Leads are vital to the long-term success and health of your business. However, many sales teams struggle with not only generating leads, but also with lead scoring and managing prospects throughout the sales funnel. These mistakes often drive away inbound leads rather than bringing them in.
In order to avoid these mistakes, it is vital to work with your sales team to understand the process of managing inbound leads and identify pain points where these mistakes are likely to occur.
Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common mistakes you should avoid with inbound sales leads.
1) Not identifying what a qualified lead is for your sales org
The truth is that not all leads are considered equal. Some inbound leads have more potential than others, and each one will most likely have different ways that it needs to be nurtured in order to close. The first step is making sure that your sales team has:
- Clear idea of what a qualified is.
- Ways to critically evaluate leads to define who is a fit to the target persona.
- Which leads should be moved through the sales funnel.
Once you have a working definition of what a qualified lead looks like, it is crucial that sales and marketing work together and establish a process for managing and tracking these leads.
Every business and sales team will have a different lead qualification process and use different methods. You can rely on some of the traditional approaches like BANT, CHAMP, or MEDDIC, or another good way to do it is by using real-time data enrichment.
It is often too easy to let leads slip through the cracks, but having a proper lead qualification process in place will help mitigate this.
2) Unsuccessful lead prioritization
The first point directly ties into this one. Without having a process to qualify leads, or really defining what this means, there is no real way to prioritize qualified leads from those who are more likely to be just wasting your sales reps precious time. This means that sales teams are not able to manage their time efficiently, and might be chasing endeavors that are less worthwhile than others.
There are different ways of prioritizing your most sales ready leads. If you rely mainly on inbound lead generation, a good interest indicator would be how your inbound leads engage with your newsletter campaigns.
- Do they even open the emails you send them?
- Do they click on the links which you attach?
- What are the actions they take on your website once they have clicked on a link?
Their on-site behaviour reveals a lot about their level of interest and purchase intent. If they only visit the page you referred them to or only check your homepage they might not be truly interested in your product or service.
On the other hand, if they play around and visit different pages (like the pricing page or schedule a demo page for example) they are more likely to be interested in what you’re selling to them. And with intelligent website tracking solutions you can get all this information and prioritize your inbound leads based on their actions on your website.
3) Not getting enough information from leads
The right information is crucial, for both the buyer and the seller. Leads must receive the right information about the product. And sales teams should know what information leads already have, and what aspects they still need to know. Without a process to address this both reps and prospects waste time going over repeated information. This further draws out the overall time of engagement.
One solution to mitigate this issue is to create and implement processes.
For example, specific forms and call scripts can help define the knowledge and intent of the buyer right from the outset. This way, reps can reach out to their inbound leads at the right level of engagement and are better prepared overall.
4) Not establishing a handoff process
Your inbound team is only part of the organization – so what happens when they transfer the lead? Do you have a handoff SLA in place when one team transfers inbound leads to another? If not, this can lead to a veritable amount of confusion, repeated information, and leads falling through the cracks.
Having a handoff process is vital. Teams need access to all of the information in a timely manner to ensure they do not lose the interest of the inbound lead, and are able to maintain a timely level of service and care during the process. Without this, teams quickly become inefficient and unresponsive, which reflects badly overall.
The team at SalesLoft came up with a great SLA template to help you get started in implementing a formal handoff process.
5) Not responding fast enough to qualified leads
As we all know, timing is (still) King in the world of sales. Being able to spot sales ready leads and reach out to them in in a timely way is golden. Which means you should not only successfully qualify and prioritize your leads, but also react immediately after they have taken an action and expressed an interest.
Speed and convenience are crucial to sales. Teams that are able to match these demands are the ones that see success. Evaluate your current response times to understand where the pain points are, and what solutions can be implemented in order to improve the response time. Are there parts of the process that can be automated? If not, what tools can sales teams use to keep on top of their correspondence with leads?
For example, teams that have tried calling back inbounds right away have seen massive increases in their conversion rates – and the numbers definitely do not lie. Simply encouraging sales teams to respond to inbound leads right away can make a massive difference in the overall process.
The core message of these mistakes is simple. Processes must be in place in order to ensure a smooth sale each time. Creating and implementing measures that address speed, convenience and information will greatly help engagement with inbound leads and create a sales pipeline that is filled with viable options. Developing these processes is absolutely essential for the long-term success of your business, and will definitely yield the right results.