a lead is handed off from one to the other.
By maintaining a close, collaborative relationship with your marketing colleagues, you can ensure you have every piece of relevant information about the potential customer and their various objectives and priorities.
The ongoing involvement of the marketing department can also help to ensure the lead stays warm and minimizes the risk of any mistakes or confusion in the handover, which could jeopardize the final sale.
Don’t waste time
Timing is everything in many areas of business, but it’s particularly important in sales. It’s always a good idea to be prompt when following up a lead, particularly if the prospective customer has an urgent need they want to satisfy as quickly as possible.
Prevaricating raises the risk of missing out on the sale, since customers who feel they aren’t a priority for you will quickly take their business elsewhere.
However, it’s also important to remember that many leads won’t want to feel that they’re being rushed. If they would prefer to take their time and think about what you’re offering, make sure you stay in regular contact but give them space to make a decision.
Understand the customer journey
To foster positive relationships with leads and future customers, you need to show a clear understanding of the point they’ve reached on the customer journey and, by association, the type of support or information they require.
When the lead has been passed from marketing to sales, this should mean the buyer has moved beyond the initial ‘awareness’ and ‘interest’ stages of the sales funnel. However, they may not be quite ready to make their final decision and take action yet.
By recognizing the point the customer has reached on their journey, you can be sure you’re having the right conversations and providing relevant information and resources to help them make their decision.
Take a structured approach to follow-up
Following up sales leads needs to be an organized, carefully planned process that adheres to a certain structure. Taking a random, haphazard approach to follow-up increases the risk of basic and potentially harmful mistakes being made, such as waiting three days to call someone who asked to be contacted the following day.
Having dedicated systems and software in place to track leads and document communications with them boosts efficiency and stops errors like these from happening.
Religiously maintain your customer database
An up-to-date, rigorously maintained customer database can offer benefits for many departments, but it can prove particularly crucial for sales.
Being able to quickly consult a database displaying every piece of information you’re likely to need - from the basic (name, age, occupation) to the in-depth (key pain points and priorities) - puts you in a much stronger position to nurture positive relationships and make sales.
With valuable customer data at your fingertips, you can feel confident of making the most of every lead that comes your way.