‘Last week, at the cultural festival in my college, I met this sales agent, who voluntarily told me about this fantastic mobile phone application, that kept students constantly updated on the application and exam dates of various universities they might want to apply. Two days later, I decided to give them a call and visit their office, which also provided counselling.’
The paragraph above, just describes two stages of marketing cycle: Inbound and Outbound leading. People call them ‘kinds’, but I prefer to go with ‘stages’, because one without the other, will not give you maximum returns. Even, not following up with one of them renders your marketing endeavors useless. This article will tell you why.
Leads are potential sales contacts; people who might potentially give your company profits, who might buy your products.
Now, these sales contacts can be reached in two ways. One, you can directly mail or call them, advertise on the internet or other media. Known as inbound marketing, these strategies will generate inbound leads.
The other is through ‘Out Bound’ marketing, when you put up stalls in carnivals or engage in door to door sales.
“How are they different?” you may ask. They are, very. Inbound leads, having no prior knowledge of your product, take the initiative to call you. They are the ones who read up your pamphlet or take your ads seriously and want to talk to you to know more.
Outbound leads, on the other hand, didn’t ask to be badgered by your sales rep. They are the ones, who simply come to a concert to amuse themselves, only to be subjected to your agent’s rant about your product. They do listen, sometimes, to be nice. And a lot of times, don’t really listen.
You might be able to infer, from this explanation, that inbound leads are genuinely interested in your product, at least in the beginning. Only your persistence will make the interest profitable for the both of you.
What do you do after a potential lead has called you? Do a jig, and be happy that your product has reached someone. Great! But it doesn’t stop with that. There are five things you need to remember.
1. Haste makes no waste
You need to follow–up with them and follow-up quick! Statistics show that 75% of sales processes are successful when you follow-up a lead within 48 hours of their call. Too long, and they’ll probably forget about you.
2. Let the follow-up be ‘valuable’
Call them first. Most people might give you their e-mail ID and assure you that they check it regularly, but they won’t, or they’ll probably ignore your mail. Calling works best, also because you get to hear the reaction of the person on the other end, and you’ll know if you’re having any effect.
3. Simplicity or Lucidity?
They both mean the same. But most people use the word simplicity more and easily comprehend it. The same way, spare your follow-up of complex jargon that might intimidate the lead. “Most people seem to enjoy listening to “four keys to calling campaign success,” than “detailed marketing metrics analysis” though the second one might be more educative”, says Patrick Cahill, marketing resource person.
4. Do not clutter
Keep it crisp and brief. A lot of marketing champions recommend that the follow-up call should center around the content for only 5-10 minutes (of 30) while the rest can be intuitive questions like “How did this compare with your previous experience?” etc. Comparisons usually help leads remember your products better, especially if it has a distinctive feature.
Also, it’s better to maintain the tone friendly during call follow-ups. This does not mean, be casual, your tone can be professional, yet put the lead at ease.
5. Patience pays!
The lead need some time to breathe, recollect the information they’ve gained and make a practical choice. Bombarding them with calls and mails won’t help. Call them; send them an e-mail, a voice mail. By the fourth and final time, you should get a lot of responses, believes Cahill.
The best way to handle any lead is to put you in their shoes. We all realize we take the place of a customer, for one product or the other, even if we run our own organization. Empathizing and not cornering is the key to generating more leads.
The writer of this article,Ankitha Ramakrishnan is currently a student of Psychology, has written online content for magazines and worked as a reporter for the print media.