You did it! Your marketing is paying off and people are coming to your website. Poking around. Maybe even some of them are coughing up email addresses, names … phone numbers. Eureka! You’ve turned your website into a lead generation machine and sales is thrilled. You, the marketer have done your part – right? Wrong! Don’t let sales creep out your leads with a flawed lead follow up or handoff process. You can solve this with strong sales and marketing alignment. Without it, you run the risk of one of these creepy follow-ups that will likely turn off your prospects.
Lead Follow Up Problem 1: We got a live one!
If it has a pulse – it gets a call or an email. There’s a school of thought in some sales organizations that every lead that comes through your website needs to get handed off to sales immediately. If you have a well-established sales process that’s helpful, that may be ok. But if you’re still figuring things out and just want to get the contact in the hands of a hungry salesperson, it likely isn’t. The reality is just because someone subscribed to your blog or downloaded an awareness piece of content, doesn’t mean that they’re ready to buy, or that they’re even qualified to buy or ever will be.
Document lead qualification for your organization [here are some best practices]. What does a good lead look like? What’re the demographic indicators and buying signals that indicate this lead is ready for sales to take a look? You’ll gather demographic attributes from the form fields a prospect fills out (and potentially from your CRM tool if it can pull in additional data, like social media profiles). For buying signals, look at the content they are consuming – how engaged are they. Once they’re qualified, you can feel better passing the lead off to sales. This also will help avoid the dreaded “all the leads suck” conversation with sales in your weekly or monthly reporting meeting.
Lead Follow Up Problem 2: I see you
Your marketing team has put in a ton of time and effort to build content throughout the buyer’s journey. Even starting all the way back at the top of the funnel, in the awareness stage, where prospects are starting to research their pains and identify possible solutions. Marketers don’t create this content through the buyers funnel because they like TOFU, MOFU, and BOFU acronyms – they do it because it helps identify relevance and indicate buying signals (see above).
When you follow up with a lead and say, “ I saw you were on our website recently,” it’s creepy. It’s not relevant and it tells your prospect you aren’t paying attention.
Instead of a weird “I see you message”, give some context. I know that the form I filled out is going somewhere. So respond in kind.
Hi Mr. Prospect, I saw you recently downloaded our “guide to the selecting the ultimate widget for your hot need of the day.” Is the guide providing value?
I’d like to connect quick for 15 minutes and learn more about Acme Co and what lead you to seek out a guide like this. Here’s a link to my calendar, feel free to book a time that’s convenient for you.
Lead Follow Up Problem 3: Who’s on first?
Some set and forget a few too many autoresponders. Before you know it, your leads are getting email sequences from 6 different departments and no one is paying attention. Worse yet, no one is monitoring an inbox so when they respond pointing it out, no one is there to fix it.
Automation is great – and mistakes happen. But automation should always get some TLC to make sure that everything is working as expected. With any change to enrollment criteria, lists or properties, do a quick audit and make sure the trains are running smoothly so leads aren’t stuck getting 12 different follow-up emails from 6 different people every day for the next 21 days. It’s aggravating – and it happens.
Get sales and marketing on the same page
One of the best things you can do or your organization to avoid bad lead follow processes – is get sales and marketing aligned. Make sure there is an agreement around all their activity, including the lead handoff timing, procedure, and accountability.