Written on the 4 September 2017 by Altitude Communications
... and the Common Mistakes that can cause your Lead Management System to Fail
The difference between having a professionally-designed, carefully thought out and implemented lead generation strategy can be the difference between having a bucket load of qualified leads, or a massive list of leads that will never result in a sale. The most common mistake that most business owners make is forgetting how much the original lead cost them to produce in the first place. Every lead that is generated is sacred and should be treated as such (each contact that enters into your marketing funnel is potentially a new client for your business). Often the excitement of lead generation and creating a contact database of hot targeted prospects overshadows the most important part of the lead generation process, that is, converting your lead into a sale.
While our article on creating a lead management system focused on funnelling leads through your marketing system, in this article we will narrow the focus even further by exploring what you can do to ensure that a decent portion of your new leads become paying customers. Plus, we'll also touch on the most common rookie mistakes that you could be making that could cause your Lead Management System to fail.
So where do most people fall short when managing a lead?
Here are four common mistakes that can cause your lead management system to fail which may result in a missed sales opportunity.
1. After you have attracted and captured your lead, the initial sales inquiry is incorrectly handled.
Often when a business is busy they are so intent on working in the business, that they fail to manage upcoming sales opportunities. Once your lead has expressed interest in going to the next level by contacting you - do not waste this opportunity. Your prospect should be contacted within 24 hours of their inquiry, when you should take the opportunity to get to know them and learn why they are considering buying from you. Do your homework and allow time to visit their website and learn more about them prior to making contact. The prospect is not over the line yet. This is the beginning of the sales management funnel.
2. The lead is not fully qualified prior to becoming a sales opportunity.
Some prospects will attempt to make contact with you earlier than others - they are keen, excited or just looking for information right away. And while it is important to start the sales cycle, consider educating and qualifying them further prior to your demonstration/meeting. For example, a prospect may come to you directly from your website, not having experienced your lead nurturing program. At that point, while they may be very keen to find out more about your product/services, you can almost be assured that the sales process will be more difficult with them.
In comparison, a contact who has progressed through your marketing funnel, as an opt-in subscriber, presents you with the opportunity to educate, inform and build trust and credibility with them. To get around this tricky situation, we suggest that you take the initiative to manually subscribe your new inquiry into your lead nurturing program. This will give them the opportunity to learn more about you, your business and share some of your success stories (testimonials).
3. You fail to live up to your lead's expectations during the lead nurturing process.
This could be in the form of unreliable email marketing auto-responders, lack of regular contact or simply content that is not relevant. It's important to remember that once you've captured your lead's details, you need to continue to nurture them through the marketing funnel with high quality content on a regular basis. In short, the secret here is to over deliver and under promise.
Failure to inspire a lead into the enquiry process is generally the fault of the person who has has not kept in regular contact. By inspiring, we mean keeping in constant contact with the prospect via ongoing articles, e-newsletters, or just regular short tips. The aim here is to make your brand as familiar and as unavoidable as possible. By this we mean, if your email communication appears in your lead's inbox on a regular basis filled with useful, interesting or just plain entertaining content, it is more likely to be opened and well received. The repetitive nature of this communication and its regularity forms a virtual bond between you and your lead which will over time build trust and credibility, encouraging them to take action.
It also gives you multiple opportunities to up-sell your product/service on a regular basis. For example: a financial advisor might offer a FREE Budget Planning Session, FREE Share Trading Education Meeting, or even advice on how to set up a Child's Education Fund - the end product is still the same, but the way it is positioned in the mind of the lead will vary. By creating a specific call to action like the examples given above, you'll be able to split test their effectiveness to discover which call to action works best to generate the enquiry.
The aim here is to always keep you and your brand top of mind, as often as possible. The best way of doing this is using a reliable email marketing system
Option #2: ONTRAPORT - register for a free online demonstration
Both of these systems (mentioned above) will enable you to capture new leads, using an online sign up form, and also deliver a series of auto responder emails to inspire and nurture your new leads into becoming new clients/customers.
One of the most devastating rookie mistakes that you can make is not continuing your regular ongoing communication. We know... it can take some time and effort to keep communicating with your leads. But think about it from your lead's perspective. They've been promised ongoing relevant communication from you, and now a few weeks or so later the bond you were trying to build with them has disappeared. In some ways you've let them down, you've over promised and under delivered, and they will judge you on that.
4. Your lead fails to convert into an inquiry because the Sales Process Flow is not automated or systemised.
This leaves the lead vulnerable to getting overlooked or lost within your Sales Management System. To maximise the opportunity of turning your lead into an enquiry we recommend you invest time planning your sales process flow. This strategic approach applies to small to medium sized businesses as well as large corporations, or in fact anyone wanting more quality enquiries. To begin creating this process, take a successful sales opportunity and step it backwards. Template the correspondence that you had with the client and look for areas that may be different or similar to other successful and non-successful sales opportunities. Ask yourself the following questions...
Did you use any documents or tools that may have assisted you to prequalify and explain your product/services in a clear manner?
Which was more successful for you... or over the phone?
When was the last time you conducted a survey to your existing clients asking them how they felt about your sales process/systems?
The trick to creating a sales process is to standardise your procedures and then automate the process for ongoing continuity.
Here's a quick tip:after the initial inquiry, we suggest pre-setting an automated response mechanism with a clear call to action on the next steps you'd like them to take and also the steps that you're going to take. Remember, you've built rapport virtually now you need to do the same offline.
In short, when preparing a lead generation program, it's absolutely critical to have a clear mindset and be prepared to map out exactly the process that you'd like your lead/prospect to go through. This should be documented in a step-by-step format that is simple and easy-to-replicate.
But what about unsubscribers?
Obviously throughout your lead nurturing process there will be a percentage of people that will unsubscribe who originally came in through your lead generation program. That's okay. These people are basically disqualifying themselves as potential clients or prospects. The trick is to be able to find a clear balance that minimises the number of unsubscribers from your email marketing database system. The simple, clever way of doing this is to ensure that all of the content that you send on an ongoing basis remains relevant to the reader. You could also consider creating surveys and using other interactive tools such as e-Courses etc to keep your lead actively engaged with the information you're providing..
Here's another quick tip: The purpose of the survey would be to ask your prospect what particular things interest them the most. This will help you to collect valuable data from your leads into your contact database system. This will help guide you in the development and refinement of the products and services that you offer.
Lead generation should be on the top of your priority list, but as you know, just generating a big list of leads will not always guarantee more sales for your business. If you need help generating high quality, targeted leads for your business, click hereto find out more about the Altitude Communications' "My Lead Generation Program". By continuing the lead generation program into the lead nurturing phase means that you're more likely to convert more general inquiries into qualified sales.
By reviewing and developing both a lead generation process and a sales management process, you will not only free up a lot of your time, it will also empower your business with processes that are not sales person-specific. By that, we mean, you will no longer be reliant on specific high-level skills to convert your leads into a sale. Instead just by following your proven system, even new team members will be able to confidently follow your proven system and convert more sales opportunities. If you'd like to learn more on how you can develop and automate your lead generation and sales process, click here for your F.R.E.E Lead Management Session.
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Marketing Mentor Bill Doyle from AltitudeCommunications.com.au publishes the popular 'My Marketing Mentor' weekly eZine with over 6,200 subscribers including solo-preneurs, entrepreneurs and business owners.
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