Refreshing Stale Leads to Unclog Your B2B Sales Funnel
All businesses find themselves faced with stalled leads at some point. In today’s uncertain economy, when many businesses are hesitant to take risks and make new investments, this may seem more like the rule than the exception. However, when companies build up too many stalled leads, they may find their B2B sales funnels becoming clogged with potential that may or may never be actualized. This can lead to both marketers and sales associates spending too much time trying to weed out which prospects should be most aggressively pursued.
If you find your business in this position, you need to devise a strategy to separate the leads that are most likely to follow through from the ones that aren’t. With all different types of lead intelligence programs available, finding the client prospects is much less difficult than reeling them in. Marketing associates should take a more assertive approach to nurturing the leads they have rather than solely focusing on pursuing new options.
Active nurturing can keep B2B leads fresher, longer
One way to do this is to form a lead-nurturing strategy. Once a potential client has demonstrated a real interest in the products or services your business has to offer, associates need to lay out a timeline that defines their strategy. They may make the initial call and then follow up in a week once the prospective client has had a chance to review their offer. They might then set up an in-person meeting, followed shortly thereafter by a survey or interview, before handing the client off to the sales department.
Following up with leads once they’ve been established is crucial, however the timing at which you do so is even more important. Surveys and interviews are excellent follow-up tools that can provide you with valuable information not only about how the company might close a particular sale, but also about how your prospects are responding to your marketing approaches overall. If you ask for an interview or survey completion say, just after speaking with a prospective client, the information likely hasn’t had time to settle and you’re unlikely to get accurate feedback. Wait too long, however, and you’ll be faced with clients whose memories may be a little fuzzy, providing likewise inaccurate feedback.
So how long is too long? Each business will have their own timeline, however it’s generally a good practice to reach out at some point between several days and two weeks after the initial contact.
Multi-channel touch points can be effective in turning marketing endeavors into sales
Another strategy to consider is the use of multi-channel touch points with individual clients. Businesses, like individuals, generally have their own standard and preferred methods of communication. Some may prefer email, while others deal better over the phone. Some may ignore all forms of outreach except face-to-face presentations. By reaching out to prospects across multiple platforms, you’ll ensure that you’re able to connect with the decision makers of a business on their preferred platform, which will greatly increase your chance of turning your marketing efforts into a sale later on down the line.
One of the most obvious and often first points of contact with a prospective lead is a cold call. They’re a great way to establish a relationship and get your product name into the minds of prospective clients. Another great first or second point of contact is a direct mailer. Direct mail marketing campaigns, whether conducted though email or post, provide a way for you to pass along a greater quantity of information that can be perused at the client’s convenience. Following up after a mailer with a brief phone call or email to establish a meeting to further discuss the products and services should follow shortly thereafter.
The main goal is to keep the leads alive until they reach fruition. Allowing leads to languish inside the sales funnel can not only prevent you from obtaining new prospects, but it can also cause the leads you’ve already invested in to become dead in the water.
- Webinar: Marketing Along the Buyerâ€™s Journey
- Blog post: Generate More Business Leads and Close More Deals with Real Time Intelligence â€“ Part II
- Blog post: How B2Bs Can Leverage Facebook Pages For Lead Nurturing