B2B Lead Generation 101: Strategies, Best Practices, and Software

B2B Lead Generation 101: Strategies, Best Practices, and Software

You know that a full sales pipeline is imperative for business growth. Without an airtight system for B2B lead generation in place, you’re sure to slow down your already hard-working sales team.

At first, B2B lead generation might seem like a complex process, but don’t let that discourage you. In this article, you’ll learn the three essential components you must have for an effective system of B2B lead generation:

  • Strategy – the digital channels you use to attract your clients
  • Best practices – the details you must include to make sure those channels work well
  • Tools – the software that will ensure your system is optimized and automated

With these components in mind, you’ll be able to craft a system that appeals to your ideal buyers and starts generating leads quickly and with less effort.

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is the process of identifying new prospects for your sales team to pursue. It includes three main stages:

  1. Gaining prospects’ attention and guiding them to your site, often through content marketing or traditional advertising
  2. Capturing their information with a lead magnet, form, or by identifying anonymous website visitors on your site
  3. Assessing that information to determine which are the highest quality leads

An optimized lead generation strategy can deliver increased ROI for your marketing budget by filling a sales pipeline on autopilot. It saves your sales team the frustration of cold calling or cold emailing, helping keep productivity and morale high.

The Top Strategies for B2B Lead Generation

There are several different strategies for gaining prospects’ attention. Which of the following or combination of the following you should use will depend upon the online behavior of your ideal buyer.

Social Media

Facebook has several different ad formats, but Facebook Lead Ads are specifically designed for lead generation. They appear in a user’s Facebook feed whether they’re on desktop or mobile:

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If the user is interested in learning more about the product or service, they click the ad and a form appears. Facebook pre-populates the form with their information so there are only a few taps between you and a newly qualified lead.

Secret Entourage, a mentorship service for entrepreneurs, reportedly restructured and streamlined their ad strategy by focusing on Lead Ads. Compared to their original campaign, the new one led to 40% more purchases with 88% fewer ad sets. They were also able to lower their cost per purchase by 10%.

While this case study shows promise, the average click-through rate (CTR) of Facebook ads for B2B companies is 0.78%, while the average CTR across all industries is 0.9%.

A more effective platform for social media ads may be LinkedIn. LinkedIn Sponsored Content are native ads that run in a user’s LinkedIn feed across desktop and mobile:

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Although similar in form and function to Facebook image ads, LinkedIn ads are proven to generate more leads for B2B companies. According to the company’s content marketing blog, 80% of B2B leads generated through social media come from LinkedIn.

It makes sense why. A sizable chunk of LinkedIn users are in the position to make purchasing decisions for their companies. Of its 500 million members, 61 million are senior-level influencers and 40 million are decision makers.

Several case studies back up the claim that LinkedIn is the king of B2B marketing on social media. Simplus, a Salesforce partner, saw 70% of their website form fills come directly from LinkedIn. As a result, they’re shifting most of their ad spend to the platform.

HubSpot took a look at their customer’s results with LinkedIn Sponsored Content and found similarly promising results:

While LinkedIn has a higher cost per click (CPC) than Google Ads, the conversion rate is twice as high. This leads to a lower cost per lead overall.

PPC Ads

Don’t write off Google Ads or other pay-per-click (PPC) ads just yet. These are some of the most popular channels for lead generation, and there are benefits to having them as a part of your lead generation strategy.

Data for 2018 indicates that the average CTR for B2B companies is 2.41% within the search network and 0.46% within the display network.

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The average conversion rate for B2B industries is 3.04% in the search network and 0.8% in the display network.

While both the CTR and conversion rate for B2B ads is lower than most other industry averages, there are countless case studies out there that demonstrate the effectiveness of PPC ads for B2B businesses.

Digital marketing agency SevenAtoms executed a campaign that included Google Ads for Imperva Incapsula, a cyber security SaaS company. The results speak for themselves:

In this case, it definitely paid for Imperva Incapsula to have an experienced agency on their team to get the most out of their PPC ad budget.

If you’re interested in other PPC ad options, consider review directories such as FinancesOnline, G2, or Capterra. These platforms can have lead conversion rates as high as 24%, making them solid alternatives for companies who are more concerned about their budget.

Capterra is a review directory dedicated to software, making it the perfect choice for SaaS companies. In Capterra, companies can pay to be a sponsored post so they rank at the top of a search:

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The “Visit Website” button in this example takes visitors to a landing page tailor-made for that ad. Leads acquired through this channel are clearly searching for a software solution, making them highly qualified.

Blogging

Blogging is a popular method of content marketing for B2B companies, and for good reason. Blogging gives businesses a chance to:

  • Answer prospects’ questions
  • Demonstrate their expertise
  • Show what makes them unique in a sea of competitors
  • Provide excellent service before any money has ever changed hands

 

To a potential customer, all these qualities can help increase their trust in your business. Provided you give them an opportunity to fill out a form for more information somewhere within the blog post or on the page, blogging can be an effective way of collecting leads.

Oren Smith from Precision Marketing Group shared one case study where his team was able to increase leads by +250% for their brand by blogging three times a week.

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They were also able to increase organic traffic by 182%, ensuring that their visibility on search engines would continue to grow.

HubSpot also knows that blogging is a major asset for their business. 90% of their leads each month come from posts on HubSpot that were published months or years ago.

Email

No matter the changing trends in social media or content marketing, email continues to be a valuable form of lead generation and nurturing. For every dollar spent on email marketing, businesses can earn $43.

In order to stand out, it pays to be thoughtful about the quality of emails you’re sending. There’s no sense in flooding a subscriber’s already crowded inbox.

Hammock, a B2B content marketing agency, thought creatively about its newsletter. It came up with the !dea Email, or one “bright idea” in a single email. Each email includes a single landscape image accompanied by about 350 words of copy.

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By focusing on a simple, interesting concept sent every two weeks, Hammock was able to boost their open rates by 48%. They cut through the clutter of subscribers’ inboxes by adhering to the principle of more is less.

The 8 Best Practices for B2B Lead Generation

Now that you know the strategies of lead generation, it’s time to hone in on the details. These best practices will make sure your system for lead generation is airtight.

Tailor Marketing to Different Buyer Personas

Your business should have at least one buyer persona so that you know exactly how to structure your marketing and lead generation efforts. Knowing your ideal buyer will help you know where you should direct your ad spend and what kind of content you should be creating to attract them.

Not all prospects with decision-making or purchasing power will have the same online behaviors. For example, Pew research found that Twitter usage among U.S. adults drops as age increases. On the other hand, 61% of LinkedIn users are in the 30 to 64-year-old age range. You may be able to reach some mid-level decision makers on Twitter, as well as some senior-level influencers on LinkedIn.

Be Mobile-Friendly

If there’s only one best practice to follow, let it be this one.

In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated by mobile users. That means there’s a good possibility that over half of the visitors to your site could be viewing it on their phone.

If your site isn’t built to be mobile-friendly, then chances are you’re losing a devastating amount of leads – and sales.

Optimize Your Website

Even if your site has a professional design and is mobile-friendly, you still might be losing visitors before they have a chance to become viable leads. Use Google Analytics to view an overview of behavior flow so you can see exactly where and how much traffic is dropping off.

This will help you hone in on what pages are attracting and retaining visitors, and what pages still need some work. You can then use tools like Hotjar (discussed in a later section) to get even more specific and discover exactly what elements on a page are working well and what needs to be updated.

Use Video Content

There are a few powerful statistics that suggest that video content can drive significant traffic for your website. A white paper from Cisco states that internet video traffic made up 69% of all global consumer internet traffic in 2017.

Meanwhile, a report from HubSpot showed that when given the choice to skim or consume thoroughly, 55% of users will pay close attention to video – more than any other type of content analyzed.

Create Long-Form Blog Content Consistently

Just because video is a powerful content marketing tool doesn’t mean that you should ignore blogging. Long-form content is still king when it comes to generating traffic from search engine results. In fact, posts with at least 2,000 words are more likely to rise to the top of search engines than any other article length.

Keywords alone won’t ensure the top spot on search engines. To increase your ranking, create high-quality articles and guides on a regular basis so that Google knows your site is relevant and engaging. This also increases your brand awareness and credibility with leads.

Capture Leads on Every Site Page

Your blog and video content gives visitors a reason to come to your site, so be sure to give them an opportunity to stay. At least one newsletter sign-up form, comment form, trial sign-up button, or other lead capturing form should be available on each page of your site.

To make capturing leads through forms even more effective, structure your content so that it naturally segues into the sign-up form. Be sure to test and analyze how well each page or post is at capturing leads, then adjust accordingly.

Use Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are offers such as white papers, ebooks, or other free resources that are used to entice visitors into giving you their information. These resources also help you qualify leads, as they can help indicate the lead’s needs and pain points.

To create an irresistible lead magnet, follow these examples and come up with a resource that solves a problem, is specific, easy to digest, and has high actual and perceived value.

Score Captured Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Lead scoring is the process of generating a number, typically between one and 100, that shows just how qualified that lead is. The process can be done manually with a formula, although this is time-consuming and has a lot of variables.

Luckily, there are some options for automating the lead scoring process, as you’ll see in the next section.  

The 8 Best Tools for Optimizing B2B Lead Generation

All these strategies and best practices might seem overwhelming, but there are several tools to help you automate, execute, and optimize your lead generation strategy. Best of all, many of these tools are free or free to get started.

Best Lead Scorer: LeadBoxer

B2B lead generation

LeadBoxer doesn’t just score leads captured through forms or lead magnets on your site. It’s able to identify 50% of site visitors who would otherwise remain anonymous. Not only that, it can populate data such as contact information, the prospect’s industry, and their specialty.

LeadBoxer also tracks visitors’ online behavior while they engage with your brand (website visits, social media engagement, email opens, ad clicks, etc.) It uses this information to automatically calculate a lead score, which tells your sales team who is most likely to convert.a

This saves your team time, increases sales, boosts morale, and ultimately saves you money.

 

Best Landing Page Creator: Instapage

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Price: Professional Plan – $11.25/month, Turbo Plan – $41.25/month

Free trial: Yes + limited free forever plan

What it’s all about:

LimeLeads is a great tool for sales prospecting as it doesn’t cooperate with fake data.

The tool was built by a bunch of B2B marketing veterans that were sick of a lack of credible data being available. Its main goal is getting you prospect lists that are accurate.

The tool integrates with CRMs and will enable sales teams to put together a list of prospects in 30 seconds or less.

 

Salespanel.io

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Thanks to an intuitive interface and a slew of features, Instapage is the perfect tool for building landing pages that integrate seamlessly with your PPC advertising campaign.

You can easily optimize pages for lead generation by using features like heatmaps, A/B testing, mobile-responsive pages, and drop-in pixel tracking for easy remarketing. Best of all, Instapage’s drag-and-drop interface is user-friendly, negating the need for a web designer to get your campaign started.

With Instapage, you can create several landing pages that are individually tailored to target unique buyer personas, all with a few clicks of the mouse.

 

Best Site Optimizer: Hotjar

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While Instapage has several features that help you create optimized landing pages, you need to make sure the rest of your website is working just as hard for your business. A well-optimized website is an essential part of the user experience and can generate more leads, regardless of whether or not they discovered your brand through a landing page.

Hotjar tracks users’ journeys through your site and shows you exactly where they’re dropping off and why. Powerful tools like heatmaps, visitor recordings, form analysis, and feedback polls eliminate all the guesswork about why certain visitor behavior is happening and what can be done to improve their journey.

 

Best Social Media Automation: Buffer

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A robust social media presence helps your business establish credibility and trust. Luckily, you don’t need an overly complex strategy or need to devote a lot of time and manpower to sustaining your social presence.

A tool like Buffer keeps all your posts organized and automated. Use it to schedule posts in advance, then review the analytics to see how well posts are performing.

Buffer also collects conversations from your followers in one inbox, making it easy to respond to questions or comments about your business.

 

Best Content Planner: Google Analytics and Keyword Planner

Creating high-quality blog content that visitors will find extremely useful and interesting is one of the best ways to attract new leads. Free tools like Google Analytics and Keyword Planner can help you pick article topics that are sure to perform well.

Keyword Planner is actually a function of Google Ads, but it can help you pick blog topics, too. Use it to check out average monthly searches and competition for a potential keyword and its variations. You can quickly see if there’s an interested audience, room to rise to the top of the search page, or a keyword variation where your future content might perform better.

With Google Analytics, you can observe user behavior on your site and see what content you’ve previously published is performing the best. With this insight, you can plan follow-up content to build on the success you’ve already had.

 

Best Email Drip: Mailchimp

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One of the best ways to nurture leads and keep your brand top-of-mind is through email campaigns.

Mailchimp makes it easy to visualize, create, and test welcome email sequences designed with conversions in mind. It also collects and analyzes information about how subscribers are interacting with your emails, helping you optimize and create more effective campaigns.

Mailchimp integrates with most of the tools in the average B2B marketing stack. For example, data about your subscribers’ email behavior can automatically sync with lead scoring software like LeadBoxer, giving you even more insights about leads.

 

Best CRM: HubSpot

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A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is necessary for tracking potential prospects and keeping a record of all their details.

HubSpot’s sales software is an extremely powerful tool that starts at $0/month. It’s able to track lead behavior on your website, then send personalized email sequences based on their actions.

HubSpot also tracks where leads are in their buyer journey, helping you visualize your pipeline at a glance. Integrate HubSpot with some of your other tools, such as LeadBoxer, to get an even better idea of who’s ready to convert and who needs a little more nurturing.

 

Best Pitch Assistant: Crystal

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It’s time to turn your leads into clients. Take all the guesswork out of how to pitch to them by using a tool like Crystal.

Crystal analyzes a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, then provides actionable insights about their personality based on what kinds of posts they’re writing and engaging with. It also collects the feedback of people who have previously interacted with that person, increasing the accuracy of the assessment.

Use Crystal to decide the best ways for communicating with a prospect, that way you’re never flying blind when entering a sales meeting.

Grow Your Sales with Strategic B2B Lead Generation

Automatically generating leads is the key to closing more deals and growing your business. There are several different strategies you can take, but the ones you choose will ultimately hinge upon the online behavior of your ideal buyers.

By following the best practices and using some of the tools outlined in this article, you’ll soon have an optimized, automatic system for generating and scoring leads that keeps working even when you’re not.

The next time you log back on, there’ll already be several prospects with high lead scores ready for you to reach out to.

Leadfeeder vs Lead Forensics vs LeadBoxer

Leadfeeder vs Lead Forensics vs LeadBoxer

Your company has a website up and running, the blog is full of valuable content, and your sign-up forms are ready to go. But without lead identification and generation tools, you don’t actually know who is visiting your site, what they are interested in, or how to push them down your sales funnel.

Lead identification software enables your team to convert visitors into leads, and leads into customers.

LeadBoxer is a powerful lead identification tool — but it is not the only one. It can be time-consuming to look through different lead generation tools to know which solution to invest in. We’re here to make it easier for you.

In this article, we’ll cover three popular options for lead identification software: Leadfeeder, Lead Forensics, and LeadBoxer. We will break down the features, pricing, and unique qualities of all three so you have a clear picture of what these solutions can do for you.

 

LeadBoxer 101: Meet Your Visitors, Capture Leads, and Boost Sales

LeadBoxer is a lead and customer identification tool that automatically identifies your website visitors and their companies. It can measure visitor traffic engagement with your site and emails — whether they are new visitors or logins. LeadBoxer gives you automatic insight on their companies, their company contact information, details on their industry, their LinkedIn profile, and calculates a leadscore. All before they have filled out a form.

All identified leads, including those who have been identified by email or submitted their information on a form, are automatically ranked with a leadscore. With LeadBoxer, you can track all interactions with your online and email touchpoints.

You can see leads’ interactions with pages, email opens and clicks, contact forms, sign-ups, PPC click-throughs, and downloads. When the lead information is ready to be passed on to your other tools, LeadBoxer exports the information to your CRM, sales software, collaboration tools, or task management tools.

LeadBoxer can be set up in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is sign-up for the free trial, receive your Lead Pixel, and insert that Lead Pixel into your site. You will get immediate, real-time results on your leadboard. Once you are signed-in, you will see your leadboard. This leadboard lists all your leads, their leadscore, and all relevant information:

 

If you want to continue after your free trial, all you have to do is sign up for a subscription plan.

LeadBoxer is not the only lead identification software on the market. Leadfeeder and Lead Forensics are two alternatives that marketers and sales reps consider before making their decision. Here is a comparison of the three solutions broken down by features, pricing, and unique sales propositions.

 

Key Features of Lead Identification Software

There are some key features of any lead identification software to keep your eyes out for. Before jumping into each software, it will be good to have an understanding of what the key features are and what they do.

  • Automatic visitor identification: Identify your site visitors by name, company, and links to social profiles
  • Lead Scoring: Rank visitors and/or leads based on activity and other information
  • Email Alerts: Be notified about dream customers or lead updates
  • Page Tracking: Track how long leads are on certain pages, where they came from, where they go to next, what they click on, etc.
  • Integrations: Different softwares integrate with tools you already use like Google Analytics, CRM solutions, Sales Solutions, Email Management Platforms, Collaboration Tools, etc.
  • Compliance: Is up to date with the latest regulations, like the GDPR

 

Features of LeadBoxer, Leadfeeder, and Lead Forensics

 

LeadBoxer Features

LeadBoxer features work together to bring a holistic picture of leads to both your sales and marketing teams. These include:

Automatic visitor information and lead scoring. LeadBoxer ranks visitors and automatically updates rankings when visitors fill out forms.

 

LeadBoxer captures leads and integrates them into the viewing platform.

 

 

Leadboxer tracks their customer journey and data. This solution tracks all their web and email behavior.

 

 

LeadBoxer sends you notifications for when a lead is ready-to-buy.

 

Companies can set custom scheduling based on custom segments to route this information to relevant team members. Team members will be notified when data shows that it is the prime time to talk to the email leads.

Other LeadBoxer features include:

  • Email & Newsletter tracking
  • Full Data Search
  • Auto Form Tracking
  • Campaign Tracking
  • Traffic Dashboard
  • GDPR Compliance
  • Share and Assign Leads
  • Lead Tags or Labels
  • Channel Groupings and Source

LeadBoxer integrates with 25 business solutions that you probably already use. This includes popular CMS, communication, CRM, marketing automation, and other business solutions:

 

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 Leadfeeder Features

leadfeeder

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Leadfeeder is a website visitor tracking software platform. It tells you who your visitors are, where they come from, and what they are interested in. Leadfeeder offers alerts when your target companies visit your site. The software breaks their features down into four action areas: identify visitors, see what they look at, get email alerts for when they visit, and send leads to your CRM.

This software integrates with Google Analytics to identify the companies that visit your site and how they engage with your pages. Leadfeeder provides company contact information and shows if your users have LinkedIn connections with any of their company representatives. This solution is also GDPR compliant. Teams have unlimited amount of users on this solution, no matter the plan.

Leadfeeder integrates with twelve other business solutions, including MailChimp, various CRM solutions, Pipedrive, Slack and more.

 

Lead Forensics Features

lead forensic

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Lead Forensics allows companies to see their visitors in real-time. This solution can identify anonymous visitors and provide the company, contact information, demographics, search behavior, and financial data. The goal in using these features is to “convert ready-to-buy prospects, before your competitors even get close.”

This solution features lead scoring, auto-assigning of leads, notifications, labeling dream customers, and a customizable portal. This solution helps sites convert visiting traffic into leads, track them from their first click to sale, and measure digital ROI.  

Lead Forensics integrates with Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Workbooks, and Infusionsoft.

 

Comparing Pricing

 

LeadBoxer Pricing

LeadBoxer offers a two-week free trial. After that, pricing is based on monthly or annual subscription plans. The Starter plan starts at $79 per month (billed annually). The Business Plan is $199 per month (billed annually). The Corporate Plan is $399 per month (billed annually).

Leadfeeder Pricing

Leadfeeder offers a free “Lite” plan that only shows 7 days worth of leads. Premium pricing is based on the number of leads you have:

leadfeeder pricing

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Lead Forensics Pricing

Lead Forensics offers a free week-long trial. Based on this trial, Lead Forensics will understand how much traffic your site receives and will determine pricing for a future contract based on your volume of visitors. To learn more, you must contact Lead Forensics directly.

lead forensic pricing

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What Makes LeadBoxer, Leadfeeder, and Lead Forensics Unique?

 

After delving into the research, it can be hard to determine what features differentiate these solutions. Even though there is significant overlap in use cases, each tool is different in some way.

 

LeadBoxer: Bringing Sales and Marketing Together with Data

LeadBoxer stands out from competitors because it acts as a bridge between marketing and sales teams. It stores all visitor, lead, and customer information in one platform, unlike other lead identifying tools. It doesn’t just track online visitors. It also keeps tabs on all email activity of the companies on your newsletter list and knows when leads are signaling that they are ready to buy or are up for contract renewal.

Your sales team will know exactly when to reach out to them and have the details they need to make the right pitch. Not only that, but LeadBoxer informs your sales reps of when to push up-sell opportunities, which other solutions of its type don’t do.

The LeadBoxer team has more than a decade of analytics and software development experience. For this reason, this solution uses its own algorithm to boil all the data down to a simple view for clients. Ask the search tool any data question, and you will find the answers you need.

 

Leadfeeder: Putting GA to Use

Leadfeeder does not have its own algorithm, but uses Google Analytics data. Customers don’t have to install a pixel — they only need access to their Google Analytics account.

Leadfeeder offers a unique tool that filters out leads that aren’t that interesting or valuable for your team. This way you don’t have to sift through visiting bots or visitors who certainly won’t buy your product.

 

Lead Forensics: Dedicated to Customer Success

Lead Forensics offers many of the features that LeadBoxer and Leadfeeder do, but is unique because their solution comes with a customer success manager for each client.

They offer consultation and proactive support to marketing and sales teams on how to use this tool to generate the most ROI.

The Takeaway: Keep Your Goals in Mind

Capturing qualified leads doesn’t happen overnight. Your website, online content, chat bots, social media campaigns, email newsletters and advertising efforts all work together to attract clients.

But once your prospects visit your site, it is up to you use the most powerful tools to identify visitors, capture leads, and track the success of your content. Lead identification and generation software provide a path for visitors to become customers. It’s up to you to determine which software will work best with this goal in mind.

 

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters

How to Create a Customer Journey Map: Everything You Should Know

How to Create a Customer Journey Map: Everything You Should Know

The key to giving your customers a great experience is to walk in their shoes. By empathizing with your clientele and understanding their motivations, your company will be able to drive product design and service based on what customers need most. As Kevin Stirtz says, “Know what your customers want most and what your company does best. Focus on where those two meet.” A customer journey map is one tool that can help you look into customer behavior, motivations, and needs. This knowledge will help improve your relationship with customers, boost sales, and help you accomplish your business’s goals. In this article, we’ll cover the following questions you may have about customer journey maps:

 

What is a Customer Journey Map?

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the stages a customer takes before accomplishing a certain goal a company has for them. It takes into consideration a customer’s pain points, emotional needs, and actions. This type of map illustrates the customer narrative as they engage with a brand.

Most customer journey maps look at the entire customer lifecycle, starting with the introduction to the brand and continuing to post-sale support services – with all the steps in between.

Often, these stages are displayed in a linear fashion. However, a customer’s engagement with a business is not always so simple. Graphs can display cyclical customer journeys or journeys through multiple channels.

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Companies can take this opportunity to creatively communicate analogies about how different leads interact with the brand, such as through a tornado analogy:

 

Though customer journey maps can vary, they have shared essential components. Here are the following elements that the diagrams will have in common:

  • Persona: A profile of the brand’s clients, offering demographic and psychographic information. Companies usually have diverse client groups, so each customer journey map should be catered to each unique persona that the company wants to learn more about.

     

     

  • Designated Touchpoints: Important moments when clients interact with the brand. (Paid advertisement, sign up form, social media engagement, a purchase, etc.)

     

     

  • Moments of Truth: Touchpoints that can make or break it for a customer.

     

     

  • Performance Indicators: Evaluative factors that measure how customers are responding at certain touchpoints. These often measure the customer’s emotional state or satisfaction levels along their path.

     

     

  • Visuals: The visual element of the journey map displays the path the customer takes on their journey. In many cases, this can be a linear illustration. In other cases, it makes more sense to show the cyclical nature of the customer cycle.

These diagrams are not internal pipelines, sales processes, or any other funnel your business might create from a developer point of view. These are purely focused on the customer experience. The visual demonstration needs to make sense for your company, product, and most importantly, your customers’ perspective.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters

Why Should you use a Customer Journey Map?

As Sam Walton wisely said, “There is only one boss. The customer.”

With that in mind, companies know the importance of understanding their customers. There is no use in designing a product without understanding those who will potentially use the product, what their needs are, what their communication style is, and how they feel about the product in their life.

Companies that take time to study and analyze real data on those they serve yield better results. Brands that strategically map the customer’s journey showed a 24% increase in return on marketing investments and reduced service costs by 21%.

On the other hand, assumptions about a customer base can be the downfall of a company. Take Shyp for example.

Shyp had a great idea for easy and cheap package delivery services for individuals, but neglected the fact that people don’t actually ship personal products very often. Building a financial model around what could’ve been, rather than the customer’s reality, led to the ruin of a startup with high potential.

What can we gather from this information? Assumptions lead to failure, or at the very least, large loss of opportunity. Data and real customer insight can lead to significant returns.

Journey maps are critical in knowing customer realities, the most important information to have when running a business. Other benefits of journey maps include:

  • Improved customer engagement
  • Improve customer-centric practices
  • Departments working together better and reduced gaps between silos
  • Assessing effectiveness of touchpoints and teams responsible for them
  • Improve your inbound marketing and lead qualification approach
  • Provide framework for assessing customer experience ROI

 

Types of Customer Journey Maps

There are several different types of customer journey maps. Here are four main frameworks to consider when organizing a potential diagram.

Current State

Current state maps are an honest assessment of the present experience users have when interacting with your brand. This is not a graph showing the ideal way a customer would move through the pipeline, but rather the current reality. The journey map shows how certain touchpoints are succeeding or failing.

Are clients falling through the cracks on social media? Are they dissatisfied with customer service? How are email campaigns performing? Current state diagrams can give you the answers you need to improve the customer experience.

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Future State

Future State maps are what you would like the customer process to be. This type of mapping is helpful for communicating to different departments the ideal process for achieving customer goals.

Future state maps are not primarily based on current data. Instead, designers use their imagination and customer empathy to anticipate what users will experience after certain decisions are put into practice or marketing material is produced.

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Day in the Life

The goal of this type of map is to show what the daily life is of specific personas. These maps dig into the pain points of customers, their motivations, their emotions, and what they need from a product throughout their normal daily routine.

They are also helpful in understanding specific demographics and their behavior at certain points during the day.

Marketers can learn when personas are distractedly browsing on social media and likely to make a purchase or when they are stressed trying to get kids to school. Knowing the timing of a particular email or message can make all the difference.

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Blueprint

Blueprint graphs are based on another current or future state map. They also include systems, processes, and tools that are used to bring all elements of the customer experience together.

They give a more detailed picture of how the customer is actually engaging with the company, allowing for deeper insights into pain points and the necessary support needed.

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Case Studies of Journey Maps That Work

Businesses have different strategies, different demographics, and different products. Each company will have to determine which touchpoints and associated factors they want to understand. Different factors can include:

  • B2B vs B2C business models
  • Subscription-based vs transactional services
  • Size of scale
  • Types of personas

Because journey maps are tailored to the specific needs of each individual company or department within that company, we are going to take a look at three case studies that provide insight into how these maps can allow business people to walk with their clients.

The YMCA

The large YMCA branch in the Greater Twin Cities undertook the process of customer journey mapping in order to improve member wellbeing and loyalty. This business model is based on subscription services. Customer journey mapping was a valuable tool to grow customer retention rates.

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After leaders met and agreed that putting the customer first was a top priority in their organization, they put their heads together to make hypotheses about their customers and to determine which personas they were going to study and within which parameters.

Research led to the development of different personas and richer understanding of their motivations, pain points, and moments of truth.

Source

After gathering and organizing customer insights, the Y was able to put their new knowledge into action. This has lead members to greater trust in the Y and a greater user experience.

A Health Insurance Provider

An anonymous health insurance provider needed to conduct customer mapping with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This company was interested to see how certain personas were choosing health coverage and their behaviors before deciding.

This image is not the exact customer journey map used but is a close hypothetical example:

Source

The insurance company found that different personas could not be treated equally.

Some groups wanted to do most of their research online, whereas others wanted human interaction with a support specialist before committing to this insurance company.

The company was better able to field questions that each persona asked and understand what channels to use when communicating with potential clients.

Amadeus ePower

Amadeus ePower is an online travel booking engine. When this company prioritized understanding their customers’ journeys, they saw great change in their organization.

When starting the mapping process, Amadeus aimed to learn more about their website usage across the customer journey, unmet customer needs, and to generate ideas based on these findings.

Their customer mapping project took place over five weeks. The process started with determining personas, which included travelers and travel agents, and doing interviews with real customers. They also used previous research they had already collected.

Secondly, they conducted a workshop with stakeholders where they identified key elements of their map and created potential illustrations. After this, consultants and their creative team used these ideas to create the final customer journey maps.

In this case, the company had two specific personas so they made two separate customer journey maps.

This is what their mapping process looked like:

Source

According to Tran Dzien Nguyen, Head of Amadeus’s Online Solutions, “Customer journey mapping has changed the way we perceive unmet needs and approach the development process…it’s a game changer for us.”

These three businesses serve different customers with varying needs. Going through the process of customer mapping allowed these companies to organize their customer data into an easy-to-understand, big-picture diagram.

These clear illustrations enabled the businesses to know the different types of clients they serve and how to cater to their needs.

 

Steps to Create a Customer Journey Map

Designing an easy-to-read and informative map can be a daunting process. The key to yielding a successful result is to develop the map one step at a time. Here are seven necessary steps to build your map:

  1. Prepwork
  2. Setting Objectives
  3. Discovering and Defining your Personas
  4. Determining Touchpoints
  5. Identifying Performance Indicators
  6. Do the Research
  7. Put your Map to Use

1. Prepwork

First things first. Executives have to come together and show buy in. Stakeholders need to believe that customer journey mapping is important enough to warrant company time and resources.

Once all key players have agreed that understanding their customers through this process is necessary, they will need to have specific conversations to direct the rest of the project.

Some key topics stakeholders need to discuss include:

  • Why is this project important?
  • How many resources will be allocated to the journey map?
  • Does our company need advice from professional consultants?
  • What time frame will be given to this development?
  • What conflicts or challenges might arise with this project?
  • What type of map will be most useful for our company?

2. Setting Objectives

Once your team is committed to understanding the customer journey, leaders will need to determine what the goals are for the map.

The objectives chosen will be influenced by where the business is struggling or experiencing change, what research and pre-existing assumptions they have and the vision they have for the future of their company.

3. Discovering and Defining Your Personas

Companies often think they have a good idea of their customer base, but when they take a closer look, they find surprises.

A critical part in the mapping process is doing research on the types of customers a company has. Once they have determined the different segments of their client base, they can determine which personas they want to narrow their journey map on.

Not all personas will experience one company in the same way. To yield the most benefit of a customer journey map, each map needs to be tailored to a specific customer profile.

4. Determining Touchpoints

Working in groups to brainstorm all the different touchpoints a customer experiences can be helpful. In this day and age, customers are being funneled to companies through multiple channels and each channel needs to be noted and later measured.

Sign up forms, social media engagement, emails, call centers, and organic traffic online, all need to be considered and evaluated. During your research, it will be clear which of these touchpoints are often moments of truths.

Understanding how touchpoints are working or where inefficiencies lie is key to understanding why retention rates are down, why customers abandon their carts at the last moment, or any other common experience that is trending within your company.  

5. Identifying Performance Indicators

As a team, leaders need to put their heads together and determine what they want to measure when a customer engages with the brand. Usually, these factors include:

  • Customer Actions
  • Customer Thoughts
  • Customer Emotions
  • Customer Motivations
  • Points of Frictions

6. Do the Research

Once you have decided which touchpoints and customer factors you want to chart, it is time for the legwork of the project: research.

For compiling an effective map, there is a place for both quantitative and qualitative research.

Quantitative customer research can be pulled in from customer data platforms.  A platform like LeadBoxer can help you identify your website visitors and track all your website behavior and online activity.

This solution has the ability to capture visitors’ contact information before they make contact. This allows sales teams to track their journey whether or not the visitor has signed a form.

Qualitative research consists of interviews with smaller groups of people (or “Focus Groups”). This research can be useful for getting a deeper look into the emotional state, needs, and thoughts of clients that quantitative data has a hard time capturing.

7. Put Your Map to Use

Journey maps should be actionable and relevant to different stakeholders. Find a simple way to illustrate multiple factors that will compel leaders with different perspectives to action.

This journey map focuses on one persona, has quantitative and qualitative feedback displayed, includes various performance indicators, and has a section with opportunities listed:

Source

With all the research and data organized in a clear way, it will be easier to convince stakeholders why certain actions need to be taken and what opportunities the organization needs to take advantage of.

Another good idea to convince fellow stakeholders to make change is to take the customer journey yourself when possible.

Teams that go through all of the customer journey themselves will have an enhanced understanding and empathy towards the customer every step of the way. After all, we are all human and have some shared expectations of modern technology, customer service, and other business practices.

Once actions are put into place, your team will need to decide when and how to evaluate the changes. Customer journey maps will need to be updated periodically to show how changes have impacted the customer.

 

Customer Journey Map Templates

As we saw in the case studies, every company has a different path when building their customer journey maps. There is no one size fits all approach with this process. Though different companies will have to shape their diagrams uniquely, looking at different templates can be helpful when designing your own map.

When deciding on a template, be sure to keep these considerations in the back of your mind:

  • The template must be persona based
  • The type of journey map must make sense for the goals of your organization
  • The design can incorporate the customer phases specific to your brand
  • There is space for the touchpoints and evaluative indicators your team determined
  • Both qualitative and quantitative data is incorporated
  • Actionable items are displayed

With these factors in mind, continue reading to get a sence of the templates that could be modified for your business.

Current State and Future Map Templates

Current and Future Map templates will appear similar. The only difference is that the information your business puts in will represent the present reality or what your business expects to see in the future.

This template can be downloaded for free from Interaction Design Foundation:

 

Here is another from MightyBytes:

Day in the Life Map Template

A Day in the Life Template will include customer insights from their daily life. Here is a simple template to get started:

Service Blueprint Template

A service blueprint can be a good graph to have alongside a current or future state map. These diagrams show what physical evidence is used to give the customer their experience.

For example, this would include staff, product, physical tools, or any other tangible tool that is along the customer path. Service blueprints usually include front-stage interactions, back-stage interactions, support processes, physical evidence, and customer actions.

Source

Remember: The Customer Knows What They Want

At the end of the day, it is the customer who determines if your product is worth spending money on or not.

Some products, like B2B services, take an entire team of people and extensive research to agree on a subscription. Other business models rely heavily on impulsive buyers. No matter what type of business you are in, what matters most is happy customers.

Knowing what customers want, need, and feel is the most essential part in ensuring their happiness. A customer journey map will help you get a lot further down that road

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How to Identify Website Visitors: A Complete B2B Sales Guide

How to Identify Website Visitors: A Complete B2B Sales Guide

Maybe you’ve heard it before: only 2% of website visitors will actually contact a company. That means 98% of people will visit, browse around, and then leave, all while remaining anonymous. That’s 98% of your website’s audience that you don’t know how to reach once they go—and that could spell trouble for your business.

In this article, you’ll learn what website visitor information is readily available, how to access it, and why it’s important to do so. There are free tools that can help you do this, such as Google Analytics, but it’s also possible to take it a step further and learn how you can contact those visitors and which visitors are likely to become a customer. That way, you and your sales team can keep your pipeline full with high-quality leads.

Use the links below to navigate to each section:

The Benefits of Identifying Website Visitors

What does it matter if you don’t know who your website visitors are? It’s a problem for a few reasons.

For one, there’s no telling why those 98% of visitors are leaving without taking the next step in the buyer’s journey. Are they not in your target market? Is there something wrong with a landing page? Are there mismatched messages in your marketing campaign? Identifying those visitors will help you find the answers to those questions.

The other problem is that you’re missing out on huge sales opportunities. There’s no telling who in that 98% might convert to a loyal customer with the right nurturing. Therefore, knowing your visitors could make a big difference for your bottom line.

Luckily, it’s easy to identify visitors in several different ways.

 

What Website Visitor Information is Available

Google Analytics does a great job at showing a snapshot of a website’s overall performance. It breaks down a website’s audience, their demographics, behavior, how they were acquired, and what the conversion rates are. Best of all, it’s completely free.

Some key performance indicators and reports to keep in mind when looking at Google Analytics are:

  • Demographics – The age and gender of site visitors will let you know if who’s visiting aligns with who your ideal clients are.
  • Location – Like demographics, knowing the geographic location of visitors is useful for understanding if your digital marketing strategy is working to attract ideal clients.
  • Device – This shows whether visitors are using a desktop or mobile device.
  • Acquisition – Knowing how a visitor arrived to the site—whether it’s by Google Ads, organic search, social media, email, or something else—can show you how well your marketing strategies are working.
  • Behavior Flow – This shows the journey from popular landing pages to other pages on the site, highlighting where traffic drops off and visitors leave.
  • Session Length – Knowing how long visitors are staying on a site provides insight into how useful it is.
  • Bounce Rate – If there’s a high bounce rate associated with a site, you may need to look into the time it takes to load a page, or even consider working on the design.
  • Popularity – Knowing which pages are most and least popular can help you decide which are ready to connect to ads, and which need a little more fine-tuning.

It’s also possible to look at who exactly is visiting the site. To do so, access the Network Report. This is found under the Audience category and the Technology sub-category in the Google Analytics menu.

The Network Report bundles visitors into the service provider they’re using to access the site. However, many businesses use a branded alias, as seen in the example below:

The full Network Report will look into acquisition data as well as behavior (such as average session length and bounce rate) and conversion rates.

However, when it comes to gathering and qualifying leads, Google Analytics falls short. The Network Report doesn’t illuminate the name of individual visitors, their role within a company, their contact information, or what their unique behavior was. This is where lead qualification software comes in handy.

 

 

Software to Help Identify Website Visitors

Not all website visitor identification tools are created equal. Some are bare bones but budget friendly, able to identify previously anonymous visitors and not much else. Others can turn that data into action, showing you which of those visitors are worth pursuing as a possible client.

One thing’s for sure: no matter the size of your business, there’s a solution that’ll meet your need and fit your budget.

 

LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer doesn’t just help identify website visitors, it turns that information into actionable data that speeds up your pipeline and increases sales.

To do this, LeadBoxer captures around 50% of visitors that would otherwise remain anonymous, then tracks all of the users’ online behavior (website visits, email opens, newsletter clicks, advertising, social, etc.) to provide a comprehensive view of their engagement. LeadBoxer can even populate contact information and visitor details, such as the prospect’s industry and specialty.

 

Then, based on the criteria set by the organization, LeadBoxer is able to calculate a leadscore for each prospect. The higher the leadscore, the more promising that prospect is. Sales reps know instantly who is most likely to convert and who isn’t.

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Hubspot Sales Hub

Hubspot Sales Hub is first and foremost a tool for managing a sales pipeline with some visitor identification and lead qualification tools built in.

Hubspot shows what companies are visiting a site in real time, as well as how many visitors there are from each company, what pages they’re visiting, and the number of page views they’ve made.

In addition to those data sets, Hubspot collects information like company size and geography, then turns them into filter options. Using filters helps sales reps hone in on only those prospects that meet specific ideal client criteria.

While Hubspot is free to use for an individual salesperson, it has extremely limited functionality. Only the Enterprise level, priced at $1,200/month, unlocks all of Hubspot’s capabilities.

Salesforce Sales Cloud

Like Hubspot, Salesforce Sales Cloud is a pipeline management system with a few added features for website visitor identification. In particular, it highlights what marketing campaign a lead came from and what effects that campaign has on the pipeline. That way, organizations can make informed decisions about where to invest their marketing budget.

There are also some functions like leadscoring, that way sales reps can follow up with only the most engaged prospects. With Salesforce Sales Cloud, it’s also easy to route and assign leads to the right rep.

Overall, Salesforce seems at its best when accumulating data on existing customers. It combines a customer’s social content, the deals they’re involved in, and what they’re saying about a product or service all into a single feed.

Bouncex

BounceX hangs its hat on being able to identify 40-70% of anonymous visitors on a website, then create personalized experiences that differ for customers and prospects. If that doesn’t work, BounceX can create email marketing journeys that nurture prospects until they’re ready to convert.

BounceX is a bit different from the other tools discussed so far in that it primarily identifies visitors for the purpose of turning exiting visitors into customers. It does this by creating an email opt-in pop-up when it thinks that a visitor is about to leave, thus help to grow clients’ email lists. Companies like Samsonite call BounceX a top three performing revenue channel.

However, having BounceX in the toolkit is likely a pipe dream for many companies. While they don’t publicly advertise their price, this review from 2014 claimed that the tool starts at $3,995/month.

Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM falls into a similar category as Salesforce and Hubspot, able to manage the sales pipeline from lead qualification to the final sale. As such, this software is lighter on the visitor identification side and more robust as a customer relationship management tool.

One interesting feature of Zoho is Zia, an AI-powered sales assistant that’s able to quickly and visually show table and graphs illustrating visitor data, describing things like leads created in a month by source.

VisitorTrack

VisitorTrack advertises itself as “caller ID for your website.” Although a little bare bones in its functionality, it does collect information from previously anonymous visitors, like companies and the people who work there. It then creates a report showing an overview of visitor behavior: number of pages viewed, specific pages viewed, industry, company size, and more.

VisitorTrack doesn’t claim to have any leadscoring capabilities, so it’s mostly up to you what to do with all this data. However, it does offer its proprietary “Trigger Technology,” which sends an email to you when it thinks it’s found an optimal prospect.

Visitor Queue

Like VisitorTrack, Visitor Queue is a frills-free kind of visitor identification tool. It prides itself on having a very user-friendly interface, all while tracking company contact information, website visit information, and visitors’ social media accounts.

Visitor Queue’s pricing structure revolves around the number of companies identified per month. The cheapest plan ($16/month) only identifies up to 100 unique companies per month, while the most expensive plan ($160/month) identifies up to 1,000 companies.

Need to identify more than 1,000 companies? You’ll have to call Visitor Queue for a quote.

Leadberry

Leadberry is a Google Analytics technology partner, which helps power its ability to collect company information and website behavior. Think of Leadberry has a slightly more souped-up version of VisitorTrack or Visitor Queue in that it has a robust filtering system, bringing only the most relevant companies to your attention.

However, unlike Visitor Queue, Leadberry gives you unlimited leads, unlimited websites, and unlimited users, all for only $34/month.

Snitcher

Snitcher is probably the most similar competitor to Leadberry. It’s a Google Technology Partner that has the same functionality as Leadberry, with a few extras.

The Lead Inbox brings all the potential leads into a single feed for sales teams to use. The stream is filterable and live activity updates show you exactly who is working on a lead at any given time.

Leady

Leady gathers the information you’ve come to expect from tools in this list, but its unique proposition is that it will help you better invest in the right marketing campaigns. So in addition to developing a list of prospects to fill your sales pipeline, Leady can automate your marketing process, enriching Google Adwords and creating highly relevant content campaigns for your ideal buyers.

However, Leady only allows 3,000 unique visitor identifications per month with its most expensive a la carte plan, which comes in at $149/month. For unlimited visitor identifications, you’ll need to get a quote.

 

Steps for Identifying Website Visitors

Identifying website visitors with the right tool couldn’t be easier. LeadBoxer, for example, comes with a pixel for your website that automatically starts collecting data as soon as the code is installed. There are also several possible third-party integrations so you can take full advantage of this data with your existing marketing stack and CRM platform.

If you want to try this out without committing to anything, LeadBoxer offers a free trial account. Setting up LeadBoxer with your site requires a few steps, but overall, it’s a straightforward process that is manageable for anyone. Best of all, you don’t need to have any coding experience to get it done.

After you start your trial account, follow the steps below:

 

1. Install the Pixel

LeadBoxer comes with its own Lead Pixel, a snippet of JavaScript code that needs to be dropped into the backend of your site.

To track incoming traffic on the entire site, install the Lead Pixel into the footer. To track traffic on specific landing pages, simply install the pixel into the code for those pages.

If the site is managed with WordPress and you don’t have the time or patience to mess with the coding yourself, LeadBoxer has created a user-friendly WordPress plug-in that makes installing the pixel as easy as pressing a button.

Once the pixel has been installed, LeadBoxer will automatically start tracking all incoming visitors and offer a range of profile information:

LeadBoxer will also be able to identify the company for many of these visitors, and with that, begin populating the visitor profile with contact information, as seen in the picture above.

To fully enrich visitor profiles and start qualifying those leads with a leadscore, continue to the next step.

2. Integrate with Other Tools

LeadBoxer seamlessly integrates with many third-party tools, such as Google Analytics, MailChimp, Slack, and Pipedrive. However, when it comes to enriching visitor profiles and qualifying prospects, start by focusing on LinkedIn, MailChimp, and website contact forms.

Capturing a visitor’s LinkedIn information is a quick and easy way to populate their profile within LeadBoxer. All you need to do is set up a button on your site that is connected to LinkedIn. When visitors click the button, they agree to offer their LinkedIn information, and are in turn rewarded with something like a white-paper.

For full installations instructions, check out this article in LeadBoxer’s knowledge base.

Identifying and qualifying leads from your MailChimp newsletters is even easier. To track who exactly is clicking links in a newsletter, simply add the “?email=*|EMAIL|*” merge tag to any links you want to track, like so:

To track email opens and how often customers are reading emails, install the LeadBoxer email tracking pixel into the code section of your email template:

Again, the LeadBoxer knowledge base includes more detailed instructions on how to generate the code for the email tracking pixel and how to install it. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be able to track email behavior in LeadBoxer, as seen here:

The final step is to set up a form on your website to help enrich visitor profiles with more information in case they don’t use the LinkedIn option or aren’t already on your email list.

You may already have a contact form on your site collecting data such as name, company, email address, and phone number. In that case, all you need to do is add a few lines of JavaScript code in order to automatically funnel all information to LeadBoxer.

Luckily, LeadBoxer already provides this code and outlines the few steps needed to install it.

With that done, you’re ready to start generating a leadscore and learning which prospects are ready to into your sales pipeline.

3. Establish Leadscore Criteria

LeadBoxer can automatically calculate a leadscore that will indicate how likely a prospect is to convert. This helps sales reps know which leads they should prioritize over others.

You can adjust how LeadBoxer calculates a leadscore by establishing unique criteria. Below is an example of how different criteria can be toggled in order to calculate the score:

What criteria you set will depend upon the organization’s ideal client profile, plus a few other metrics.

Here are six common indicators to consider:

Buyer Profile

It’s important to have a thorough understanding of your organization’s ideal client profile. Does this lead fall into your target industry and location? Is their company the ideal size for your product or service?

Make sure to include fields on contact forms to help gather this information, that way LeadBoxer has data to draw from when calculating the leadscore. You can give points for answers that align with the profile, and take away for those that don’t.

Plus, you can award points for those who fill out fields that are deemed optional on a form. This shows that the prospect has elevated interest.

 

Company Information

More than likely, you want to know the size of the prospect’s company and how to reach them. Otherwise, your sales process is dead in the water. Therefore it’s a good idea to add points to the leadscore for this kind of information.

 

Online Behavior

High levels of engagement with your site is a likely indicator that the prospect is interested in your product or service. Toggle points for page views, length of visit, downloads, and frequency of visits over a 30, 60, or 90 day period.

 

Email Engagement

This doesn’t just mean that you should add to the leadscore if someone is on your email list. Instead, prioritize high open rates and click-through rates. These are more meaningful indications of interest.

 

Social Media Engagement

The more a prospect interacts with you on social media, the higher their leadscore should be. LeadBoxer can help track Facebook or Twitter likes, retweets, shares, and click-through rates from your posts.

 

Spam Detection

Sometimes bots fill out contact forms and interact with your site. Things to look out for (and potentially subtract leadscore points for) include using all lowercase letters when filling out forms, or using a Gmail or Yahoo address instead of a company email address.

Once you’ve established the criteria for calculating a leadscore, you can automatically see which of your website visitors are worth following up with. You can then have LeadBoxer send alerts the next time ideal prospects engage with your site. That way you or the assigned sales rep can contact them when your company is fresh in their minds.

 

Start Identifying Website Visitors and Increase Sales Leads

There are several reasons why it’s vital to know who is visiting your site and how they’re interacting with it.

This information tells you if your marketing campaigns are working, or if your ideal buyers are taking notice of your product or service. It also shows if there are weak points or “leaks” where visitors are dropping off and navigating away from your site. With this data, you’ll be able to optimize campaigns and site design.

But that’s not all website visitor identification is good for. Knowing exactly who is visiting your site, as well as their company and contact information, increases the number of prospects available to you and keeps your sales pipeline full.

A solid website visitor identification tool automates this process and increases the likelihood that you’re investing time in the best prospects. Using the data collected about your visitors to calculate a leadscore is the first step towards a highly productive pipeline.

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Lead Qualification 101: How to Identify the Best Sales Leads

Lead Qualification 101: How to Identify the Best Sales Leads

Pop culture would have you believe that the most important part of any sales journey is the art of closing a deal. Equally important, however, is how you open it. Pursuing only the most viable prospects with the need, authority, and budget to purchase your product is a winning recipe for securing new accounts.

Lead qualification is an essential part of this recipe. But what exactly is it, and how do you do it?

In this article, you’ll learn how to qualify a sales lead from the moment they first visit your website all the way through to after an initial discovery call. With the information you gather, you’ll be able to effortlessly determine which prospects are worth pursuing and which aren’t, saving you time and money.

Use the links below to navigate to each section:

 

 

What is Lead Qualification?

Lead qualification is a process of marketing and sales teams working together to forecast the likelihood that a prospect will ultimately make a purchase. It occurs at every stage of the sales journey and ultimately decides if the prospect will be funneled down the pipeline.

 

The first step of lead qualification happens during the inbound marketing stage. At this stage, your company’s marketing team captures contact info via site visits, email subscriptions, or social media, then decides if the lead fits the profile of your company’s ideal customer.

This qualifies the prospect to move on to the next step, which is a discovery call from a sales rep. The sales rep leads a conversation that reveals the prospect’s needs, project timelines, purchasing authority, and any budgetary constraints.

Information gathered during a discovery call further determines if the prospect is viable of the time it takes to craft a proposal, or if you’re better off pursuing someone else’s business.

 

Why Lead Qualification is Important?

Lead qualification is important because it saves you time, energy, and ultimately your bottom line. It occurs very early in the pipeline, ideally when you’re making initial contact or even beforehand. It helps you determine:

  • If the prospect is in the right industry and territory to benefit from your product
  • If they have a need your product can solve
  • If the person you’re talking to has the budget and authority to make a purchasing decision
  • If there is some way you can provide value over your competitors or the prospect’s current vendor

If the lead doesn’t meet your criteria for what makes a qualified prospect, then you can disqualify them. Disqualification may sound like a bad thing, but in reality it saves you time and allows you to focus on more promising contacts.

Bottom line, lead qualifications allows you to quickly assess whether or not you’re talking to a person that has any real intent in buying what you’re selling. This can also help make sales reps more efficient, productive, and motivated. Without it, you could waste time talking to people who will never close, and no one wants to feel like they’re just spinning their wheels.

 

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How to Qualify a Sales Leads Using Lead Scoring

Lead scoring is a process of assigning a point value to a prospect at or near the beginning of the sales pipeline. It often happens before a sales rep ever makes a discovery call. In fact, it may inform whether or not a call is worth having in the first place. This ensures that reps spend their time talking to only the most promising leads.

Before you can calculate a leadscore, you’ll need to gather the following data about a prospect:

 

Buyer Profile

Does this prospect fall into your target industry and territory? Do they fit the profile of your ideal customer?

To find out, you’ll need to include fields in the forms on your landing pages that gather the relevant information. Anyone tasked with this level of qualification — be it a sales rep or a marketing team in charge of identifying prospects — should always keep the company’s ideal customer profile in mind.

 

From there, you’ll be able to award points to leads whose answers align with your buyer profile and take away points for those who don’t. You can also award points for those who fill out fields that were otherwise listed as optional on the form, as this demonstrates additional interest on behalf of the prospect.

 

Company Information

If you’re a B2B organization, then knowing the size of the prospect’s company and its contact information is essential to qualify the lead. You can add or take away points depending on how the size of their company relates to your ideal customer profile.

 

Online Behavior

The more time a prospect interacts with your site, the more likely that they’re interested in your product. Tracking page views, length of visit, downloads, and frequency of visits over a 30, 60, or 90 day period are all good data points to start with.

 

Email Engagement

Just because someone signed up for to your email list does not necessarily mean they’re ready or even interested in buying from you. Open rates and click-through rates are a more meaningful indication of interest.

 

Social Media Engagement

Tracking Facebook or Twitter likes, retweets, shares, and click-through rates from your posts are all ways of tracking social media engagement. The more engaged a prospect is, the higher their leadscore should be.

 

Spam Detection

Using all lowercase letters when filling out website forms is a red flag that the prospect may be a bot. The use of a Gmail or Yahoo email address instead of a company email address may also indicate that they don’t fit your buyer profile. These indicators can subtract points from the prospect’s leadscore if it doesn’t disqualify them altogether.

Now that you have a set of data, you’ll need to interpret it in a way that immediately communicates how qualified a lead is. To manually calculate an actual point value or leadscore, follow these steps:

 

Step 1: Set Your Benchmark

To do this, divide the number of new customers acquired by the number of all leads generated. This conversion rate is your control, which you’ll use to compare to other characteristics.

Step 2: Choose the Most Valuable Characteristics

Which characteristics did your highest quality leads exhibit? In addition to going with your gut, consult your sales reps, marketing team, analytics, etc. for their insights.

Step 3: Calculate Close Rates

As with setting your benchmark, divide the number of customers acquired by leads generated that exhibited certain qualities. Do this for each characteristic.

Step 4: Compare Characteristics

Which characteristics showed significantly higher close rates to your benchmark? Assign higher point values to those characteristics. For example, if leads who downloaded a certain whitepaper have a close rate of 25%, you might assign that characteristic 25 points on future leadscores.

Once you decide how you’re going to calculate leadscores, you can save yourself time and energy by investing in a lead generation and sales tool. Many will capture all the data you need, then automatically calculate it. Software dashboards are usually visual, easy to reference, and quickly identify who is the most promising prospect to pursue.

Here’s a look at how you can customize different characteristics or information in LeadBoxer to automatically calculate a lead score for potential prospects:

After a lead has been gathered and qualified with a leadscore by the marketing team, it’s time for a sales rep to step in and make a discovery call.

 

Lead Qualification Frameworks and Questions

At this level, sales reps determine whether or not the prospect has any real need or desire for the product. This is done by asking the right questions during a discovery call.

Several thought leaders and top sales reps have spent decades developing multiple frameworks for their lead qualification processes. The method you chose to follow will ultimately depend on your industry and the average size of accounts you typically work with. Your personal conversation style and comfort zone might also play a role in what framework you reference.

These questions have the added benefit of encouraging potential leads to open up about their needs, frustrations, and pain points. Should you decide that the lead is qualified to move forward in the process, you can use this information to tailor your pitch and deliver a more effective proposal later on.

 

BANT

BANT stands for budget, authority, need, and timeline. Although the brainchild of IBM, it’s the go-to framework for qualifying leads in a variety of markets and companies. Some relevant questions to ask during a discovery call would include:

  • Budget: How much of the budget is set aside to address this challenge?
  • Authority: Are you in the position to make a purchasing decision to address this challenge?
  • Need: What challenge are you dealing with and why hasn’t it been dealt with before?
  • Timeline: How soon do you hope to solve this challenge?

Strengths: BANT is simple and straightforward. For anyone with a low-stakes or lower priced product with no existing qualification framework in place, it’s a good option to start with and develop from there.

Weaknesses: BANT’s questions don’t follow a logical order. It would be a bit daring to open a discovery call by jumping straight to a question about money. Plus, according to CEB’s research, 5.4 people are involved in B2B purchasing decisions. When considering authority, the answer is likely that multiple people are involved and should therefore be brought into the conversation.

 

CHAMP

CHAMP was developed as a solution to the seemingly backward sequencing of BANT so that the more important questions are asked first for both the buyer and the qualifier.

  • Challenges: What problem needs solving in your business? What challenges are you still faced with that your current solution still does not solve or address as effectively as you would like?
  • Authority: In addition to yourself, who else is involved in this purchasing decision? Should we bring them into the conversation? What are the organizational relationships that influence the decision?
  • Money: What are your expectations for the investment necessary to purchase the solution?
  • Prioritization: When do you plan to implement a solution to your problem? Are you looking at any other possible solutions?

Strengths: The ordering of questions follows a more natural trajectory of conversation. For those just beginning to explore qualification frameworks, this may be the easiest to keep at the back of your mind during a discovery call.

Weaknesses: As far as conversations go, CHAMP is still a little shallow. For one, it doesn’t get into how a prospect would measure the success of the project. This leaves the sales rep ill-prepared to fully demonstrate value further down the pipeline during the proposal stage.

 

GPCTBA/C&I

Hubspot developed what is certainly the longest acronym in sales, but they swear by it. Although they break down their framework into more detail than this, in a nutshell GPCTBA/C&I stands for:

  • Goals: What’s your top priority right now?
  • Plans: How do you plan to achieve that goal?
  • Challenges: What difficulties do you foresee with your plan?
  • Timeline: When do you hope to solve this? If you don’t buy at this time, what remedial actions do you plan to take?
  • Budget: What have you spent on achieving this goal so far? What additional funds can you allocate towards it?
  • Authority: How does your company purchase products of this type? Who else is concerned with this buying decision and what are some of their concerns? What ego or ownership issues come up that need to be managed and respected that I need to be mindful of?
  • Negative consequences: What happens if you don’t reach this goal? What will it cost you and your company if you keep things the way they are today?
  • Positive Implications: What can you achieve next if you do reach this goal?

Strengths: In an era when multiple solutions to a person’s problem are just a Google search away, it’s more important than ever to get clear on how relevant your product is to their needs and how closely they fit into your niche. This framework gets into the nitty-gritty and can quickly indicate if a prospect is truly viable. Plus, it was developed by a SaaS company, so it likely translates well to other SaaS providers.

Weaknesses: Sales reps unfamiliar with this framework will likely need to practice holding a conversation that touches on all these topics in a natural way. Otherwise, you risk hosting a discovery call that comes off as more like an interrogation.

 

MEDDIC

Dick Dunkel and Jack Napoli developed MEDDIC in the mid 90’s while at PTC corporation. The framework was developed for enterprise-level B2B sales. It stands for:

  • Metrics: How would you measure the success of a project?
  • Economic Buyer: Who’s in charge of the budget for this project? How would they define success?
  • Decision Criteria: What are the technical criteria for making a purchase decision?
  • Decision Process: How does your company make the decisions to buy? Who else needs to be brought into this process? What’s the timeline for making a decision? How does the process differ for larger purchases?
  • Identify Pain: What needs fixing? Why haven’t you fixed it yet?
  • Champion: Who has the most vested interest in solving this problem? Do they have influence in the decision process?

Strengths: MEDDIC is ideal for companies with accounts that are in the range of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. These accounts likely jump through significantly more hoops during the decision process. A qualifier needs to be clear on the criteria to meet before moving forward with a proposal.

Weaknesses: The line of questioning posed by this framework might feel clunky to a sales novice. Practice or drafting questions tailored to their specific offering is likely necessary to hold a more natural conversation.

 

ANUM

ANUM assumes that the most important thing to know first is whether or not the person you’re talking to has any real power.

  • Authority: Are you in charge of making purchasing decisions? Who are the people typically involved in this decision making process?
  • Need: What’s the biggest hurdle you hope to overcome?
  • Urgency: How soon to hope to overcome it?
  • Money: What funds are available to allocate towards overcoming it?

Strengths: ANUM attempts to make sure you’re talking to someone with spending privileges from the get-go, presumably saving you time and energy.

Weaknesses: Sometimes the case is that different people within a company are in charge of making different purchasing decisions depending on the function of the product. The person you’re talking to might not know if they have the authority to make this particular decision until it’s clear what challenge needs addressing.

 

Other Questions

It’s possible that there are questions relevant to your product or industry that aren’t covered by any of the frameworks above. In that case, you’ll want to tweak your approach so that you’re covering all your bases.

Some additional questions worth considering are:

  1. What are the concerns or roadblocks that could come up down the road and get in the way of us working together?
  2. What are the timely and relevant issues that are going on internally?
  3. What is the overall mood of the company and its leaders towards this problem?
  4. What internal resources can you leverage to try and resolve this issue on your own?
  5. How will your current vendors react to the possibility you’ll buy from us?

Whatever framework and sets of questions you go with, don’t overload the person you’re speaking with by asking them too many. The idea is to engage them in meaningful conversation, not convince them that you’re an interrogator.

 

When to Move Prospects Forward

After making a discovery call, you’ll need to make a decision about whether or not to continue the sales process. Some good signs that prospects are ideal candidates for moving forward include:

 

Pain Points

The prospect clearly identified what challenge they have and talked about it at length. It’s clear this is an issue that is a top priority and needs to be solved soon.

Specific Goals

During the conversation, the prospect was certain on measurable goals and outcomes. This shows that they’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about the challenge and will be receptive to solutions that propose to meet those goals.

Knowledge

Overall, the prospect knew the ins and outs of the challenge or project like the back of their own hand. This shows that they likely have sway over the purchasing decision if they’re not in charge of it themselves.

However, if you encounter some of these signs during your discover call, you might want to consider stopping the process:

Short Answers

Whether it’s because they don’t have the time to talk, they haven’t thought about their challenges in detail, or they don’t have a pain point you can address, this is a clear indicator that the prospect isn’t interested.

Inconsistent Answers

Conflicting responses are an indicator that the prospect might not have that much influence over the project, or it’s not enough of a priority that they’re willing to find a solution just yet. In either case, you’ll want to save your time and pursue other business.

 

Qualify Leads and Close More Sales

An optimized leads qualification process serves two main functions: to forecast whether or not a prospect is worth the time and effort of a proposal, and to help reps tailor that proposal for maximum effectiveness.

The first step to qualifying a sales lead is to generate a leadscore based on their engagement with your website, emails, and social media posts. The second step is to make a discovery call to determine their needs, purchasing authority, and budget.

While this may seem relatively straightforward, there’s a lot of data and elements that need to be taken into consideration in order to calculate a leadscore. Thankfully, there are several different kinds of lead generation software out there that can gather, analyze, and calculate that leadscore for you. In no time at all, you’ll be filling your pipeline with qualified prospects and winning more accounts.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters

How to Create a Sales Follow-Up Process

How to Create a Sales Follow-Up Process

It’s a commonly cited statistic that only 2% of sales are made during the first meeting. That’s about a one in fifty chance that your initial pitch will result in a done deal. A strategic and optimized sales follow-up process is your best bet for getting the results you want.

In this article, you’ll learn how to set up your sales follow-up process from start to finish so that it’s primed for success. While setting up the process may seem daunting, the right CRM tool or email tracking app can help you automate many parts of the process. This allows you to focus on the steps that require a personal touch so your leads feel valued and more willing to buy.

Use the links below to navigate to each section:

 

How to Start the Sales Pipeline

To set up your sales follow-up process for success, start by automating the process from the beginning of your pipeline. This is the point where you collect data on potential leads, pinpoint high-quality contacts, and make your initial outreach. Automating this process will help you invest time in only the most promising leads.

1. Capture Leads

The first step of your pipeline is to gather information on potential leads. Common ways of doing this include contact forms on your website, email list sign-ups and activity, or even simply interacting with certain pages and social media profiles.

Not sure how or which tool to use to generate leads? Check out this list of 19+ tools recommended by sales and marketing experts.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters

How to Start the Sales Pipeline

To set up your sales follow-up process for success, start by automating the process from the beginning of your pipeline. This is the point where you collect data on potential leads, pinpoint high-quality contacts, and make your initial outreach. Automating this process will help you invest time in only the most promising leads.

1. Capture Leads

The first step of your pipeline is to gather information on potential leads. Common ways of doing this include contact forms on your website, email list sign-ups and activity, or even simply interacting with certain pages and social media profiles.

Not sure how or which tool to use to generate leads? Check out this list of 19+ tools recommended by sales and marketing experts.

Kentico’s 2014 survey showed that over 60% of companies already used or planned to use lead scoring techniques. If you’re not already taking advantage of this tool, you could be missing out on benefits that your competitors aren’t.

A tool like LeadBoxer can generate the most accurate leadscore possible by comparing the criteria for your ideal buyer to the online behavior of your potential lead. From there, you can use this information to decide whether or not to continue the sales process with this particular contact.

3. Create an Alert

After setting the criteria for a promising lead, you can create an alert with your CRM tool for when that lead next engages with your website, emails, advertising, or social media. By calling a lead immediately after they express interest in your brand, you increase your chances of establishing contact with them significantly.

Source

According to a study by LeadResponseManagement.org, the odds of contacting a lead if called in five minutes versus 30 minutes after that lead expresses interest drop 100 times, therefore it’s essential to make contact as soon as possible after lead activity.

4. Initiate Contact with Leads

When it comes to reaching out to leads, the email versus cold calling debate rages on. With so many studies, statistics, and lists out there touting the benefits of one method over the other, it can be difficult to decide whether or not you should initiate contact with an email or a phone call.

Your CRM tool can help you decide.

Take a look at what you know about the lead. Is this person higher up in the organization and likely to have a packed schedule? Email might be the way to go.

Are they older or seem like they might prefer a more personal touch? Consider picking up the phone. However, if you call and leave a voicemail, it’s good form to immediately follow up with an email recapping the purpose of your call.

Whether reaching out by email or phone, follow this formula for a message that gets noticed:

  • Open with a clear reason for connecting

Skip the bland and overdone openers like “I just wanted to touch base about…”. Get straight to the point by introducing yourself, then defining how your product or service can solve your lead’s potential problem.

  • Add value

This initial contact is not actually the time to make your pitch unless you want to risk turning some leads off. Warm up and nurture leads by offering them something of value for nothing, such as a free resource, whitepaper, or consultation.

  • End on a clear call-to-action

Give leads a reason to get back in touch. Offer to schedule a meeting so you can explain how they can make the most of the free resource you just sent them.

By beginning your lead qualifying process with this automated and strategic method, you’ll be able to easily book meetings where you can make your actual pitch.

 

Sales Follow-Up Timeline: When to Send Follow-Up Emails

You’ve made initial contact, had a formal meeting where you made your pitch, and feel confident about your lead. But remember that only 2% of first meetings end in a sale. More than likely, you need a consistent sales follow-up process to bring the deal home.

However, if your initial email (or even your post-pitch follow-up) receives a “no” response, don’t give up just yet. A popular statistic confirmed by multiple studies reveals that 80% of leads will say “no” to an offer five times before they eventually say “yes.” Sending follow-up emails at strategic times is therefore a necessary and common part of the process.

If you aren’t already using one, you should use a CRM tool or email tracking app to help you complete the next steps. Knowing whether or not your emails remain unopened or not will influence when you send a follow-up message, as well as what kind of message to send. This list of 10+ best email tracking apps for Gmail and Outlook can help get you started.

Free E-Book: Click here to download LeadBoxer’s free E-Book, “7 Things to Consider in an Email Tracking App”

Here’s a list of the kinds of follow-up messages to send and when to send them:

After You’ve Formally Met and Made Your Pitch

By now, you’ve hopefully had a meeting where you formally made your pitch and the lead was qualified enough to continue the sales process. You’ll then need to send a post-pitch follow-up in order to carry you to the next stage. Follow up 1-2 days later with a message like this:

  • Show your appreciation

Quickly thank the lead for meeting or speaking with you.

  • Review their pain point

Restate any of the lead’s pain points that arose during the meeting and how your product or service can solve those problems.

  • Answer any questions raised during the meeting

If you promised to look into a lead’s problem or question during the meeting, review your findings now. This is also a good time to attach a particular resource, such as a whitepaper, that would address the lead’s question or pain point.

  • End on a call-to-action

Don’t let a good thing go to waste. Be direct in asking the lead how they would like to move forward.

When the Lead Needs to Consult with Their Supervisor

Sometimes the lead you pitched may need to consult a supervisor before making the final decision to buy. In this scenario, you’d want to follow up 4-5 days after making the pitch. This gives the lead enough time to speak with their team. Use this structure to reach out:

  • Show your appreciation

As with the first follow-up email, quickly thank the lead for meeting or speaking with you.

  • Reference the boss

Ask what their colleague or higher-up thought of your proposal.

  • Make a clear call-to-action

Ask for a quick follow-up meeting to discuss the next steps.

When the Lead Opened Your Email But Didn’t Respond

Your CRM tool or email tracking app shows that the lead opened your email or clicked a link or attachment inside but didn’t respond. This might happen when you try to make initial contact, or if you send along an additional resource after making your pitch. Contact them soon (within 1-2 days) with the following message:

Ask how they liked the resource

A simple “How are you enjoying XYZ whitepaper?” will do.

  • Offer to walk them through it

Mention how you can help them get the most out of the resource in order to solve their business problem.

  • End on a call-to-action

Offer a time and date when you can talk them through their questions.

When You Need to Follow Up the Unanswered Follow-Up

If after a few more days your follow-up remains unanswered, try engaging them with more valuable content. For businesses that create blog posts or whitepapers as part of their content marketing strategy, this is a fairly pain-free step. Use this template for composing your email:

  • Ask again if they’ve taken a look at your resource

Even if they haven’t responded to your first follow-up, remind them of the valuable asset you originally offered them.

  • Offer another resource

A second article or piece of content from your company’s website may be a better fit for answering this lead’s questions.

  • Ask how to move forward

As always, end on a clear call-to-action, in this case by asking if they’re still interested in your product or service and would like to discuss how to move forward.

When It’s Time to Break Things Off

It’s a bummer, but it happens. After several unanswered and unopened emails, it’s probably time to break things off. However, some sales reps report that this email gets as much as a 76% response rate. Consider the following structure to make the most of a graceful exit:

  • Mention that you haven’t been able to get in touch

Keep this light and non-judgemental, or you risk putting off the lead. Things happen, and maybe they’ve just been really busy.

  • Ask if there’s a better time to connect

Fiscal years, budget planning, or waiting on additional sources of funding can play a huge role in whether or not your offer can even be considered at present.

  • Ask to close their file

If timing doesn’t play a role in their decision, ask the lead if you can close their file. This final call-to-action is sometimes enough to elicit the response of an interested lead who has simply been too busy.

With any of these follow-up emails, a CRM tool or email productivity app will allow you to compose your messages in advance. You can then schedule them to send at the desired time or in the event that one of your previous follow-ups is unopened or unanswered.

 

Sales Follow-Up Tips & Techniques

The following tips and techniques can help optimize your sales follow-up process, no matter where you are in the pipeline.

Schedule and Automate Follow-Ups…

Scheduling your responses to send according to the timeline above is essential for keeping your sales process moving. Many CRM or email productivity tools will allow you to compose and schedule emails to send at a later date, or in the event that a previous email went unanswered.

…But Don’t Automate Email Content

While it’s a good idea to consult email templates for how to structure your responses, avoid leaning too heavily on the same template and language for every lead. People know when they’re receiving a formulaic response and may opt to pass on your offer. Taking the time to craft a personalized response shows how much you value their potential partnership.

Keep Emails Brief

In a world where inboxes are becoming increasingly cluttered and attention spans increasingly short, it’s best to keep your emails to the point. Boomerang, a provider of email productivity software, did a study on over 40 million emails to find out what the response rates were for different email lengths:

Source

Boomerang’s results show that there’s a bell curve to response for email lengths. Write an email that’s too short or too long and you decrease your chances of getting a response. The sweet spot for email length is between 50 and 125 words, which earn response rates of 50% or more.

Avoid Bland Statements

Opening statements like “I wanted to circle back…” are tired and signal that you don’t have a clear reason for getting in touch. Be direct instead, often by referencing the lead’s previously established pain point and how you can solve it.

Back Up Your Claims

It’s not enough to claim that you can solve a lead’s pain point. Back up your statement with a compelling result, metric, or customer testimonial. This helps establish trust between you and your lead at every stage of the sales process.

Stay Human

This long-standing advice is as true as ever: remember that you’re a human first and a salesperson second. The same goes for your lead.

Approach them with the same respect and understanding that you would afford a friend, colleague, or acquaintance. Not only will you see better results, but you may also see an increase in your own personal job satisfaction.

For more ways to optimize your follow-up process, check out this complete guide to email tracking for B2B sales teams.

 

How to Automate Your Sales Follow-Up Process

While the sales follow-up process is relatively straightforward, you quickly learn that there are a lot of moving parts. The right tools will help you automate and optimize the process for better results. While there are countless options out there, here are a five to get your search started:

LeadBoxer features automated solutions for many of the steps covered in this article. The tool collects and populates contact information for leads that visit your site, open your newsletters, or exhibit other online behaviors.

It then assigns leads a score to help you decide if you want to continue the sales process with them. There’s also an alert function so you know the best time to reach out and make initial contact. Once you do, LeadBoxer’s Gmail extension makes it easy to track and analyze all the emails you send.

 

HubSpot

HubSpot’s CRM has much of the functionality you need to automate your sales follow-up process. The interface features a kanban-style board so you can quickly see which stage of the sales pipeline each lead is in.

You can also schedule personalized emails, track opens and downloads so you can respond immediately, measure the performance of email templates, and show availability for easy scheduling.

 

Agile CRM

Like HubSpot, Agile CRM allows you to track which phase of the sales process each lead is in.

It records each interaction with the lead and creates events for calls, meetings, follow-ups, and more. On top of that, it analyzes lead behavior and calculates a leadscore so you can decide when and how to proceed.

 

Gmelius

Gmelius is a free solution for someone who wants a lightweight tool seamlessly integrated with their Gmail inbox. The tool tracks emails and delivers instant feedback so you can send the right follow-up.

You can even see which templates are most effective, then personalize and schedule them easily. Leadscores and contact overviews are not a feature, but Gmelius can be integrated with a more full-service CRM to cover all your bases.

 

Pipedrive

Like Gmelius, Pipedrive focuses on a few core strengths for sales teams that prefer a lightweight tool. Its key features include tracking emails and calls, an interface that provides a streamlined overview of where everyone is in the sales process, and prioritized follow-up tasks that automatically shuffle to the top of your to-do list.

However, emails cannot be composed and scheduled to send automatically and there’s little insight into how likely your contact is to buy.

Each sales team will have different needs and considerations. No matter how much or how little automation and functionality you want, there’s likely a reasonably priced (or free) tool that will optimize your sales follow-up process.

 

What to Do After Closing a Sale

You did it. With the help of the right tool, you were able to successfully nurture your lead and close the sale. However, the sales follow-up process doesn’t end there. Here are a few tips for making the most of the deal and laying the groundwork for a second sale:

Send a Thank You Note

While this step is hopefully common sense, it’s important enough to warrant repeating. Send a quick but heartfelt thank you note immediately after finalizing the deal. By thanking your customer for doing business together, you ensure a lasting partnership (ie. a repeat customer).

Check-In

After your new customer has had time to get to know your product or service, reach out to see how they’re enjoying it. Soliciting feedback is also useful for improving your product and your customer experience. This step establishes trust and grows the relationship in preparation for the next step.

Make a Second Sale

By developing a relationship with your customer, you will have hopefully primed them to resign their contract automatically. If they don’t need to resign a contract but there’s an opportunity to make an additional sale, now is the time to start that process. The work you’ve done to create your first follow-up process will help you do it.

Start Building Your Automated Sales Follow-Up Process

Reaching out to leads at the right time and with the right message can make or break your sales process.

From capturing and qualifying leads to making contact and setting meetings, a high-converting sales follow-up process can have a lot of steps and moving parts. It can quickly become too much to manage on your own, unless you like inputting data into spreadsheets and setting countless reminders on your calendar.

Luckily, the right tool for your needs can streamline much of the process. Setting alerts, tracking unanswered emails, and sending previously composed emails at scheduled times can simplify your job and allow you to focus on what matters, aka communicating in a compelling, meaningful, and human way.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters