Business-to-business (B2B) marketers often use direct marketing, e-mail, advertising, trade shows, the web, and other marketing tactics to generate sales leads.
But a smart lead generation marketing strategy goes well beyond the creation of the marketing campaign.
If your goal is to build a relationship with a business prospect, increase your sales conversion rate, and maximize the value of your sales resources, you need a careful plan for what happens after the lead comes in.
Here are the seven steps you should take with a marketing-generated sales lead to achieve success:
- Verify it: Check the accuracy and completeness of the data the prospect provided to be sure you have the information for an ongoing sales dialogue. If the lead is from a web form, all contact information (name, title, company, address, phone, and email address) should be required fields.
- Enter it: Get the lead data into your prospect database. Your data entry process should have well-established quality control standards to ensure data accuracy.
- Qualify it: Not all leads are of equal value. Ideally, your response device included a few qualifying questions to gauge the prospect’s needs, interests, timeframe, and authority to buy. If not, or you need to know more, call the prospect to find out. Use this information to route the lead into the right sales queue for the next steps in the conversion process.
- Fulfill it: If your marketing campaign made an offer to the prospect – such as a free report, gift, premium, or product sample – deliver what you promised and use the fulfillment step to demonstrate your interest in a relationship by responding quickly and personalizing the fulfillment messaging.
- Distribute it: Leads get cold fast, especially in today’s world of instant communication. It’s essential to get qualified leads to the sales team who will be doing follow-up as soon as possible. Set up a system to flag extremely well-qualified prospects for immediate contact by your best sales representatives.
- Source it: Use promotion codes to identify the lead source, so you can measure the results of your lead generation marketing campaigns and pinpoint which mailing list, offer, or marketing tactic produced the response.
- Nurture it: The business buying cycle can be lengthy and complicated. It may take a long time for even a highly qualified prospect to become a customer. Create a marketing communications plan to nurture leads over an extended time period by sending prospects a steady stream of high-value content, special offers, invitations to events, and other outreach tailored to their interests.