As an Inbound Writer for Lean Labs, Melissa writes about high-converting websites and customer-centric marketing. She's an avid traveler, with trips to Iceland, Ukraine, and Portugal under her belt. She currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with her dog, Morrie.
As a business owner, it's hard to shake one fundamental idea: there's no such thing as too many website leads. The more website leads, the more customers you can get, right? That's why so many companies invest in lead generation in the first place. However, as the Founder of Inside Sales Ken Krogue points out, focusing too much on increasing leads will lose you leads in the long-term.
Because as it stands, only 27% of leads get spoken to by sales teams. Over time, those connections end up sitting in your CRM, taking up space and waiting for the next email list scrub. That's how a lot of companies end up with a list of contacts that don't hold much value. And even if you are regularly engaging with incoming leads, and they're not converting into customers, something is wrong.
To avoid wasting your time and budget moving forward, fixing your lead nurturing problem needs to be your top priority.
How You're Losing Your Website Leads
When you don't follow up with a contact, potential customers will find new solutions. Life goes on. They change their email addresses or switch companies. In the dating world, this is equal to the pretty girl giving you her phone number, you not calling her, then questioning why she never went out with you.
Alternatively, if you are engaging with your customers but not having a lot of success, there may be other issues at hand. Maybe you did take the pretty girl out, but you ate with your mouth full during dinner. Perhaps during your conversations, you only spoke about yourself and didn't ask enough about her.
It's not that different from lead nurturing. If your company is taking part in any of the following practices, you will continue to miss out on customers.
#1. Ineffective or Non-Existent Nurturing
Right now, if I go to your website and fill out a form (any form), what will happen? If the answer isn't an instantaneous email, the work you need to do with lead nurturing starts here. Whether they're downloading an offer on your website or requesting a demo, an immediate email provides value to your customer and establishes their next step.
The most popular workflow is a welcome series, which we use at Lean Labs regularly to spark engagement with new leads. Ashley Gwilliam, one of our inbound writers, says it's the best way to connect with these potential customers.
"Here you can introduce readers to your best-performing articles, resources of particular interest and even case studies of past clients toward to the end," she recommends.
With a strategic nurturing email sequence, you can discuss the problem or challenge the customer is trying to solve and provide guidance and subject matter expertise. You want to deliver at least 200% above their expectations and provide an ongoing flow of incredibly valuable information.
#2. Little to No Lead Management
When leads filter in, where do they go? For many companies, the answer is a CRM (in fact, we use HubSpot vs. Salesforce.) But after that, what happens? To master lead nurturing, you also need to conduct lead management, which requires keeping your list updated and clean.
You should also segment the leads in your CRM by other characteristics, such as their lifecycle stage, the potential of them becoming a customer (otherwise known as lead scoring) or which buyer persona they are. That way, you can craft sequences and series with messages that are highly relevant to their situation, motivation, and expectation.
#3. Website Content and Resources Don't Answer Key Questions
Whenever customers start seeking solutions, they can feel anxious and hesitant. That's why during the nurturing process, you must address your customer's objections. Even as you're reading this article, you're experiencing real challenges that stem from an inability to nurture your leads, right?
The failure to improve your conversion rate is making you feel inadequate at your job or resulting in increasing pressure from your boss. You're a real person with real problems, feelings, and frustrations, and your leads are, too. To gain their trust, you create messaging and content that speaks to their real day-to-day problems and answer the most critical questions they have.
When developing that copy or content, imagine that you're not selling anything at all. If this were a friend or co-worker, what recommendations would you make? If you could give them any resource to solve their problem, what would it be?
Without answers to their problems, the lead will move on.
#4. Poor Sales and Marketing Alignment
Your team needs complete alignment to keep lead nurturing going. There needs to be a system in place for marketing and sales to capture, organize, and move contacts to the next correct next step. Otherwise, leads will trickle in aimlessly. We use a process to achieve this alignment, through email, phone, and automated sequences.
When a lead requests a quote, they get an auto-response email that our marketing teams sets up, promising a response "as soon as possible." The auto-response can be as simple as:
(And yes, sharp of eye, that thumbnail is Robin Wright.)
After the lead submits the form, our sales team gets a notification. We use a Slack and HubSpot integration to ping us when new opportunities come in, helping us identify and contact potentially scorching hot leads sooner. Then, someone from our team (Kevin) brings the conversation offline.
After the email auto-response, Kevin will follow up with our "patented" (not really) 0.1 , 0.5, 1, 3 5 14 sequence via phone. Each number stands for the amount of time you should wait before pursuing a conversation.
0.1 = A phone call within 0.1 days or one hour. If it goes to voicemail, you leave one with a simple message such as:"Sorry I missed you this morning, I'll try back after lunch!"
0.5 = Then, Kevin follows up again a half day later. If he misses them, he will leave another message and mention that he will reach out to them by phone and email tomorrow (the 1).
1.0 = He tries one last time the next day. If he gets a voicemail, he leaves a message.
If the contact answers at any point, you can start a conversation. On the phone, you want to follow the same process, so the entire team knows how the discussions tend to go, and each lead gets a similar experience.
Try an opener like our U-V-P approach, which stands for:
- Understanding what their needs are.
- Practicing vulnerability and be willing to accept if it's not the right fit for you or the customer.
- Promising to help them take the next step, even if you're not that next step.
Even if they didn't answer the phone this time, you haven't lost them yet. Since leads submit forms to trigger this, they should also be in a nurturing sequence at this point.
We use HubSpot to set up sequences. With HubSpot, you can reuse the same template, and insights from the performance of them to optimize and make changes. In my opinion, the best sequences to send are ones that end in a question, such as:
- What answers can I provide?
- Do you still want help with __?
- Is it safe to say you've solved this problem? I don't to be bothersome.
The sequence will stop if the lead replies to one of the emails, putting you in another position to engage with them on a call.
To master this kind of alignment, exceptional marketing automation software and a robust CRM make all the difference. Typically, issues arise when your team don't know how to handle incoming leads collaboratively and lack the technology to do so. With the right tools in place, you can create a process that works for your entire team, and help them hold each other accountable.
What You Don't Know About Your Website Leads
The most common challenges that come with lead nurturing stem from a lack of compassion and understanding of your ideal customers. As a best practice, you should envision yourself as the potential lead. You want to align yourself with them using buyer personas, the buyer journey, and even a customer journey mapping exercise. With more insight into their experiences, you can develop better lead nurturing tactics.
However, it can be challenging to build a lead nurturing process that fits in with the rest of your marketing and sales strategy. We use a series of strategy documents to inform all of our decisions, from content creation to website redesign. In our SprocketRocket Strategy Kit, you can access one-page templates that help you document every critical insight about your customer that will help you build stronger, more successful collateral, landing pages, emails, and more.
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