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5 Steps to Managing Inbound Leads

As you can probably tell by our latest blog posts, this March we decided to talk about how to increase your digital leads. Inbound marketing is an investment, and that investment hopefully pays off in marketing qualified leads for you. Earlier this month, we explained how blog content can help with lead generation. In this blog, I want to take things a bit further and discuss what to do with those new leads once you are able to attract them.  

1. Identifying a Marketing Qualified Lead

So the website inquiries have started to roll in. If you are using a tool like HubSpot, you should know where those leads are coming from and what they are interested in. For marketing, and better yet, sales, this information is pure gold.

Marketing can gather deeper insights into what interests the target audience. While sales get valuable information about the prospects and what they most likely want to talk about. This drastically increases the salesperson's ability to prepare before talking with the prospect. The more information the salesperson has before the first meeting, translates to a better experience for the prospect.

2. Marketing to Sales Handoff

Has your organization figured out who will get marketing qualified leads and when? Will it be on a round-robin basis, performance-based, or based on geography? There are a million possible ways to divide your leads. Having a plan in place to segment leads and identify the right salesperson quickly is an important step to closing that lead.

Plan this out to the smallest of details. For example, how will the salesperson be notified? Slack, email, or a project management software? Marketing and sales teams need a communicating process so leads don't fall through the cracks. I would recommend notifying not just the salesperson, but also a manager if possible. This way, if your salesperson misses the inquiry, someone else has eyeballs on it and can respond.

3. Lead Response Timing

You’ve definitely heard the old saying, “Time is of the essence.” When it comes to the first contact with a prospect, I couldn’t agree more. Lead response time plays a huge role in the ability to convert that lead into a prospect, and then to a client. An older study, conducted by InsideSales in 2007, tells us that “50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first.” Those are odds that make me turn my head. Make sure your organization has a plan for where the inbound leads go. Plus, a plan to make sure you are taking advantage of the lead response time multiplier.

4. Help vs. Sell

The buyer's journey has three stages; awareness, consideration, and decision. Potential prospects may want to speak with sales at different times in their journey. You can’t assume that everyone that has reached out is ready to buy that day.

Some may still be gaining information, whereas others may make a decision a bit quicker. This is why helping vs. selling is so important. If a consideration stage buyer inquires about your service, they are not ready to buy at that moment. If you provide them with insights or information that helps them, this positions you better into their decision stage. The reverse effect may make them feel that you are being pushy.

We all have experienced a pushy salesperson, not a pleasant feeling in my opinion. Truly try to help them as best as you can, and watch how your close rate improves!

5. Have a Plan, Stan

This step can often be overlooked, but great sales organizations have a plan. Just like football teams use playbooks, so do successful businesses. It's a great way to help train or onboard new sales team members, support current employees and help improve your close rates. If you are invested in inbound marketing, you’ve likely already have been successful at selling something. Take some time to document that process.

I recommend roughly outlining what questions you are typically asked by prospects. What is the response you would like your sales team to provide in successful situations? What questions are important for your sales team to ask in the qualification process? Have them built into a playbook or an outline for your team to use. This will help for two reasons. First, it makes sure you are collecting the information that you need to qualify them further. And second, it ensures that your sales team has the correct answers for prospects. This helps keep prospects happy throughout the sales process and improves the opportunity to close them.

Inbound marketing is a great way to attract sales-ready leads in today’s digital world. Simply attracting them is only one step in building a successful business engine that can grow and scale. If you plan to invest in inbound, take a look at what to do with your new leads. Ask yourself, how to best convert them based on your business? This will hopefully help your organization grow, and provide a great sales experience to your prospects. If you need help reviewing any of the above-mentioned steps, don’t hesitate to let us know!


John Caruso
About the Author
John is the Director of Business Development at Vendilli Digital Group. Outside of work, you can find him fishing, hunting, or canning vegetables from his garden.
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