As it stands, the idea of lead development is grossly underutilized by sales and marketing professionals today. There is this mindset that if a lead downloads a piece of content or engages with something on our site, they’re ready to be converted to an SQL; and that’s just not always the case. In reality, leads need a little more warming up to the fact that they’re not speaking to a live person rather than relying on their own internal narrative. Whether your lead development strategy is executed on by an SDR or a direct sales rep, one thing remains true- it’s hard. In fact, lead development is often hindered by the lack of a user experience. You need to enable your buyers to engage with your content, therein promoting conversations and lead conversions. So, what can you do to make sure you’re seeing the conversions you need, while keeping your leads excited to speak to your reps?
The Lead Development Cadence
A strong lead development cadence will involve a multi-touch strategy, spanning over a set amount of time. Most of the time, the length of time needed to convert a lead to an SQL is greatly underestimated. In reality, it takes about 18-25 touches to convert a lead. That means your lead sees your phone call, email, or LinkedIn message at least 18 times. Now think about just how many activities it takes to make that happen. On top of that, lead development is far too focused on “what we do” vs “why this matters to you.” A successful lead development cadence will be heavily influenced by personalization and specific value points. There’s also the idea of giving something to the prospect without expecting anything in return. This could be a free whitepaper they don’t have to download, a blog (not your own) that you might think they’ll enjoy, or even fun recommendations. The result of these actions often encourages the prospect to further research your brand more than if you had simply relied on sales-focused CTAs.
Cohesion Between Lead Development and Sales Strategy
Once a lead is converted to SQL, it’s common practice to hand it off to a direct sales rep. The handoff from a lead development rep usually results in the lead restarting the conversation with sales. That can be jarring to say the least. Alternatively, if both the lead development rep and the sales rep know the pain points the lead is experiencing, and why they chose to start a conversation, the transition is made easier by just continuing that narrative. You want to try and avoid the “close” too early. Try and lay out the next steps on what the lead can expect. Explain to them that the goal is to schedule a demo or discovery call, but also tell them you want to make sure everyone is on the same page before doing so. Think about it this way, if you’re deep in a conversation with someone about something you need to fix, and that person loops in someone new, and then leaves the conversation all together; you’re going to feel a little perturbed and even confused. You want to try to avoid that confusion and make the lead feel like the conversation never stopped.
Reinforcing Your Strategy Across all Channels
Nothing can ruin a lead development strategy faster than a confused rep. It’s important that all reps that are following a follow up cadence are in line with the various value points surrounding your brand and solutions. Just to mention it again, but cohesion in your narrative is incredibly important. If a buyer researches your solution on website and it says something different than what is being talked about over emails, you can bet they’re going to be confused. This brings up a good point on how to best utilize your website during the lead development cadence. If you’re doing things right, chances are, your prospects are going to end up on your website. That’s a good thing! Now all you have to do is to make sure the website is set up in a way to support the lead development and sales strategies. You want your reps to feel comfortable sending the leads to the website if needed. This means creating a content heavy site, set up for conversions. Make sure your website gets the point across on why certain solutions can work for you specific buyers. In doing this, you give your reps various tools to use while converting their leads, and you enable the prospect to educate themselves on how your solution can help them. In the end, you’ve effectively streamlined the process, shortened the sales cycle, and increased ROI.
A strong user experience to lead development certainly doesn’t stop with what’s talked about here. The main goal you should have when setting up your strategy is to make sure your leads are able to gather enough information, in an agile way, to help convert them to SQL. You want to prevent anything that could cause confusion or create a snag in the process. Lastly, you should test everything out. You’ll rarely strike gold with the first lead development strategy you create. Therefore, it’s important to track everything you do to make sure you can learn what works and what doesn’t.
If you want to learn more about how PureB2B tackles lead development, take a look here!
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