A lot of sales and marketing “how to” articles focus on outbound sales – hunting for new leads to prospect and convert into sales. And hopefully, that’s a huge part of your sales team’s expertise. However, your marketing team works hard to get prospects to come to you. Inbound leads can be every bit as valuable as leads that have to be tracked down, but for some reason there tend to be more mistakes made with inbound lead management than outbound sales. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes and how to fix them.
Not Delegating Inbound Lead Management to a Specific Person or Team
It’s not uncommon for inbound leads to be up for grabs. There’s a dashboard for inbound leads, and they are everyone’s responsibility – which means they are no one’s responsibility. They could sit there for who knows how long because there isn’t a person or team responsible for them. Whether inbound leads are assigned to the marketing department or sales doesn’t really matter, as long as someone is taking a look at them and determining if they are viable leads.
The Fix: There must be a process for dealing with inbound leads that assigns responsibility to a person or group, so they are not left to die in the dashboard.
Assuming That Every Prospect Action Equals a Lead
One click does not a lead make. Or as Mike Wolfe at Smart Bug Media puts it, “One simple action taken by a prospect, like clicking an email or downloading a tip sheet, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re ready to buy your product or speak with someone in sales about it. Handing those kind of “leads” over to a sales rep won’t be very conducive to success for the sales team that is expected to convert those leads into sales.”
The Fix: Before sending the potential lead to the sales department, nurture the relationship to identify who they are, what their buying process is, and if they are truly ready to talk with the sales team. Only then should they be moved on to a sales team member.
Not Doing Enough Research
Once the lead has been qualified and passed to a sales rep, the rep needs to do some homework. Reaching out to a qualified lead unarmed with any information is can prove to be a waste of time – both for the sales rep and the lead. Knowing important points like what the company does, what the person cares about, and how they came to be a lead before reaching out will make a much better first impression.
The Fix: Have a good CRM that tracks the right behaviors so reps can read buying signals. Look at things like what the lead converted on, which content the lead has viewed, what emails they have opened and clicked through, and whether the lead has engaged with your company on social media channels.
Additionally, when your rep does reach out make sure that the message they are conveying is relevant. In their blog post, 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling to Inbound Leads, GCL Direct stresses this point, “Message relevance is everything, and to make your message as relevant as possible, you need to learn what your prospects’ biggest challenges are. If you can hit these pain points early on, your leads will give you more of their attention, allowing you to explain how you can help them.”
Inadequate and Impersonal Lead Follow-Up
Every salesperson knows that follow-up is crucial to converting sales. But it’s something that is often overlooked with inbound leads. Of course, the quicker you get in touch with a new lead – inbound or outbound – the better. Chances of connecting become smaller and smaller the longer you wait.
Sometimes you aren’t able to connect right away, though, and that’s when balls get dropped and cracks are slipped through. Persistence is the key to not letting that happen. The lead has taken the time to reach out to your company so you have a great reason for being persistent in trying to contact them. When you do so, make sure to personalize your messaging – they want to hear from a person, not receive an automated response.
The Fix: Build rapport by personalizing messaging. Whether you are reaching out using email tactics to stay out of the spam folder, phone, or social media, make sure that your lead doesn’t feel like they are being approached by a sales robot. Also, come up with a cadence for reaching out for reps to use with inbound leads. Persistence often pays off and results in closed deals.