This is a guest post by Andy Havard of Skeleton Productions.
To sales teams, corporate organizations, brands, and businesses there’s always this separation of a successful lead and a lost opportunity.
Many industries will put their efforts into their successful lead and will leave their lost opportunities to fade into the depths of their records and sales platforms.
This may not seem like a problematic occurrence, but when you bear in mind that those lost opportunities are more often than not down to the fact that those leads are simply unprepared for the sales stage of their interactions with your company, you’re actually losing a large number of potential successful lead opportunities for the future by leaving those opportunities behind.
How can you make sure you don’t lose 80% of your customer leads? Read on to find out how.
Why Invest In Opportunity Nurturing?
A staggering 20% of all organic search engine leads that come into contact with your sales team are actually ready for the sales process (Marketo). That leaves 80% of your leads as curious customers/clients who are in that ‘feeling out process’ of your product/service and trying to see how it will fit within their own strategies.
This means that these customers/clients may actually require the assistance of your sales team just later down the line than the other 20% of your leads.
These types of individuals are actually the most powerful lead opportunities you could ever hope to find. Leads already prepared for the sales stage are ready to discuss a sale. This means from a sales standpoint all you can do is provide exceptional customer service, cater to the needs of that customer the best that you can, and hope for good recommendations, high ratings, and repeat business.
How Do You Nurture Opportunities?
An opportunity lead gives your organization the powerful opportunity to build a solid relationship with a client and become a helpful, trustworthy and human business to those individuals. By assisting them in any of their queries or problems and staying in contact with them in a friendly demeanour (never appear sales-y) you are likely to see that customer as a solid sale later on.
You’d be surprised how often a customer will invest in a company regardless of price or size just because of their stellar relationship with the individuals behind the business prior to their sale query.
Perhaps the best way to nurture opportunities is to form a designated ‘long tail’ sales team. You might think of this staff segment as a more focused customer services solution. While customer services deal with issues from customers who have already invested in your product/service, this particular sector of customer service can invest in the long tail game of catering to that great 80% of potential opportunities.
Depending on the size of your company this doesn’t have to be a large team, maybe one to three key individuals. Their approach would largely be social media and email based, making use of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Salesforce integration and of course it’s convergence with Email campaigns to interact and nurture your long tail opportunities.
It’s worth noting that your Email campaigns should have a limited role in this particular area as you always want to cater your engagements to singular individuals, with a very one-to-one focused approach, not a blanket Email strategy.
Forming Memorable Communications
The biggest obstacle with building these opportunity relationships is to create memorable and lasting communications. You won’t be trying to talk to these individuals every day of the week so you’ll need to make the interactions you do have as memorable as possible.
A great way to do that is to make use of new social technologies. For example Facebook and Google+ has made it very easy to not only connect and organize such contacts, but has allowed for new ways of social media communication through video chat features. The power of video chat has been utilised by the likes of Apple and Skype over the last few years, but it rarely has a common place in the B2C world.
Video calling is not only an underused tool, which makes it a standout engagement, but it’s also an innovative use of online socializing, which will see your business become a thought leader in business to customer relations. Video calls help to build brand awareness and begin to create a strong affinity and association with the long tail customer service representative as the face of the company.
This will help to further the potential connection the client has with the business and create a strong bond between customer and brand.
There will of course be a difficulty in getting to that conversation stage, but by building up your social interactions with such individuals you will be able to interact with these lead opportunities in this way in good time. Never be afraid to take alternative routes during this process by asking for help from those individuals in their areas of expertise or to approach them as a friendly social media user. The more you can steer away from sales angles and business talk the stronger connection you can build with those potential customers whilst maintaining brand awareness.
Lead nurturing should still form a prominent part of your sales focus, but it is crucial to never forget or neglect the staggering 80% of leads that don’t generate instant sales. These long tail contacts should be catered to, nurtured, and made to feel just as valuable to your organization as your successful leads.
Being able to do this will of course take resources, which will vary depending on the size of your business. However, the benefits of providing this long tail nurturing could be more than worth the time and resources it takes to form a connection with.
Do you have any tips to share on lead nurturing or lead generation? Be sure to share your knowledge in the comments section below.