Introduction to inbound leads
When implementing an Inbound Marketing strategy, a dilemma arises when to pick up the phone/keyboard and reach out to an Inbound lead.
A few rules of thumb:
- Prioritize who you reach out to based on how relevant a prospect they seem (do they fall under any of your ideal buyer personas?), and the actions they took on your website/blog
- If a prospect downloaded a content offer from your website, that means there's something they need help with (absolutely regardless to whether or not they actually got around to reading the offer or just "plan to")
- Initiating a connect call in order to try and help a prospect based on what you know about the actions they took on your blog/website is always a good idea.
This post will walk you through the best practice of selling to Inbound leads.
Start by conducting a connect call
The goal of a connect call is to uncover your prospect's pain and find out if your company could potentially be a good fit for curing that pain. Connect calls should take no longer than 10 minutes.
Each B2B company will be looking to uncover a different pain. Let's take our agency as an example. In the connect calls we conduct with prospects we try to uncover where in the funnel the prospect may have a problem. We make sure to include positioning statements and educate the prospect on the call.
Here are examples of different positioning statements we use in order to uncover problems on different stages of the funnel:
When trying to identify if the problem is at the top of the funnel i.e. attracting more visitors to the prospect's website we would say something along the lines of:
"I notice you are doing a great job blogging with frequency. You should try including some keywords in your blog post titles, this will help your posts get properly indexed by search engines and you'll start showing up in more searches. Is it important for your business to drive more website traffic? Are you driving the right kind of traffic today? Have you discussed trying to ramp up your content creation efforts? What has held you back? What impact would increased traffic have on your business?"
When trying to identify if the problem is at the middle of the funnel i.e. converting visitors to leads we would say something along the lines of:
"You're doing a great job blogging, but I'm going to venture a guess that your conversion rates aren't as high as you'd like. I have a tip for that, you should include a call to action at the end of every blog article. I'm wondering, how are your conversion rates? What does your idea lead look like? Have you discussed some lead goals this year? How is it going?"
When trying to identify if the problem is at the bottom of the funnel i.e. converting leads to customers we would say something along the lines of:
"If you begin to convert more leads at an earlier point in their buying process and start to nurture them, you can shorten your sales cycle. Were you aware that nurturing leads can also encourage your sales team to become more educational and consultative in nature as they will encounter leads earlier in the buying process. How are you currently nurturing and segmenting leads? Tell me about your sales process? Are you happy with your connect and close rates? How do your reps currently handle Inbound leads?"
Evaluate what pains you need to uncover and create your own positioning statements that apply for different solutions that you provide. Make sure to add value and educate along the way.
Once the pain is uncovered, if you're under the impression that there's potential for your company to help, set up a 30 min exploration call and send the prospect more reading material that further educates them on the subject uncovered.
At each stage, make sure to always tie down and assure you are on alignment with the prospect. Always send a recap email with the main highlights you took away from the call.
Move onto the exploratory call
An exploratory call will typically have three goals:
- Explore the prospect's current goals
- Evaluate if they need help to reach their goals
- Qualify for the good old BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, Timeline)
Start by exploring the company's current status, goals and any other company background related questions.
In our case the questions we typically ask are:
- How many customers do you have?
- Who are your Biggest customers?
- What's your average sales price?
- what is the lifetime value (LTV) of each customer?
- What is your LTV goal?
- What's the current number of yearly sales/ customers?
- What does success look like 3 mths/6mths etc?
Next, try to evaluate if they need help to reach their goals
- What their current plans are
- Identify outstanding gaps in their plans
- Dig to find what challenges stand between them and their plans
- Figure out what the current growth is driven by
In our case we ask questions such as:
- What are you currently investing in?
- How is it working/ what are your results?
- How confident are you that your plans will get you where you need?
- Do you have a list of contacts?
- How do you currently find leads?
- Do you know what your cost per lead is?
- Do you know what your lead-to-conversion rate is?
- What ROI have you seen on your current marketing efforts?
- How much does it cost you to acquire a customer?
- What are the steps in your sales process?
- What are the common hesitations clients have?
Qualify for BANT
At this stage of the call qualify the prospect for budget, authority and timing (we've already uncovered the Need in BANT at the earlier stages of the call)
We typically ask questions such as:
- "What were you planning on investing in marketing to meet your goals?"
- "If we came up with a better way to help you reach your goals, would you be able to find the budget to do so?"
- "Who else besides yourself needs to be involved in decisions on services such as ours?"
- "In order to hit your target, what needs to happen in the next 12 months?, what about the next quarter?"
- "If you like the plan we come up with, what happens next? Would you have us start the next day?"
Summing up and recommending a next step
If the prospect seems like a sales qualified lead, move forward to schedule a call/ meeting where you can discuss your services/products and how you can help them. If not, politely bail out.
Remember that when it comes to Inbound sales, it's all about the prospect and how you can help them. By staying customer focused sales will become a very natural part of the relationship you nurture.
If you found this useful, and you're curious to learn more and find out how to create a long lasting Inbound Marketing strategy, we invite you to download our How-To guide for creating an Inbound Marketing strategy.