Sales Flash: Your Inbound Leads Are Useless Without A Valuable Followup

flach sales inbound-leads-need-valuable-followupAuthor: Patrick Cahill

Source: http://blog.hubspot.com

So let me guess … your company hosted a webinar and now you have 5% more leads than usual to slog your way through.

We’ve been hearing for years that salespeople get bogged down following up on inbound leads – particularly because many are not used to having actual warm leads in their pipeline. But our research shows that these content-driven leads are incredibly effective.

It starts by changing the way we treat inbound leads.

Instead of starting a conversation by presenting a sales pitchs, continue to offer content you know they are interested in. Forget the traditional email or voicemail saying “I saw you attended our webinar. Is there anything I can assist you with?”

We suggest a different tactic: Offer them an extended conversation around the content they sought in the webinar (or whitepaper, ebook, etc. that generated the lead).

For instance, if the webinar was about sales team CRM adoption, offer to connect for a brief call (less than 20 minutes) to share the “three tips to greater sales team CRM adoption.”

When we’ve offered leads a follow up conversation around the content, we generate 40% more meetings than if we reach out with a traditional sales follow up. Here’s how you can achieve the same results.

“I got the meeting, now what am I supposed to share with them?”

Content around best practices is always popular, but limit yourself to just a few items. For our example, think along the lines of,  “Four keys to calling campaign success”, or “Three tips to greater sales team CRM adoption”.

From our experience, more open-ended or seemingly complicated content gets worse response rates. In fact, when we started out, one of our clients wanted to offer a detailed marketing metrics analysis to their leads.  It was a great tool, and super valuable. But when they followed up with leads offering the analysis tool, they got less than half the number of responses compared to when they offered the “four keys to calling campaign success,” — which didn’t even have a slide deck!

The moral of the story: Keep it simple and concise.

“Where do I get this lead generation content?”

Ideally, the marketer who put together the lead-generating content in the first place should provide a few insights for the sales team to share on these calls. For example at HubSpot, the sales organization is alerted when a new content offering is launched with sales talking points embedded in the notification email.

But here’s the thing. Salespeople, whether they believe it or not, are completely qualified to craft the follow up content. Afterall, you really only need about five minutes of actual content. The rest is filled in with questions like, “How does this compare to your experience?”

“Okay, I’m sharing the content with them. Now how do I convert the call into a sales opportunity?”

We’ve found that by the second or third item you share with them, the lead starts to warm up. As you demonstrate value, they grow less skeptical and more willing to collaborate, ask questions, and share information. And that’s when you reach what we like to call the pivot point. It’s the point in the call where you say, “Hey, based on what you just shared, you sound like a great fit for X, Y, or Z. Does it make sense to schedule a follow up call for more info?”

Printable Summary of This Sales Process

Here’s a quick summary of our game plan for following up with inbound leads. If you find this strategy effective, you could print and pin this to your own desk!

pat-cahill-game-plan-inbound-leads

While this has worked for our buyer context, we’d love to see other reps adopt the process and share how it does for them!