It can be easy to overlook the potential revenue from website leads, particularly if historically the quality of leads you have received has been poor. When lead quality is poor, It is much easier to focus time and energy on leads who come walking through the front door or pick up the phone. Implementing an inbound marketing strategy has many benefits — one of them in particular being higher-quality leads that are passed on to the sales team. A recent survey found that 73% of those looking for more information online about senior living start with general terms, such as "assisted living" and then progress to learn more about the businesses that show up in the search.
Transparency in the Buyer's Journey
Before the dawn of the internet, leads came to your business with little to no knowledge of your brand and your offerings. Now, customers begin investigating your company before they make initial contact with you. In fact, leads might be as much as 60% of the way through the sales process before they formally inquire with you (whether that be with a web form, a phone call, or a visit to your place of business).
Sales and marketing alignment become critical to success. Together, map out the buyer’s journey. Understand the steps they are undertaking online and the types of information with which they are engaging. Lead scoring programs can be helpful in a marketing automation platform to identify the most qualified leads for the sales team.
When a new lead lands in the lap of the sales professionals, the journey the buyer has taken thus far should be transparent to both operations, by providing a detailed history of the interactions the prospect has had with your online content. This is achieved by closing the loop between your customer relationship management system (CRM) and your marketing automation platform (MAP).
Create Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are a fictional representing of a segment of your target audience. Depending on the type of business you work in, buyer personas may be built based on the industry a target audience works with (B2B sales) or the primary identifiers of a buyer (B2C).
Buyer personas identify the goals, motivations, fears, barriers to purchasing, and research methods. Having buyer personas can be a great tool for sales and marketing conversations regarding the types of customers to target for lead generation and the strategies to support targeting that particular buyer persona.
Because customers coming through your content marketing channels are further along in the buying process and have greater insight into the brand, sales professionals must be flexible enough to start the conversation in a very different place than that of a lead with little to no knowledge about you or what you provide.
As you develop a sales process for inbound leads, you will likely need to do some experimenting to determine what the ideal repeatable, scalable sales process will need to look like. Track what people respond best to and develop your process to include details such as the number of times contact is initiated and in what forms. Develop email templates that are designed around certain types of customers and where they fall on the journey.