- The marketing department is busy creating content and making sure people find you online
- Prospects may beg you to talk to them.
- Your PR department is getting good coverage about what you do
- Your events team is missing sleep to make sure you have a professional physical presence wherever you go
- Your CEO is working hard building a reputation
- Your staff could even be working as ambassadors on your behalf.
So why, oh why are so many leads lost?
If the amount of leakage is any guide, many pipelines seem to have more in common with crumbling, Victorian infrastructure than a modern, automated sales process.
First appearances can be deceptive
It is very easy to dismiss a potential prospect based on who they are. Do not assume anything from the job title. They could have been tasked with preliminary research as part of a procurement process, or they could just have the ear of the CEO when it comes to suggesting improvements. Also look to the future. This junior staff member could easily be in a purchasing or decision making position in just a few years. If you snub them, they will not forget!
Don’t discriminate by Email – Many people may not choose to use, or have access to, their work email for requesting information, signing up for webinars or downloading content. Personal email addresses such as Gmail and Hotmail shouldn’t be ignored. Of course they may be students or competitors, but it is now easier to check who someone is than it has ever been, try a LinkedIn search.
Don’t leave it too long – If people are contacting you it may mean that a compelling event has occurred that has forced them to look for solutions. You will probably not be the only solution they are looking at. Respond quickly to any contact. This shows you are a responsive organisation.
Follow up – If you have made contact and agree to follow up – then do it and do it quickly. If you can’t get the answer they need quickly, then let them know you are still working on getting them the most comprehensive answer you can and this is taking longer than expected. Keep in touch.
Sales and Marketing are on the same side – If you are in marketing then do not assume that any lead you give sales is being followed up on. Things slip through the cracks. Similarly, Sales should not assume that Marketing is sending content when requested. Instigate regular reporting to make sure everything is being followed up on.
Don’t waste an event – Exhibiting at an event is time consuming, expensive and tiring. If you are trying to establish yourself in a new market they are also great to meet prospective customers who generally have a level of interest because they spoke to you. Establish firm procedures for recording all details and make sure all staff follow them. These procedures should also include follow up immediately after the event. A lot of this valuable information is wasted because details are not recorded properly – or even at all, and follow up gets forgotten or delayed as you catch up with the day job when you get back to the office.
A lead is for life – They may not be suitable now, but it does not mean they never will be. Keep in touch to make sure you are always front of mind. Invite them to webinars and events, offer them relevant contact and connect on social media.
A sales pipeline is not a single direction, one pass process, but a living ongoing thing. Keep in contact, because it is easier to sell to someone who has heard of you than someone who has not!