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Leads are not sales

By Kate Lee | 03/21/2016 | 10:39 PM

Cultivating a lead is just as important as finding it in the first place

If you have a solid strategic marketing plan in place that is generating a high volume of quality leads, tomorrow’s revenue should be almost assured, right? Not necessarily.

A lead is only worth as much as the effort your company puts into cultivating it. The next vital step is to convert those leads into new sales or clients. In other words, getting quality leads is only half the battle.

Your business grows through a steady stream of quality leads being nurtured and developed. If you have these precious leads in hand, it is vital that you also have a sales team that knows how to turn them into customers. If you don’t, that brilliant strategic marketing plan was a waste of valuable time and money.

There many moving parts to an effective lead-generation campaign, and often there are many steps required to cultivate those leads into sales. Your sales team should:

Conduct consistent, quality follow-up on all leads.

Committing to expedient and professional follow-up provides better conversion of leads into opportunities. This means that when cultivating a qualified lead, you don’t want your sales reps to make one phone call and simply leave a voicemail.  You want real conversations to happen. What works best is having someone whose only job is to reach leads in person, overcome objections (identify and present solutions that truly meet your clients’ needs), qualify them (determining whether a lead should move into the sales process), and facilitate any needed connection to your sales teams to complete the sale.

Realize that time is of the essence.

Studies show the faster you contact the lead, the better your chances of conversion into a sale. According to a study by Franklin Covey, contact ratios improve 900% if web leads are called within five minutes of submission. While your sales team may not be able to act upon a lead with that kind of velocity, it is vital that they utilize proactive sales strategies, rather than reactive. Reactive is leaving a message and, if they hear back, responding to it. Proactive is going after the sale with confidence and commitment to engaging the lead in real dialogue.

Target the best window of time to call leads.

This, of course, has many variables and will be relative to your particular business and potential-client demographic. But, one study suggests that Thursday and Friday offer the highest productivity in lead conversion, and the hours between 4 and 6 p.m. often produce optimum results.

Have the ability to listen and offer viable solutions.

Your sales team needs to be well informed about the products, services, and solutions that they are selling. They also need to remember that it’s vital to take the time to discover and understand the potential customer’s needs and wants first, then make the move to match and sell the appropriate solution.

Capturing successful leads is only the first step in generating greater sales revenue. Your sales team must be able to follow up quickly with proven fundamental steps that turn leads into customers.

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The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Kate Lee

Kate Lee

Kate Lee is the senior director of research and strategy for Fronetics Strategic Advisors, a Newburyport, Mass.-based consultancy that works with clients in industries including logistics and supply chain. She has over 20 years of domestic and international experience as a writer, researcher, and strategist.



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