An inbound lead is coming in hot. A VP at a company in your target market just filled out a form and downloaded one of your best-performing marketing e-books. What will your business development representatives do next? Unfortunately for most sales teams, what happens next is... nothing.
Your valuable inbound lead will sit untouched for days before anyone on the sales team is able to call that person and begin the process of selling. This situation isn't acceptable. Inbound leads are the most valuable, high-converting opportunities for your sales team. Representatives have to move fast and be prepared to engage with inbound leads effectively, or else they'll miss this opportunity. Here are the steps your sales team needs in order to convert inbound leads into closed-won deals.
1. Assign leads quickly
There’s no excuse for an inbound lead to sit in a queue for days before a sales representative is able to call that person. However, if your company’s sales process isn’t set up to prioritize inbound leads, that’s exactly what will happen by default. As BDRs work through the leads they’ve been assigned, they will usually start with the oldest and work their way to the newest leads. This works fine for most outbound leads. However it does not work for inbound.
Industry research has shown that if you call an inbound lead within 15 minutes of engagement with your content, the conversion rates are significantly higher. It makes sense. That prospect has just downloaded and read your content, so your company is top-of-mind. If you wait a few days or even a few hours, she may have forgotten all about your company and your product. But if a member of your sales team calls her within a short window of time, she will be much more likely to talk and learn even more about your product or service could help solve her challenge. Instead of putting inbound and outbound leads into the same queue, make sure you separate inbound leads and push them to the front of the line, every time.
2. Give content and context
Now that your sales team is calling your inbound leads quickly, they need the right information to ensure that call is a success. To be successful, your representatives need to know what blog posts a prospect has read, the content offers they've downloaded and how they've interacted with your website. By having this information available, your sales team will be more empowered to lead the discussion and continue to provide relevant and helpful content in order to nurture this prospect further down the funnel.
You don’t want your sales representatives to get caught off-guard or enter the conversation blindly. You should create an easy-to-access library of sales enablement tools filled with summaries and information that your sales team can read quickly before sales calls. With a content library, they will be prepared and ready to discuss the prospect’s specific area of interest. Even better, they can then follow up and send the prospect more content like the one he or she has downloaded, continuing to educate the buyer after the call.
3. Create an engagement workflow
Unfortunately, not every inbound lead is going to answer the phone or an email on the first try. However, your team can’t give up on these valuable prospects after just one try, even if the rate of engagement goes down over time. Instead, you should have a set expectation for how many times your sales representatives should engage with inbound leads before moving on to the next one.
This is where you need to build out a clear sales process, which ensures reps are never confused or uncertain how to engage with an inbound lead next. To help clarify the process, you should create an MQL workflow that outlines every step in your company’s ideal sales process step by step. This way, reps know exactly how many times to call, email and engage with an inbound lead before booking a meeting or moving on to the next lead. This will help your reps understand not only which leads are worth their time and effort, but also which are not.
Sales leaders should treat inbound leads like absolute gold and the following sales process should reflect that mindset. Your team should be calling inbound leads quickly, offering interesting content and engaging consistently. With the right sales engagement, an inbound lead will quickly become your newest customer.
For more information on the inbound sales process, download our guide for a complete source of information to help you transform the way you sell:
Julia is a former New Breeder.