Understanding “Warm Leads”

Understanding “Warm Leads”

Freelance Writer Alex Levitov

In one of our previous articles we discussed why warm leads are better for your business but we realised we got ahead of ourselves. So, we decided to double back and try to understand what are warm leads.

Every company needs to follow up and nurture leads as part of its sales process. Warm leads are nothing more than individuals who have expressed an interest in your company in the past or people with whom you wish to establish a relationship. It could be something as simple as a person filling up an online form and asking for more information on a certain product, or making connections with the staff of a particular organisation. When these people get a visit or a call, it classifies as a warm lead. warm-leads-leadboxer

Whereas cold leads are taken by surprise and often turn negative, warm leads are formed out of a pre-existing relationship or expression of interest. This makes it a lot easier to approach a potential sale, and places warm leads on top of cold leads in the sales cycle. Warm leads result in more effective sales talk.

Why are They Beneficial?

Think of it this way: Would you like it if someone tried to sell you something within the first five minutes of knowing you? Of course not! The same applies to your customers as well. They hate it when your company tries to push a product/service on them, and are more likely to walk away. Even worse, they will probably remember your company in a negative light.

This is exactly why warm leads are preferred. Businesses, especially small ones, rely on warm leads to establish a certain level of trust with possible clients until they are ready to purchase from them. Establishing trust is an integral part of the sales process because the warmer the lead, the higher chance there is of converting it to a sale. Sizeable companies have systems in place for a formal sales process, and these involve introducing the brand to a potential customer, referred to as the lead.

The more the lead becomes exposed to the name and message of the brand, the more it begins to trust the brand over time. Warm leads are primed in such a way that closing sales becomes easy. In fact, companies boasting of solid, well-thought-out sales processes are adept at monitoring calls, messages, emails, and outreach so that each lead understands precisely where every person is in the process.

The Thing About ‘Warm Leads’

The term “warm leads” is quite flexible. For example, any prospect that has been referred to a business website also qualifies as a warm lead, even though the organisation did not contact that prospect directly. Just the fact that the referrer recommended that particular company to the prospect means that an indirect connection has formed between the company and the lead. It is not necessary that the prospect know the business; simply knowing the person who referred them to the company is enough. In this case, the referrer serves as a sort of middleman, which means that generating warm leads is not a linear process.

There is a flexibility associated with warm leads that is missing in others. This makes them all the more lucrative. When a prospect reaches out to the business looking for information, they usually try to find out the contact number or fill out a form on the website requesting a call back. Such prospects are intrigued to go through all the effort to reach out to the business by themselves, without knowing anything about the company. This shows just how easy it is to work with warm leads rather than cold leads.

Warm Leads Mean More Conversion Probability

Though there is still some amount of rapport building to be done on your part, warm leads are simpler to convert into sales than cold calls. The fact that the business had previously established a connection or contact with the prospect is indicative of the fact that they already had some amount of trust between them. This is the reason why the prospect will actually read or listen to whatever you have to say. They will be willing to invest time, and will not be as quick to walk away from the product or service as a result.

Warm leads are actually quite pleasant from the standpoint of the salesperson. They find it easier to distinguish between warm leads and cold leads and interact with the former; all it requires is a little bit of common sense and practice on their part. In the end, what matters the most is the way the prospect views the interaction, instead of how the business classifies it. While interacting with a warm lead, the company should always make it a point to introduce itself and then immediately raise the topic of their pre-existing association with the prospect. The way they respond should be an indication whether the sales team should pursue this lead for conversion or not. The moment you get some sort of acknowledgement about your connection with the prospect, you need to move forward with confidence.

A business is better of investing all their efforts on warm leads rather than cold leads due to the higher probability of conversion. You might have ten cold leads in hand, but compared to them one warm lead is always a better use of your time. Firstly, it is difficult to try and monitor tend cold leads. A person who is familiar with your name or the name of your company and has taken an interest in your services or products will be easier to pin down, rather than the phone numbers of people who have never even heard of you.

How to Generate More Warm Leads?

Some companies resort to paying for long list of email addresses, phone numbers, and data packs. But this cold approach is a hit-and-miss, and less effective than building and nurturing existing relationships with customers. Your time and money is better spent elsewhere, namely creating new relationships and links with interested parties. Such a process can be time-consuming, but the payoff is always greater. Cold calling isn’t something that their sales people enjoy, but they need to do it as part of their job. The trick is converting the cold leads into warm prospects, thereby increasing the chances of a successful sale by the sales team. Some of the most effective methods are given below.

Forming a Blog

If you have an expert sales team on your payroll, chances are you won’t have to work too hard to reach out to customers who know nothing about your business; instead the leads will come to you. It becomes possible through the creation of a website that also hosts a blog offering good content. This, in turn, forms a lead nurturing process that sets your company up with warm leads. All you need to do is research, create a blog with the help of one of platforms for business and share good content on your blog. The blog creates a platform to help attract prospects to your business. This not only improves the SEO but automatically alters the feel of the conversation. The tables are now turned in your direction, and prospects understand that you have valuable insight to provide them before they even engage you directly.

Using Lead Capture Techniques

Get your prospects to visit your website by setting up a well-aimed blog. However, you should make it a point to know who those site visitors are before they leave. Otherwise, it would all be in vain. Use lead capturing to get the details you require about your visitors. Lead capturing involves creating helpful content that solves the problems of your personas. You need to link your blog readers to a specific landing page that requests them to fill up a quick form. As soon as the form is submitted, allow them to access the content for free. Now it is up to the reader whether they share the content you sent with co-workers or friends. What matters is that you have managed to catch their interest and are on your way towards building a relationship.

Using a CRM System

It is best if your company uses CRM software. This ensures that none of the information you gleaned from your leads go to waste. You will find lots of different tools on the Internet that not only monitor who visited your website, but what they looked at, when they visited, and what offers they downloaded as well. The purpose of this data is to provide you with a clearer picture of your lead and initiate a conversation. Once you are able to determine what attracted the lead to your website in the first place, it’s easy to work out the issues they are trying to solve. Your sales team can help you with this.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media

It is important you know how to use social media for the benefit of your company. Simply opening accounts on social networking sites is not going to help; you must know how to get the most out of them. It helps if you begin by thinking long-term. You will be able to generate the initial interest via a clever post or a giveaway. New business is always appreciated, but you should also have a plan on how to plan on building on that foundation. Otherwise, you are going to lose any business as soon as you get it. Social media metrics are a great way to become familiar with your audience and their needs. However, you should first determine the market you wish to cater to. Also, it is important to link your company’s posts, tweets, and updates with the landing page. This will give visitors the chance to know your company even better.

Cross Promotions and Referrals

Warm leads aren’t always the tricky affair that people make them out to be. For instance, customer referrals are a great way to generate business-to-business leads. Customer referrals are built out of trust. Another great option is cross promotions with other businesses. This method provides a cost-effective, easy and quick way to reach new customers; customers who you otherwise would never have been able to gain access to. This is a highly exciting prospect. Planning cross promotions carefully is a great way to tap into an audience base that has high interest in your product.

Webinars and Face-to-Face

Despite the rise of social media techniques, the old-fashioned approach is long from dead. It works wonders, especially in the form of executive events and webinars, where it is possible to interact directly with the lead. Due to the overwhelming focus on technology in the current digital age, the old ways are easy to overlook. But, these methods were used for a very long time and with good reason – they were effective. So your company could try this out. Even telemarketing is capable of providing positive results if forearmed with the right sort of information.

Email

Generating a warm lead through email is possible if you email one of the higher-ups in the organisation and ask for a referral down to the correct individual, or email the decision maker directly. Irrespective of your approach, a lot rides on the subject line of your email. It needs to be interesting enough for the lead to actually read it and open the mail.

There is a particular way to develop effective cold email subject lines. Use the names of the leads in the subject line only if it makes sense. Keep the subject as specific as possible. Make the subject line as personal as you can so that it appeals to the lead, and turns it warm. Make sure that the email doesn’t sound too much like a marketing email. Try to keep it casual yet professional. You could try experimenting with a question format for the subject line of the email. Always make sure that you deliver what was promised in the subject line in the actual email.

Customers are no longer the same, and sales and marketing are trying to keep up. The rise of search engines and social media, businesses and individuals do not have to wait for sales people to approach them. They themselves can go looking for the things they want and choose whichever company offers the same. Sales and marketing work together to bring in warm leads. This helps create more business than cold leads ever could.

How to Contact Leads

How to Contact Leads

This article is part of our three step guide on lead generation basics. For this step, which is the third and final step of lead generation, we discuss how to contact leads. This is arguably the most important step, which can be anything from marketing automation to personal contact, because it’s where the beginning of a sale truly begins to take shape. A quick recap of what we previously talked about: In the first step, we talked about what a lead and lead hacking is, in the second step we outlined the process of lead qualification, and now we will share the best practices of lead contacting.

What do you do once you’ve identified a lead?

This article is about what to do once you’ve identified a lead. While there is no absolute answer to this, there are few things you should be considering to make the strongest introduction possible. The items you should be considering include:

  1. Lead name (a person or company)
  2. Contact details
  3. Subject matter

You will need 1 and 2 (pre-conditions) in order to make contact and talk (step 3).

Customer example question:

“I have a question regarding on how to follow up on possible leads. What if I notice a company is coming back regularly to check out our services, how can I best contact this company? Mail, phone? I don’t want to look like a stalker. Is there any proven strategy or best practices on this subject?”

Much depends on your company’s sales workflow. Is your product high-end – with service contracts, or are you targeting SME (small and medium enterprise) clients. How long is your sales cycle, do you provide a demo, do you have a dedicated sales team to contact leads, etc. These parameters will define the structure of the dialogue. In some cases the lead will get in touch with you, and in some cases you will be initiating contact. Lead generation software (keeping track of potential clients) helps in both scenarios because you can see what your lead is doing (what they are interested in) and their level of interest. “Strike while the iron is hot”. Once you have contact points and subject matter, you should make contact. Try a combination of both telephone and email. Telephone takes more energy, and is more effective when you actually get to speak to the right person. We’ve learned that a combination of both telephone and email works best. We’ve also learned that, in terms of best practices, you want to make an initial call (or email) that is short and sweet. Narrow the conversation down to a single deliverable, if possible. Important: once you make a promise, any promise, no matter how small – make sure you absolutely 100% follow-up. This is trust-building.

How can LeadBoxer help you to contact leads.

LeadBoxer, or any other lead generation software, automates the process of determining who to call and/or email. Many established B2B sites receive hundreds or even thousands of visitors (potential leads) on a weekly basis. Time is often of the essence here. It is not humanly possible to screen all traffic, although it may be a good idea to have different people sort traffic, and do the actual contacting. This is where the software comes is. By “qualification” we mean an automated system for sorting potential leads and ranking them based on qualifying metrics. Allowing you to contact leads which you might have otherwise missed.

Why are Warm Leads Better for Your Business?

Why are Warm Leads Better for Your Business?

Contribution from freelance writer Jackie Wills

Anyone involved in sales and marketing knows that developing sales through cold calling (cold leads) can be a thankless and frustrating task. In the modern age, though, an effective digital marketing strategy can mean that prospective clients already know all about your business and are ready to convert into customers with just a little encouragement. Welcome to the world of warm leads. An effective web presence and strong social media engagement means that the word is already out there regarding your business. People will be aware of your service and your unique selling points, and the whole sales dynamic becomes easier and more successful. This means better conversion rates and less time wasted on trying to develop interest in your product or service from scratch.

Is cold calling dead?

Everyone has experience of a cold call, whether it is a telephone call from a double glazing company, an unsolicited email offering you car insurance or a catalogue through your letterbox. Cold calls do generate some sales leads, or nobody would be doing them, but generation and conversion rates are poor. An increasing number of people block unsolicited calls and emails, and there is a school of thought that cold calling is no longer worth the effort. In the majority of cases, cold calls get you off on the wrong foot with the customer and put you at an instant disadvantage. They are suspicious of you and your motives, they never asked you to call and you probably interrupted them in the middle of dinner. Not the best start for a successful future.

What are warm leads?

A warm lead is someone who has already shown an interest in your product or service. They might have taken a look at your website or signed up for an email newsletter. Or perhaps they have followed you on social media or read an article or blog post that you have published. At the very least, you can be confident that warm leads are aware of and are interested in your product or service and have demonstrated an interest in learning more about it. They are far more promising than cold leads, as the initial “foot in the door” part is not necessary. There will not be the same level of suspicion and reluctance to engage. Many warm leads will approach you, rather than you having to chase them, but there are others that just need a little push in the right direction.

Getting hotter – qualified leads

A qualified lead is one that is a step further on in the buying cycle. While warm leads are aware of what you have to offer, a qualified lead is one that specifically needs that product or service. For example, if you operate an Italian restaurant in New York, then warm leads might be those who look at your social media pages and sign up for newsletters. They know something about your restaurant, and might be prepared to give it a try if they were in the neighborhood. Compare this with someone who has googled “Italian restaurant in New York” – this is a qualified lead, as it is someone who is specifically looking for a service just like yours.

Focus on Warm Leads

SEO experts Search Engine Journal carried out some research on warm leads versus cold, and the results are remarkable. They concluded that search-driven leads have a 14.6% close rate compared to just 1.7% for cold leads. This is simply because warm leads are already better prospects. Cold calls mean a lot of wasted time on prospects who have given no thought to your offering.

Identifying warm leads

The digital age is all about big data. There is more information available regarding every part of a business than ever before. Everyone who clicks on a link, conducts a search or uses an app leaves a unique data stream. The amount of data that’s being created and stored every day is truly mind-boggling, and it just keeps growing. The company that makes the best use of the data at its disposal is the one that will gain an edge over its competitors, but in the grand scheme of things, only a small percentage of data is actually analyzed and used to make critical insights. By making use of online lead generation tools, you can identify who is visiting your website and why. This gives you some useful information as to what people are looking for, and how they are driven to you. It provides a ready-made list of warm leads for you to develop into paying customers.

Evaluating your best leads

You can achieve unprecedented conversion rates by using the latest proprietary algorithms to rank those warm leads and make sure you focus on the ones that are likely to bring the highest prospects of a completed sale. Traditional sales strategies have relied on what is known as the BANT approach to evaluate leads. In short, this evaluates the following parameters:

  • Budget: does the potential lead have the funds available to buy your product or service?
  • Authority: is your prospective buyer in the position to make the purchase decision, or will they have to seek approval from somebody else?
  • Need: do they have a specific need that the product or service will satisfy?
  • Time frame: are they in the market for your product now, or at some future date?

Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with the BANT approach, and it has become the go-to sales qualification methodology. However, it does have certain flaws and limitations. For example, the implication is that Budget is the first and most important consideration, when in reality, most people will agree that Need is most important. What is it that people want, what problems are they facing or questions do they seek answers to that have driven them to your business? Customer need should really be the first consideration of anyone in sales, and in order to understand that, you need to know your customers.

Understanding your customers

Customer personas are the basic characteristics of your customer base. They might include basic demographic information such as age, gender, income level and employment status, as well as non-identifiable personal data, including geographic location, personal goals, past behaviour and lifestyle. Through personas, you also learn why they are looking to interact with your business and what needs they think you can satisfy. This information is of critical importance as it helps you decide where to focus your marketing efforts. Traditionally, companies have defined their most valuable customers as those who spend the most money. However, that may be over-simplistic, and there are plenty of other factors to consider, including the following:

  • Acquisition costs: How much did you have to spend on sales and marketing to win this type of customer? If acquisition costs are high and returns are low, then it could be time to rethink your methods.
  • Retention costs: What do you need to do in order to keep your customers? Do they expect a large amount of communication, support or training? In general, acquisition costs are higher than retention costs, so it makes sense to do whatever you have to, in order to maintain a close relationship with your customers and give them no reason to look elsewhere.
  • Average purchase size: On average, how much does your customer spend on a single purchase? Consider this question not just in the aggregate, but by each persona or customer type. Bear in mind that people often make purchasing decisions on the basis of value, not just on price. Ask yourself whether you might sell more to any customer segments through carefully targeted promotions and by developing an awareness and interest in other product lines. Social media coverage can be great for promotions like this.
  • Lifetime value: Single purchases are great, but repeat purchases are better. How much does each segment spend with your business over the course of their lifetime? This metric says a lot about the overall relationship that you have with your customers.
  • Customer satisfaction: To what extent are your customers satisfied with your product or service offering? Can you identify groups of satisfied and dissatisfied customers? If so, what makes one group happy and the other group unhappy? This is a great way to identify areas for improvement, or it could be a case of needing to communicate better to manage customer expectations.
  • Value alignment: Are your target customers actually the people who are buying from you? If not, then who is? Knowing this will help you to further refine your customer segments, and to make sure you are perfectly aligned.

By examining the above metrics, you will have better knowledge than ever about your customers. Armed with this knowledge, you will be in the ideal position to develop those leads that can bring real long-term success to your business and ensure you maintain that all-important competitive edge. In our next article that you can find here, we have discussed our best Lead Generation strategies for 2017.

LeadBoxer Wins the 2017 Lead Management Software Award

LeadBoxer Wins the 2017 Lead Management Software Award

At LeadBoxer we have always let our customers’ needs determine product development. Our lead identification platform has improved dramatically in recent years, and our efforts were confirmed when FinancesOnline, a popular software review platform, distinguished us  with the Lead Management Software Award for both creating efficient sales opportunities, and for our lead generation capabilities.

The platform’s review team prepared a thorough examination of our software and concluded that LeadBoxer meets all of their quality criteria to be recommended both to SME’s and Enterprises.

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How to contact leads with LinkedIn

How to contact leads with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s 4th most popular social network. As a professional social network, LinkedIn is the most popular among salespeople. LinkedIn is our favourite social platform to use, so it was just a matter of time before we wrote a piece about it. This is definitely not the only time we will talk about its usefulness but today, we wanted to talk a little bit about how to contact leads with LinkedIn.

What can you do with leads identified by LeadBoxer?

Scenario: you have installed the LeadBoxer lead pixel into your website. A few days later, you have a list of companies who are interested in your products and services. You are not 100% convinced that you want to call them up and say “Hey, I saw you clicking around on our website, what’s up?”

People are looking for specific information. Therefore, if you can help them get the information that they need, you are helping them, not bugging them.

In this case, we recommend an indirect approach as you can see below.

 

Best Practises

1. When you see that a company has visited your website, target them through LinkedIn (obviously, you can use any alternative to LinkedIn – which is just the example given here).

2. The strategy is to know that a company is interested – and give them information that makes them aware of your services. Keep in mind that if a lead is actively looking for a solution to their problem, they will appreciate good information.

Note: surfing behaviour is Goal-Oriented. People do not visit (B2B) websites because they are curious as to what they look like. People are looking for specific information. Therefore, if you can help them get the information that they need, you are helping them.

3. Use lead/visitor activity (click streams) to know what your leads are actually interested in and speak to the content/ subject-matter of the pages they visited.

In other words, use a prominent bit of the text on the pages visited in the subject heading of your communication. This will immediately capture the person’s interest much more effectively than sending a generic sales pitch.

4. Locating decision-makers – if your product/ service is related to staffing, find the person(s) responsible for Human Resources. Meaning: locate the company on LinkedIn and then you research who is responsible for Human Resources, etc.

5. You can then advertise via LinkedIn in order to post content on that person/ company’s LinkedIn personal feed. Click here for a blog post we wrote on LinkedIn advertising.

 

Step-by-step

a) locate the company identified by LeadBoxer on LinkedIn b) find the person or persons responsible for the problem you solve c) send a LinkedIn invite request d) OR use Chrome extension called (email) Hunter – to locate their email address and email them e) OR send relevant materials via LinkedIn advertising (see above) ​

How to follow up on leads

How to follow up on leads

Since lead generation is a process in the making, we get a lot of questions about timing. The longer you wait, the more details we could know about your lead. While you could take your time to gather more information on leads, you could be losing your client to a competitor at the same time. Because of that, one of the most important steps is to follow up on leads. (more…)