leads are people (prospective customers and clients) who have in some
way shown interest in your business. They may have left a message
through your contact form on your website, they may have called you,
they may have shown interest in your business or your brand in a
conference or they may have responded to one of your surveys or reach
out programs or they may have offered to become your business
partner or provide you business funding in some manner or even help
you with a business
loan – there are innumerable ways they may have shown a readiness
to listen to you.
The advantage of having sales leads is that you’re not throwing darts
in the darkness. The best way to find a business partner is through
scouring through your sales leads. When you talk to the other person
or when you send an email to the other person, you know that he or she
knows what business you’re talking about and what you can offer to him
or her. For example, if someone has dropped a message on your NBFC channel
partnership landing page, you have a fair idea that the person
is looking for a business loan and he or she is ready to explore
various business funding sources.
This is the reason many businesses prefer to buy sales leads because
even after spending money on sales leads, the success rate of turning
these sales leads to actual sales is tremendous and is often, worth
the cost. Having said that, the best leads are the ones you yourself
obtain through your own communication efforts.
But having sales leads doesn’t mean that it is easier to convert
these prospective customers and clients. They are merely interested.
They’re still making up their minds. You have multiple competitors. On
the Internet specially, it is very easy to explore opportunities with
one business and then suddenly end up doing actual business with
Today’s customers and clients are more aware. They have access to
more information. Through social networking and social media websites
they interact with other people. Before doing business with you they
can quickly seek opinion of their family, friends and colleagues
across the globe.
Hence, you need to handle your sales leads carefully. Here are a few
things you can do to successfully follow up on your sales leads:
Segment your sales leads to find the right business partners
A fit-for-all model doesn’t work when it comes to converting sales
leads to paying customers and clients. This doesn’t help you to
augment your partner program. You generate sales leads through
different channels, and this means people may have different
information needs to convince themselves.
Segmentation is so important that all mainstream email marketing
services provide this facility to you. After sending your first
campaign to a mailing list, you can segment your list according to the
way people react to your campaign.
Some of the recipients will click the link in your email and you can
send a follow-up message to them accordingly.
Some will simply reply, and you can send them a different message.
Some will open your message during the weekend, and you can send them
a message assuming that they might not check it during weekdays.
And so on.
Respond and reply promptly
Your prospect may change his or her mind if you don’t respond with
alacrity. No matter how crucial your product or service is, it may not
be on the list of priorities for your customer or client. If you don’t
follow up fast enough, your lead may take this as a sign of
disinterest. Remember that you may be having hundreds of sales leads
to process, for your prospect, you might be the only business he or
she is dealing with. So, make him or her feel that he or she is your priority.
After the enquiry, even if an appropriate answer is not available
right now, send out a thank you message to just let your prospect know
that you are always in a communication mode and you are there in case
the prospect needs more information.
Use the appropriate communication channel
Let’s suppose someone has contacted you via Instagram. It doesn’t
mean somehow you find out the person’s email ID and then start
emailing him or her. Since he or she has contacted you via Instagram
(or Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), it is appropriate that you respond
using the same communication channel unless your prospect prefers
email or another form of communication. Every business partner or
prospective customer may prefer a different communication channel
especially in the current scenario.
Use a CRM system
It’s criminal not to use a CRM system, especially when you are
handling scores of sales leads at a time. There are some wonderful CRM
systems available that provide you services on the SaaS model, which
means, you can pay them according to your need. A CRM system allows
you to track every individual response from you and by your sales
lead. Many of the responses can be automated based on the reply from
your leads (different responses if someone replies or doesn’t reply).
A CRM also reminds you if you don’t do a follow-up on time – very important.
Communicate, don’t annoy if you want to find a business partner
Remember that following up on your sales lead is for the purpose of
helping your prospective customers and clients decide if they want to
do business with you. It doesn’t mean you go on pestering them if they
don’t respond. In fact, if they don’t respond for a long time, maybe
they don’t need to do business with you or they have already made a
choice, which is fine, they are free to do so. You should know when to
put a stop to your communication.