How to sell to Inbound Leads? See this complete guide to closing more deals
Check out the step-by-step instructions to start selling efficiently to the Leads your Inbound Marketing strategy is generating!
Any company needs to know one thing: the buying journey has changed, especially when Blue World City talk about the B2B market. Today your potential customers are better informed to make the decision to purchase a solution, product or service to solve their problem. This happens thanks to the work of Inbound Marketing!
When we generate contacts through this strategy, it is necessary to have a structure ready to reach your final objective, which is sales, transforming leads into actual customers. But after all, how to sell to Inbound Leads? What do we need to do to get good results?
Turning Leads into sales is a common challenge for those who invest in Inbound Marketing. To close deals in this model, it’s no use waiting for these contacts to turn into sales on their own, like magic. So what’s the secret?
In fact, we can summarize it as a series of 4 steps:
- Create a plan for your lead generation strategy;
- Delight your audience by delivering what they need at the right time;
- Maintain an ongoing relationship (we’ll see that Inbound sales often take a while to materialize);
- Deliver everything the Sales team needs to make more closes in less time.
It is precisely these steps on how to sell to Inbound Leads that we are going to talk about here. Follow now the tips and step by step!
It all starts with the Qualified Leads generation strategy
Lead generation is essentially the foundation of Inbound Marketing. The idea is to attract potential customers to your website or Landing Pages and have them provide some information, such as their name and an email address, in order to access relevant content at that moment.
This content can be an eBook, a tool, a template, a spreadsheet or even participation in a webinar or event. The important thing is that it is valuable enough for visitors to the page to hand over their data in exchange for access.
But then what? What happens after someone leaves data in one of your site’s forms? This answer is essential because this next step will tell you whether or not your company can close sales with Inbound Leads.
Sometimes, salespeople – for lack of a complete Lead generation strategy – begin to approach each and every Lead that enters the contact base based on the actions of the Marketing team. But bombarding someone with back-to-back calls and emails after a simple conversion to a form is not a good option.
We can only assume that, up to that point, the Lead has shown an interest in the content or offer offered. We cannot say, right from the start, that the person is interested in what your company sells. In this case, the scenario is simple to understand:
- If you approach a Lead that you just converted trying to sell something, the chance is much greater of leaving you frustrated and thinking “I didn’t want that!”
- If you don’t approach a Lead who has already accessed all of your materials, filled out contact request forms, and even tried to make that contact via email to learn more about your solutions, you will also frustrate the potential customer.
The examples show that the solution to any lead generation strategy is to create a qualification process. This step will help Marketing to generate effective results, directly impacting sales and, as a consequence, on the company’s actual results. And it all starts with defining MQLs.
Define what an MQL is
The acronym MQL stands for Qualified Marketing Lead or Qualified Lead by Marketing. In practice, MQL is a Lead that fits your company’s ideal audience. It is that person who, due to their characteristics and answers given in the conversion forms, has more chances to close a purchase.
The qualification process goes through defining which Lead profile represents an MQL for you. It is necessary to define the characteristics that make the Lead someone qualified are. Some items that can be included in this definition are:
- Geographic location;
- Company size;
- Company’s operating market;
- Level of technical knowledge;
- Number of previously downloaded materials;
- Type of material you are interested in.
This means that we can filter all Leads, through a Marketing Automation tool, to find these qualifying characteristics and divide your contact base between those who are qualified and those who are not.
A Qualified Lead is therefore a Lead that has passed these criteria, as opposed to an Unqualified Lead.
- Also check out → MQL: Complete guide to Qualified Leads by Marketing
Use Lead Scoring to qualify your Leads
Translating this qualification of Leads into practice involves using Lead Scoring. This is a technique used to create a ranking among your company’s contact base. It helps you to see clearly what your Qualified Leads are.
This prioritization is done through a note (hence the name “score”), which indicates which Leads are better or worse for your business, and which ones are “cold” or “hot”. In addition to the grade, we assign a profile – A, B, C or D – to each Lead.
Even though the two Leads have the same score, by no means should they be treated the same, as they both have very different characteristics. After all, which one would your Sales team prefer to approach first?
Because of the profile information, including a higher job title, the Lead Scoring technique places Lead A at a higher quality level than Lead B.
In practice, the main benefit of using this technique is to make marketing and Sales teams more efficient. But it also adds other benefits to the operation:
- The qualification of Leads is done automatically;
- Marketing identifies the best Leads, focusing on the relationship and engagement work with them;
- Information for the sales approach is much richer.
The Marketing team manages to do a more focused job on this qualification, while the Sales team receives better and better-prepared opportunities to purchase. But this is just the 1st step.
Define what a SAL is
In addition to defining what makes a Lead an MQL, we also need to define the SAL profile, which is equivalent to Sales Accepted Lead or Lead Accepted by Sales.
In short, a SAL is a Lead that is at the bottom of the funnel and that has had its profile analyzed and accepted by the Sales team. Here at RD Station, who does this work is an SDR (Sales Development Representative) from the pre-sales team.
SDR analyzes the Lead’s history, website, and profile to ensure that the Lead has purchase potential before actually contacting you. It is a validation by sales of the work previously done by Marketing.
This ensures that the contact is accurate and that only the Leads most likely to buy are actually approached, which increases productivity, especially when there is high volume.
You might ask yourself “yeah, but isn’t this already done in MQL qualification?” In some cases, even though the Lead has the proper profile and passed the Marketing qualification filter, there is information that can lead to blocking it for the next step. Some examples are:
- You are already a customer: when a customer is in the MQLs list, he must not be served by the sales team;
- No phone: if we can’t find the MQL phone number, the only form of communication would be email, which, in our experience, we’ve found greatly reduces the possibility of contact, especially in B2B sales. In this case, anyone who does not have a phone can be considered a disqualified Lead (one way out is to work with the contact via Email until you get this contact).
Next Steps for Selling to Inbound Leads
Now that your lead generation strategy has gone a step further and has started to qualify these contacts, we must take the next steps until we reach the sales stage.
The fact is that Leads, no matter how qualified, need some time to reach the final decision stage. Therefore, the key to being able to close new sales is to work with enchantment and relationships throughout the purchase journey.
Building these two pillars is important because people don’t remember the sales process, but the experience they had from the first contact with the brand.
Enchant the Lead on the first contact
For Lead, your company may be unknown. He probably doesn’t take the initiative without you starting a conversation first. So, we need to create an enchantment job. This starts with understanding the reasons why he downloaded materials or converted to his Landing Pages:
- Know your audience: You are talking to a decision-maker, an influencer, or maybe just someone who is researching options. Tailor the conversation to them;
- Speak the same language: use industry terms and company names that will allow you to establish credibility. This step is essential for generating the enchantment;
- Always be helpful: Provide tips, materials, lessons or other content to show the potential client that you understand their pain and how they can help. Each Lead needs to learn something from you to increase that enchantment with the brand.
Working on these points increases the chances of attracting attention and, consequently, the value that the potential customer sees throughout each contact with your company.
To learn more, check out the article getting in touch with the Lead: tips to delight your prospect right from the start.
Design your website to convert
In addition to these tips, we must not forget your goals:
- Generate Inbound Leads → Identify Qualified Leads → Generate Sales.
We need to remember this at this point because many companies may believe that, in order to delight their audience, they need to make radical changes to their websites and conversion pages. Of course changes can be made, but these pages always need to be designed to meet the goals. The first one is to generate conversions.
Yes, a website needs to look good, but appearance isn’t everything. If every page isn’t built around logic that promotes conversion points, then you’re unlikely to get good results.
To generate more leads, give people options. These options can include:
- Place a variety of Call to Actions (CTAs) on different pages;
- Experiment with new designs and improve the text of these CTAs;
- Using forms on the page itself;
- Leave calls for newsletter subscriptions;
- Use pop-ups or even catboats.
The paths to conversion are many, and giving these options is part of the process of enchantment and relationship.
Use smart forms
Although you want all the information at once on the first Lead conversion, we know you will increase page conversion if you use a shorter form. This eliminates barriers when the Lead converts.
To get the most information without sacrificing your conversion rate, the best option is to rely on smart forms. Here’s how it works: every time your Lead fills out a Landing Page form, you’ll be collecting new information over time, keeping your forms short and simple to complete.
Avoiding asking for the same information, since you have it saved, also helps generate the enchantment. This allows you to accumulate more data from each of your Leads without causing friction when converting.
The RD Station Marketing, a leading tool in Marketing Automation in Latin America, which allows you to create intelligent forms in all its Landing Pages, just asking what you do not have information about your contacts. You can do this with the drag & drop editor, which is very easy to use.
Start with the relationship phase
The relationship after the first contact with your company is essential if you are thinking about how to sell to Inbound Leads. The main objective of making this relationship is not only to win, but also to retain customers, in addition to making them become advocates of the brand.
Another objective is to become a reference in the market, mainly due to the good experiences offered to users. To achieve all this, the company basically creates a relationship in which it offers advantages to its customers and prospects through well-structured communication actions.
With the use of Leads segmentations, you have a way to improve the relationship with groups of contacts that have similar characteristics or interests. We were able to create a filter that selects Leads from the base that have specific information, creating a dynamic list.
With this, it is possible to create targeted Marketing actions, talking directly to the needs of that group of Leads through an Email Marketing campaign, for example.
In this way, segmentation represents a way to facilitate the relationship, delivering different content and information for each Lead. But it also helps to find answers such as:
- Is the buyer still in the awareness stage, trying to determine what their problem is?
- Are you still investigating solutions?
- Or are they ready to make a purchase decision?
Knowing this helps not only to better understand the timing of each Lead, but also to avoid a stronger sales approach with potential customers who are not ready to receive yet.
The answers to these questions also help you determine which contacts to approach quickly.
Maintain the relationship with Marketing Automation
The turning point to improve the relationship with your Leads base is to use automated actions. In practice, it is possible to nurture these Leads much more efficiently using Marketing Automation.
Automating marketing actions and processes helps reduce manual labor and increase action efficiency. We can consider Marketing Automation the main tool to nurture and advance Leads until the moment of purchase.
Using automation means understanding and acting, in a personalized and scalable way, with the people who interact with your company in different online channels. It is to understand exactly the Lead’s interest and its purchase stage, giving it all the information it needs at any given time in an automated way.
With automation, much of the relationship with the Lead is done over time without the need for manual effort. Of course, there is a lot of effort in creating the flows that different audiences should follow, but when they are adjusted, there is no need to start from scratch all the time.
Working with automation means that you will talk to the right person, at the right time and in the best communication channel for them. This is a way of taking a step forward, generating value and proposing to deliver something that will solve the problem that each person has at that moment.
Remember that RD Station Marketing is the ideal tool to start creating your automation flows in practice!
5 Final Steps to Close Sales with Inbound Leads
With all the marketing work done, you’ve found the ideal opportunities to close new sales! Since Leads entered your base, we have already managed to:
- Qualify contacts in MQL or not, according to Lead Scoring;
- Capture new information from Leads with the Smart Form;
- Start the relationship by talking to the right Leads from the segments;
- Implement automated flows to continue taking each contact to the purchase decision stage.
This structure is the foundation that needs to be implemented to sell to Inbound Leads. With this organization, you will have at hand contacts rich in information and prepared to receive an approach from the sellers.
What does that mean? That your Sales team now has everything it needs to convert them into actual customers!
We will list below the 5 final steps that your sales area must take to gain new customers.
1. Start with Leads with the most potential to approach
Leads are passed on by the Marketing team, according to the profile and interest of each contact and following criteria established by the Sales area.
However, as this first filter is done en masse, we have already seen that some Leads may pass out of the ideal scenario, which will later be rejected for sales (they will not be considered as SAL). The key now is to create a ranking among the SALs to find those with the greatest closing potential.
Starting by approaching those most likely to become a customer will save your Sales team from wasting a lot of time and energy. So before calling Leads as they arrive, do a pre-check to create a priority ranking.
You can set an automatic trigger to create this prioritization. Want an example? After the team validates which SALs will receive an approach, you can specify this rule: if the Lead is from a specific segment – from Retail, for example – it rises to the 1st position in the list.
In the case of your company, it could be the Industry segment or any other, if it has a positive history of converting to sales. Likewise, other companies can use the number of employee’s information to determine approach priorities.
Without defined criteria and execution of the sales team at this stage, you run the risk of passing Leads with no clear potential to your salespeople, or, even worse, blocking Leads that could become a sale right now.
2. Research the Lead context and prepare for the first sales approach
The worst thing that can happen is being approached by a salesperson who hasn’t done their homework before talking to you.
On the internet, it is possible to obtain a lot of information about companies and people before the first contact. Here at RD Station, for example, we can have the history of Leads interactions with our website using RD Station Marketing itself. This is done from the Lead Tracking functionality.
It is possible to know not only the position and the company, but also:
- All downloaded materials;
- Visited pages;
- Automation flows that passed;
- Emails you received, opened and clicked.
All of them can be used to plan your sale and start the conversation with the Lead.
3. Try to contact in different ways, up to a pre-defined limit
Now that you know what you’re going to say when Lead says his first hello, the goal is to get him to talk. We use prospecting by email and phone, but it is possible to use other forms of prospecting as well, such as Whatsapp, LinkedIn, Facebook, among other networks.
We realized that a very relevant factor in this step is the pace and speed with which you get in touch after the last Qualified Lead conversion. The faster the approach, the greater the chance of catching the Lead thinking about it.
On the other hand, setting a maximum try limit helps not to be boring. In our experience, 8 to 10 attempts, 3 by email, are enough to contact at least 75% of the Leads considered qualified.
In the last email, it’s worth adding a farewell message saying you won’t get back in touch. However, it is also valid to say that, if he wants to reactivate the contact, he can do it through his phone or email. Here at RD, this is one of the emails with the highest response rate (perhaps because of the feeling of loss).
If you’re having trouble thinking of an email template, it’s worth checking out post 14 tips to create an email presentation for your company.
4. Build the right solution for the Lead’s needs
Most of the time, your company sells something that already exists, regardless of what the Lead has given information. But there is a better way to sell directly to Inbound Leads.
It is necessary to understand in advance, of everything you sell, what really interests the customer. What will make it easier for him to overcome the barrier between what he is currently doing and the success you can deliver through your product?
Sellers often fail to build complex solutions, which generate a sense of paralysis in the Lead. He ends up doing nothing for fear of putting it all into practice.
Therefore, after having diagnosed the Lead’s situation, we need to think about what will be presented to him as a solution to what he presented as a problem, so that this solution is adopted by him with the least effort so that it evolves little by little.
5. Know how to handle objections in case of “no”
If your Sales team reaches the end of the process with Inbound Leads and still has a “no” answer, you will need to deal with objections. One of the most important points we see when dealing with objections is to understand what is behind them.
When someone says he has no money, what does he really mean? I don’t have money or I don’t see value in what you offer me? Or am I broke and actually can’t pay what you’re asking me to because I can’t get a loan?
Can you figure out what the person means behind what they’re talking about? If so, and if that’s the only thing holding her back from starting a business with you, you’ve just turned the “no” into a “yes”!
And how to sell to the Inbound Lead who is not a decision maker?
This is a very common question since, in a purchase process, there are several involved:
- The decision maker is the one responsible for the final decision on which solution to buy;
- The user is a fundamental person, as he is the one who will benefit from the solution;
- Influencers, on the other hand, are other actors involved in choosing the solution, but who are not responsible for approval.
Often, the Lead in contact with the seller is a user, who needs to convince other people to make the purchase. Does this mean that these Leads should be discarded for this? No! In such cases, the seller can help the Lead sell to the decision maker.
The seller can follow these tips:
- First, make sure the user is convinced that this product or service will improve their life;
- Then find out if he has the ability to buy or any bargaining power within the company;
- Have a well-defined value proposition, such as “we will reduce your acquisition cost by 20%”, which will help the user to sell the solution to the decision maker;
- Work collaboratively with the user to approve the purchase internally, helping with any questions that arise;
- Include the decision maker when you see the need. At some point, he’s going to need to get involved.
BONUS: How to assemble a team of salespeople to work with Inbound Leads?
In addition to following these tips on how to sell to Inbound Leads, building the entire base with marketing actions, the company can also build a Sales team that will be more successful in this type of negotiation.
Thinking about the B2B market, good tips on how to do this are in the book Challenger Sale, by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson.
The authors conducted an extensive field survey, following thousands of salespeople from companies from different segments, to understand why some professionals are more successful than others, and identified five types of salespeople:
- the hard worker, or worker
- the challenger, or challenger,
- the problem solver, or problem solver
- the lonely wolf, or lonely
- and the relationship builder, or relationship builder
The survey found that challengers sell more because they offer unique perspectives on the customer’s business, teaching them to differentiate themselves from the competition. Plus, your message is personalized for each potential customer you talk to. Finally, the challenger controls the sales process from start to finish.
Therefore, the company can focus on building a team of challengers, which is done not only with good hires, but also with training and practice.
And now, how about putting into practice all the steps we’ve seen here to sell to Leads generated via Inbound? For this, it is important to have an all-in-one tool, which brings together the main resources of Digital Marketing in one place for its operation to be more effective.
So the final tip is: start the RD Station Marketing free trial! With it, your company can do better campaigns, nurture Leads, generate qualified business opportunities and achieve more results. From social networks to email, from Landing Pages to Pop-ups, from Automation to Analysis of your results.
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