B2B Sales 101: Definition, Techniques & More

B2B Sales 101: Definition, Techniques & More

We all know that making a sale is the act of exchanging a product or service in return for cash, but there is far more to selling than what meets the eye.

With B2B e-commerce sales predicted to exceed B2C e-commerce sales by 2020, B2B selling is constantly growing. So, what are B2B sales, and how are they different from B2C sales?

In this article, you’ll learn how businesses use varying strategies to sell to each other and what type of software they can use. Using the information provided, you’ll be able to determine which selling techniques are best suited for your company and how you can use these to effectively increase B2B sales.

Use the links below to navigate each section:

What Are B2B Sales?

B2B sales refer to business to business selling: when one company sells products or services to another company. B2B selling uses a multitude of strategies; some which we’ll cover later in this article.

Business to business selling is often a complex process, involving several decision makers to close a sale.

There are two types of B2B sales that can be made:

  1. A business selling products or services to a company which can then use these to manufacture or sell their own products. One example of this is a food wholesaler selling ingredients to a bakery, so they can produce their own baked goods.

BidFood is an example of a B2B business providing food for businesses who serve their own customers.

  1. A business selling products or services which meet a company’s needs. For instance, a company selling software services, such as email or an e-commerce platform.

Decision makers in the B2B selling process can include sales representatives, senior executives, board of directors, the financial department, legal services, researchers, CEOs, and more.

In a business with between 100 and 500 employees, an average of seven decision makers are involved in B2B sales.

 

How Are B2B Sales Different from B2C Sales?

In contrast to business to business selling, B2C sales refer to business to customer sales: when a company sells products or services to an individual customer.

A few examples of B2C selling include:

  • A sales representative selling a gym membership
  • A grocery store selling groceries
  • An online fashion store selling clothing to an individual
  • Retail stores selling a range of goods

Essentially, the buyer of the goods or service is the end user of the product.

It’s possible for a company to offer both B2B and B2C selling – a hotel selling rooms to individual consumers and conference rooms to businesses is one example.

B2C selling strategies can include using marketing campaigns to provoke an emotional response from the buyer, using social media influencers to create a connection with the buyer, and hosting contests.

B2B sale techniques require marketing strategies which are usually directed to a company’s specific requirements.

Let’s delve into eight B2B strategies you can use to make sales.

 

How to Do B2B Sales: 8 B2B Sale Strategies You Can Use

Every product or service needs a sales strategy, no matter how great it is. With several decision makers to impress, using an effective marketing technique is the difference between a no and a yes.

So, how can B2B businesses close more deals? Here are eight sales strategies to use:

Research Your Prospects

Knowing who your prospects are can make or break your sales. Research has shown that at least 50% of prospects are not a good fit for your business.

While 100% conversion is relatively unknown, gathering data from your prospects will give your sales team an increased chance of closing a sale.

Researching your prospects doesn’t need to be time-consuming, especially if you have a large pool of potential customers to contact. Knowing which specific aspects to research before that important phone call or email will enable you to create a tailored conversion.

Your research can include:

  • The Prospect’s Background
  • What is your prospects mission and values?
  • How many employees do they have?
  • What do they offer?
  • How large is the company?

Search their website or LinkedIn page to find answers to these questions. For example, here’s a look at ConvertKit’s LinkedIn with a link to a list of people who work there:

Additionally, explore their social media platforms, search for company mentions in publications, and read any blog posts they’ve written to help shape your conversion – what products or services are they talking about? Have they attended any events? 

 

Who Are the Decision Makers?

Reach out directly to key decision makers to save time on your sales process. You’ll often find key decision makers are listed on your prospect’s website, which may appear in the ‘about us’ section or ‘our story’.

For example, Eight Hour Day Studio use their about page to provide visitors information about their founders:

The contact page may also provide suggestions on who to contact for purchasing decisions, for instance, a contact name in a specific department.

LinkedIn is a goldmine for finding key players in a company. See if you can find information on who works for the company, their job role, and how long they have been employed at the company. Those who have only just started working at the company may not have as much influence in decision making as others.

Once you’ve found a few potential prospects, you can use an email finder to identify the prospect’s email address.

 

What are Their Pain Points?

Before you contact your prospect, you’ll need to be aware of how your product or service addresses their pain points.

  • What does your prospect require that you can offer a solution to?
  • Are they currently using any products or services which you can offer a better alternative to?

You can include this information in your conversation with your prospect. For example, if your prospect is using social media adverts to drive traffic to their website, you can ask them if this method has been meeting company goals. This presents the opportunity for you to offer an alternative which may be cheaper, more cost-effective, or provides improved results.

 

Who are Their Competitors?

Analyzing your prospect’s competitors allows you to determine what they’re doing better.

While decision makers don’t enjoy hearing which aspects of their business are not performing as well as their competitors, you can use this to your advantage by showcasing how your product or service will give them an advantage over their rivals.

 

Focus on Building Relationships

As the B2B sales process is longer than the B2C selling process, developing a close relationship with your prospects can be highly beneficial. Relationships are important as the majority of B2B businesses lose 45 to 50% of their clients over the course of five years.

In comparison to B2C businesses which tend to have one-off payments or small subscription payments, B2B sales are generally of higher value than B2C sales, representing thousands of dollars in revenue. Losing just one customer can create a huge dent in revenue, so it’s essential to place your customers at the heart of your business.

Focus on developing valuable relationships with your customers to fuel your marketing efforts. Customer satisfaction prevents your customers from leaving and helps you to hook prospects.

Having a valued relationship with your customer also encourages them to talk about your product or service. Word of mouth is the most powerful aspect influencing a purchasing decision.

With the B2B sales cycle increasing by 22% over five years due to more people becoming involved in purchasing decisions, building a relationship with your prospects is extremely valuable.

How can you build meaningful relationships with your prospects?

  • Create a lead nurturing strategy. In other words, help your prospects to get to know your business. According to Forrester Research, businesses with an effective lead nurturing strategy generate 50% more sales.
  • Educate and inform via your marketing strategies. This can include content marketing.
  •  Build trust by acknowledging your prospects concerns. We’ll go into detail on this topic shortly.

When it comes to building customer relationships, think about the long-term focus of your B2B business. Stop concentrating on closing the sale and start putting customer satisfaction at the center of your goals.

 

Build an Effective Website

94% of B2B buyers conduct online research before making a purchasing decision. This includes social media, online reviews, blogs, search engines, and websites. Having a dedicated website for your B2B business helps prospects to understand more about your business.

Your website helps you to stand out from your competition by allowing you to present your company’s mission and values.

What is your unique selling point?

One way to develop your unique selling point is to state a result plus target sector plus guarantee. For example: “we help B2B businesses to implement a content marketing strategy and increase leads by 10% or we’ll return your money.”

Additionally, your website is the center of your content marketing strategy, such as blog posts and lead magnets. Your website is where you can present your products and services to your prospects.

Your content plays a key role in lead generation. However, if your website is clunky or poorly designed, it’s not going to entice potential customers. Your website design should focus on being accessible and aiding business goals with a simple navigation, contact page, social media links, designated pages for specific resources, and optimized for mobile usage.

 

Establish a Social Media Presence

Being present on social media helps you attain customer research, as well as discovering more information about your competition.

Social selling is another option to consider. Companies incorporating social selling into their B2B sales strategies perform 15% better than those without a social selling strategy.

Social selling helps you to find and target key decision makers, focus on real people, and establish warm leads, helping guide them through the buying process. In contrast, traditional selling involves cold leads and finding random contacts, making the selling process more difficult.

67% of a buyer’s journey is now through digital means. Research has found that 90% of decision makers never respond to cold callers, emphasizing the importance of nurturing your prospects before closing a sale.

Using social media as part of your content marketing strategy helps you to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, aiding trust with your prospects. You can share content you’ve already published on your website or share exclusive content, such as interesting statistics, behind the scenes information or stories from satisfied customers.

One of the best places to start with your social strategy is LinkedIn. LinkedIn boasts over 560 million members and 80% of B2B leads are generated via the social platform.

Why is LinkedIn so successful for B2B lead generation?

  • Many business decision makers are present on LinkedIn
  • These decision makers use LinkedIn to actively make business decisions. Let’s face it, they’re not on LinkedIn to scroll through your family photographs
  • LinkedIn has 260 million active users each month – 40% of which, log in daily

So, how can you use LinkedIn to your advantage?

  • Promote your website content, including blog posts, eBooks, white papers
  • Connect with decision makers
  • Use your company page to generate leads by stating your mission, values, promoting a piece of content, and regularly posting updates
  • Join relevant B2B groups which are in your target audience
  • Create your own LinkedIn group to help establish your authority
  • Publish tailor-made content directly to LinkedIn publisher

 

Create Content to Aid Your Prospect

Your content marketing strategy should include resolving any queries your prospect has, helping you to build trust. Your content also helps you to establish your brand as a leader within your market as you can share your expert knowledge.

Your content should focus on teaching rather than selling to nurture relationships with prospects. Creating high-quality content early in the buyer’s journey aids this process. Educational and authoritative content which is consistently published can drive organic traffic to your website via search engines and inbound links.

Gated content allows you to offer your best content in return for your prospects email information, allowing you to add more prospects to your lead nurture strategy.

Your content marketing strategy might include:

  • Blog posts
  • Educational articles
  • Webinars
  • eBooks
  • Videos
  • Whitepapers
  • Reports
  • Guides
  • Quizzes
  • Courses

For example, HubSpot has their own academy, featuring a range of recognized free courses which are available in return for a prospect sign up:

Create a content library to guide prospects through the buyer journey and provide knowledge to help them make a buying decision. Your content library should include content which answers your prospects queries.

As an example, Credit card processing software company, Square Up, addressed a potential concern from restaurant prospects via a blog post on how new customers can find their restaurant:

This can help to ease concerns from prospects worried that they won’t be able to afford the software.

Your content library can also be shared by your sales team when interacting with prospects. Research has demonstrated that decision-makers are more responsive to salespeople who include articles, case studies, and/or white papers in their outreach.

Utilize Email Marketing

In a survey by Marketing Sherpa, 64% of respondents believed that email marketing delivers the biggest return of investment in comparison to other marketing tactics.

Email marketing is a crucial part of your B2B sales strategy, assisting in turning prospects into buyers. Once a prospect has given their consent for you to email them, you can use a variety of content to nurture them.

Types of emails you can send include:

  • Newsletter – an announcement, blog post round-up, events, or recent news. Think about what information you can offer to benefit your prospect. Maybe you could announce a free guide on one of their pain points or announce a free workshop where they can learn new skills.
  • Educational content – this could be an extract from one of your articles, a preview of an eBook, or a separate piece of content which your prospect will learn from. Remember to focus on education rather than selling in your emails.

Personal email – when your lead is getting closer towards the end of your sales funnel, you may wish to send a personalized email. This type of email enables you to directly contact an individual rather than addressing a group of people. Personal emails can address an individual’s queries and personal pain points, potentially closing the sale. As an example, LiveChat use a personalized newsletter to hook prospects:

Provide Real Results

Prospects don’t just want to know about your product or service; they’re interested in real results! What can you do for your prospect to help them achieve their goals? Be specific with numbers.

Real results can be fantastic for presenting in case studies on your website. Your case studies allow prospects to see your success stories, viewing your strategies and work process.

Really B2B use case studies on their website to showcase client results:

An engaging case study can use a question and answer format, a who, what, where format, or your own unique format – just remember to clearly state what your prospects goals were, what you did, and the specific results you achieved.

 

Attend Events

Attending events or hosting your own brings you closer to your prospects. 69% of B2B marketers say events are effective, while 64% of marketers use events and trade shows for lead generation.

Your event marketing plan could involve one of your sales team speaking at an event, hosting an exhibit at a trade show, sponsoring an event, or co-hosting an event with a company not in direct competition with yourself.

 

Sales Software for B2B Sales

Sales platforms assist B2B businesses in serving their customers. B2B sales software can involve order processing, nurturing prospects, membership only areas, marketing, and more.

There are varying sales software for B2B sales. Here are 5 sales software to consider:

 

LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer is a lead generation platform which provides real-time information about visitors to your website. LeadBoxer helps you find new leads by analyzing your web traffic to identify and segment users. All website data is examined, including logins, downloads, forms, and clicks.

You can generate new leads for your business, pursue them quickly due to real-time analytics, and create segments.

Who is LeadBoxer suitable for: Any business with an online presence.

Free trial available: Yes.

Campaign Monitor

Campaign Monitor is an email marketing platform that allows you to send personalized emails to leads and customers. Sign up forms can be customized and transactional emails can reflect your brand image.

Campaign Monitor offers an array of templates for your email campaigns. A drag-and-drop email builder provides simplicity to users.

Who is Campaign Monitor suitable for: Any business using email marketing as part of their B2B sales strategy.

Free trial available: No. However, users can access all features for free. Payment only occurs once emails are ready to be sent.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

We’ve already noted that LinkedIn is an effective platform for lead generation. LinkedIn Sales Navigator assists you in this process by offering an advanced lead search, an easy way to saves leads, lead recommendations based on an algorithm, and a method of engaging with prospects.

Pursue the right people in your target audience and keep track of any changes.

Who is LinkedIn Sales Navigator suitable for: Any business searching for new leads.

Free trial available: Yes, to eligible users.

ClearSlide

ClearSlide is a sales engagement platform that allows users to share sales materials, track email campaigns, host materials for sales calls, provide web conferencing, and create slides for presentations.

Clearslide can be used for product demonstrations, sharing presentations with customers, and recording meetings.

Who is ClearSlide suitable for: Any business using video in their B2B sales strategy.

Free trial available: Yes.

HubSpot

HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform containing a content management and customer relationship management system. With HubSpot, you can convert visitors into leads, drive web traffic to landing pages, and get your content in front of your target audience.

You can record every interaction you have with a customer, organize a workflow for teams, automate marketing, and much more.

Who is HubSpot suitable for: Any size of business

Free trial available: Yes, HubSpot offer a free customer relationship management system for clients.

Business to Business Selling with Multiple Strategies

B2B sales is often a complex process with several decision makers. Several strategies can be used to gain leads and close sales, with some businesses using multiple strategies for lead generation.

The first step starts with customer research and knowing who your prospects are. Once you’ve established a target audience, you can use content marketing, social media, and events to build an online presence and build a trusted relationship with your potential customers.

B2B sales software like lead generation software makes sourcing leads and creating a warm relationship easier.

Using the strategies and software in this article will give you a great head start in the B2B sales sector.

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.

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.

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?
  • Why lead qualification is important
  • How to qualify a sales leads using lead scoring
  • Lead qualification frameworks and questions
  • When to move prospects forward

 

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.

 

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.

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.

 

2. Prioritize Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Some will be worth your effort more than others. A leadscore is a single number that helps you quickly identify who is most likely to buy.

Many CRM tools and lead scoring software calculate the leadscore by tracking a lead’s website visits, newsletter opens, website clicks, social media engagement, and more.

Using a leadscore offers numerous benefits for your sales process, including increased measurable ROI, conversion rates, and sales productivity. The infographic below takes a look at a few of these benefits in more detail:

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.

30+ Email Lookup Tools to Find Anyone’s Email Address

30+ Email Lookup Tools to Find Anyone’s Email Address

Finding someone’s email is a crucial part of cold email outreach. Without it, you’re left to call or message them via Twitter or LinkedIn. All of which are likely to lead to low reply/answer rates.

With someone’s email address and the right email tracking app, though, you can reach out them directly, know that the email has arrived in their inbox, and find out whether or not they’ve opened your email.

While some prospects list their email publicly on social media and our their website, others require a little more work. The good news is you don’t need to be a professional detective to find a person’s email addresses.

We’ve scoured the internet for the most popular email lookup tools on the net, to help you source and approach your candidates with ease. Take a look!

1. LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer is the ultimate tool for email lead generation. This GDPR compliant marketing tool comes with everything you need to safely find and convert prospects for your business. LeadBoxer offers multiple ways to identify potential customers, filter your email lists, and qualify your leads through dynamic scoring.

With the app, you can also receive notifications and updates when specific customers engage in conversion activities on your site or read your emails. Additionally, you can identify the contact information of your website’s visitors. This reduces the need for spending time finding leads to reach out to.

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

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2. RocketReach

Find email, social, and phone links for more than 250 million professionals around the world.

RocketReach has a vast archive of contact opportunities. With a state-of-the-art database featuring more than 6 million companies, RocketReach can find almost anyone. You can even find phone numbers to follow up.

You’ll never need to waste time on manual prospecting again. $49/month offers access to the RocketReach API and 170 custom lookups.

3. Find That

Self-described as “The Yellow Pages of Email”, Find That is a powerful email lookup tool.

Simply type in your prospect’s name and company into the search box, and Find That will automatically return a list of emails for that specific person. The list ranks contacts by “confidence”. This means that the email addresses you see first are the ones most likely to be legitimate.

A free plan is available with 50 searches included per month. Premium plans start at $29/month for 500 searches.

4. LeadGibbon

Track verified email addresses with a single click using LeadGibbon.

The Sales Navigator application allows you to search by industry, job title, location, company size, and more.

You can even export the data you collect to Google Sheets. Alongside contact details, the system also records names, titles, company, industry, and location. LeadGibbon has a huge database, along with up to a 99% match accuracy.

5. Vocus.io

An email lookup tool designed for Google Chrome users, Vocus.io is a comprehensive email solution that expands your Gmail capability. Just one of the features included in the system is email prospecting. The tool also includes email tracking, scheduling, and snooze functionality.

To use the tool, type the name and company domain of the person you want to connect with into the search bar. Vocus.io will create a list of possible email addresses, which it runs through a “verification” service. There’s no bulk search available on Vocus. Pricing starts at $5/month.

6. Voila Norbert

Voila Norbert makes it easy to find any email address. Create an account and you’ll instantly receive 50 free searches. To find someone’s email, type the company domain and person’s name into the tool’s search bar, and Norbert will generate a result. You are only charged for emails that that tool is able to find.

The starter plan is available at $49/month for 1,000 leads (emails found). You can also purchase credits on a pay-as-you-go basis at $0.10/lead.

7. Hunter

Previously known as “Email Hunter,” Hunter is a popular email lookup tool that allows you to search for emails by domain. To use the tool, you simply enter in a company’s URL and Hunter will return a list of emails that belong to that company.

There is a free plan available for 100 “requests” (email searches). Paid plans start at $39/month for 1,000 requests.

8. Hiretual

Hiretual is an email prospecting app that pulls information from Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook  This chrome extension finds email addresses and picks up additional information such as a person’s compensation range and seniority level.

Using artificial intelligence, the service collects information from around the web to build a full profile on the person you’re looking for. The service integrates with Gmail and Outlook. There is a free trial available that offers 10 searches a week and a premium plan offering 200 searches for $89 per month.

9. Lusha

This email search tool isn’t just fast and efficient; it’s also personal. Companies can customize the Lusha experience by adding the service to Salesforce, LinkedIn, or Twitter. There’s also a “Contact API” available for developers to plug into their existing technology stack.

The free trial comes with 5 searches per month for a single user. After that, you can choose from the “Essential” plan, for $25/month which offers 30 searches for one user, or the “Professional” plan at $69/month with 100 searches for up to 10 users. There’s also a “Premium” option with 300 searches for 25 users at $139/month.

10. FindThatLead

Intended for account-based sales, FindThatLead is quick and easy to use. Type a company URL into the search bar and click “Find Leads” to generate a list of email addresses within that company.

The free plan includes 10 daily credits (searches) a month. Alternatively, you can upgrade to a small business plan for $29/month to access 1,500 monthly credits.

11. Toofr

Toofr is a service that sells email lists. You can search for lists based on industry, company, job title, and more. Pricing for lists varies based on the specific list you’d like to purchase.

Toofr does have an email finder tool. To find the address of a specific person, all you have to do is enter in their full name and their company URL. Toofr’s monthly plan cost $9/month plus $0.01 per credit – each credit equals one search.

12. AnyEmailFinder

With Anymail Finder, you can look up email addresses by entering a person’s full name and company URL or name. You can test the tool once for free without creating an account. After that, you’ll receive access to 20 free searches by signing up.

Premium plans are available at $49 per month for 1,000 verified emails. You only pay for emails that Anymail Finder knows won’t bounce.

13. Nymeria

If you’re hoping to gather prospects from your LinkedIn network, then Nymeria is the perfect tool for you. Offering users the chance to find emails with a single click, the browser extension scans through LinkedIn profiles to find verified email addresses. Once found, you can export emails to a spreadsheet.

Nymeria offers various plans, including their “Personal” plan at $9/month, which enables you to search for up to 1,000 emails, their “Professional” plan at $19/month for 3,000 email searches, and their “Startup” plan at $49 per month for 10,000 searches. There’s also an “Enterprise” option at $99/month for 25,000 email searches.

14. Clearbit

Clearbit is an advanced email search tool that integrates with your CRM system. It currently supports Segment, Zapier, Marketo, and Salesforce. Clearbit also comes with a “Connect” feature which works with Gmail and Outlook.

The “Prospector” system scans through 20 million companies to create lists of targeted accounts that fit specific criteria for your business needs, like the number of employees within a company, or preferred technology stack.

Once you find the contacts you need, you can import them directly into your CRM system. Pricing varies depending on your needs but the “Prospector” package for Salesforce is $999/ month.

15. LinkedIn Sales Navigator Lite

Another powerful email tool that integrates with Gmail, LinkedIn Sales Navigator Lite is an extension for Chrome owned by LinkedIn. Once you install the extension, you can compose new emails in Gmail by typing a potential address into the “To” field. The system will draw data from LinkedIn to help find email details.

This tool gives you an opportunity to guess your way to success with email prospecting. This can take more time than some of the other options on this list. The tool is free, however.

16. SellHack

Sellhack is a simple and effective browser extension. The service uses an “industry leading” 12-step email verification engine to identify accurate email addresses. You can even use one-click integration to send personalized cold emails directly from your email account to the prospects you find.

There’s a bulk email lookup option. Prices start at $19/month for 150 search credits. The “Starter” plan is $49/month for 350 credits and the “Pro” plan is $99/month for 750 credits.

17. HeadReach

With HeadReach, you can search for emails using a name, company title, or website. With the “advanced search” option, you can search for leads by job description (ex. Editor in Chief at Entrepreneur).

HeadReach also records a log of all your searches so that you can go back through your history. Pricing starts at $29/month for 100 credits. You are only charged a credit when the tool finds an accurate email for the person you’re searching. At $49/month, you will receive 500 search requests and 250 credits. At $89/month, you’ll receive 500 credits and 1000 search requests.

18. Email Permutator

Email Permutator is a free tool that allows you to enter in a person’s full name and their company URL in order to generate a list of potential email addresses. There is no type of verification service with this tool. Using it will require a trial-and-error approach to correctly identify a person’s email.

19. Email Generator

Email Generator automatically generates over 50 potential email combinations for the contact you’re searching for in seconds. Using an advanced database, the system provides the most obvious combinations, to reduce your risk of an email bouncing.

Email Generator also shows potential variations for email services like Outlook and Gmail. For example, “first.name@gmail.com” and “fname@outlook.com”.

20. BuzzStream

BuzzStream works by turning search result pages and website lists into a browsable list of prospects. When you search for blogs or influencers on Google, the tool shows up in the right-hand side of your browser to suggest possible prospects and email addresses pulled from those websites.

You can also use keywords like a person’s name to search for specific contacts and find their email address and social profiles. Once you find an email, Buzzstream adds it to a spreadsheet for you, alongside other information like the website the email is associated with, that site’s domain authority, and the prospect’s Twitter name. Pricing starts at $24/month for 30 prospecting searches.

21. Ninja Outreach

Ninja Outreach helps with finding business leads and influencers by browsing through social profiles and websites online. Simply type keywords like “technology company” into the system, and it will list possible contacts from it’s internal database. You can also use the system to track your email campaigns and conversions with a built-in CRM system.

Prices start at $69/month for unlimited searches, unlimited emailing, and customizable email templates for a single user. The most popular package is “pro” for $99 per month, which adds a team collaboration tool.

22. LeadFuze

LeadFuze is an email lookup tool and contact list generation extension for Google Chrome. With LeadFuze, you can create relevant prospect lists without all the hard work and time. The system checks through social media profiles, email addresses, and prospect information your behalf.

LeadFuze also features targeted email creation, follow-up drip campaigns, and email tracking. The system is free for up to 25 leads. Paid plans start at $397/month for 1,000 verified searches.

23. Getemail.io

A simple yet effective email lookup tool from startup in France, Getemail comes with 10 free credits to get you started. Each credit equals one email search. Although you won’t receive as many free searches with Getemail.io as some of the other tools on this list, the service comes with access to machine learning algorithms and big data for more accurate searches.

The “Basic” plan costs $49/month for 300 searches and email support. The “Standard” plan costs $99/month for 1,000 searches and instant chat support. If you upgrade to the “Premium” plan at $149/month, phone support is also available, and you’ll receive 2,000 searches.

24. Snov.io

With Snov.io, you can find all the emails associated with a single person and verify them instantly. A green dot next to a prospect’s name means that the email is valid. On the other hand, a yellow dot suggests that the email may or may not be correct.

The Snov.io free account comes with a generous 100 domain searches a month, 100 verified LinkedIn searches, and the opportunity to upload and verify 200 of your own emails.

Paid plans start at $19/month for 1,000 linkedin email searches, 1,000 domain searches, and 500 bulk domain searches. The most expensive plan, labeled “XL”, features 50,000 verified LinkedIn emails, 50,000 domain searches, and 25,000 bulk searches for $139 per month.

25. Slik Prospector

This well-known email prospecting tool, Slik Prospector, uses a database of 70 million addresses to generate highly-targeted lead lists. The system claims an accuracy of 95, and you pay on a per lead per month basis for accounts. Each search costs $0.10.

There are also paid plans available, the first priced at $70/month for 500 searches, the second at $120/month for 1,000 searchers, and the third at $200/month for 1,800 searches.

With Slik Prospector, you can filter emails by job title, industry, company size, or location. For those who want to test Slik Prospector before buying, there’s a free trial available, though you’ll need to request it via email.

26. Email Magpie

Email Magpie is an email tool that searches through available public information on the internet and its own database. Email Magpie finds influencer, company, and customer leads according to your chosen categories online.

For instance, you can look for tech companies, software brands, marketing companies, or any B2B clientele you choose. You can also search for lists according to geographical location or industry vertical. Paid plans $300 per month for 2,750 targeted emails.

27. AeroLeads

With AeroLeads, you can find phone numbers, email addresses, and social media profile information for businesses and their decision makers. AeroLeads is a Google Chrome plugin, so you’ll need to download and activate it before you start searching. With the tool, you can find emails through LinkedIn, Google, and various other blogs.

When you add a prospect name or domain to AeroLeads, the service automatically checks for verified email addresses and phone numbers. Pricing starts at $49/month for up to 500 searches.

28. Grabby

Another email lookup tool that pulls data from websites, Grabby works by browsing through a list of websites on your behalf. The tool is available on a pay-by-week fee and only offers a single plan at $19.99/week, per project.

The cloud-based system runs constantly, scanning extensive website lists automatically, so you can run multiple projects at the same time. Just tell Grabby which websites you want to search through and it will do the work in the background.

29. Name2Email

Name2Email is a Gmail extension. To use the tool, compose an email and add a full name and domain to the address bar. The tool automatically generates a list of common corporate email addresses for the person you want to reach.

To improve your chances of finding a valid email, you can hover your cursor over the generated addresses. If a popup shows the person’s name; then you’ve chosen the right address.

While using this tool will be more time consuming than using some of the other options on this list, the extension is completely free. All you need to do is add it to Chrome.

30. Discoverly

Discoverly works in the background as you search through websites and social media pages. It’s a Chrome extension that integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and AngelList, among other services, to automatically pull email addresses and profile information from pages.

The extension is completely free to use. You simply add it to your Chrome browser to get started.

31. ContactOut

A tool frequently used by recruitment teams, ContactOut helps recruiters find valid candidate email addresses. The tool installs as a Chrome extension that’s specifically designed to search through LinkedIn profiles.

The tool claims a 97% accuracy rate when finding email addresses. The extension is completely free to add to your Chrome browser.

Choosing the Best Email Lookup Tool

There you have it, a selection of the some of best email lookup tools online today.

Finding someone’s email is a crucial part of cold email outreach.

The perfect tool for you will depend on a range of factors including pricing, whether or not you need to find contacts from LinkedIn profiles, and if you want to find email addresses at scale.

While most of the tools on the list will help you find email addresses for a list of leads you’ve already identified, what about the ones you haven’t? What about the people you have already visited your website but haven’t contacted your company?

This is where LeadBoxer comes in. With LeadBoxer, you can identify your website’s visitors and their contact information without them reaching out to your first. This way, you’ll never miss out on connecting with a potential lead. To get started, schedule a free demo here.

MQL vs. SQL? What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

MQL vs. SQL? What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?

Our world is full of acronyms. And while there’s no shame in asking a colleague to define terms, few of us feel comfortable raising a hand in a crowded meeting and asking a speaker to unpack a sentence.

Consider MQL and SQL. You may know that the “L” in these terms stands for “Leads.” If you’re in sales or marketing, you may even be tasked with increasing MQLs or SQLs.

However, that is a basic understanding. Digging in a little deeper about the similarities, differences, and uses of these two terms can help you to be even more effective. Let’s learn more about both.

Defining Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)

The acronym MQL stands for “Marketing Qualified Lead.”

In the shortest definition we could find, courtesy of Hubspot, an MQL is a person that is more likely to become a customer when compared to a typical person.

Think of it this way: Many people may connect with your company. They may visit your website, attend your webinars, or chat with you at a trade show.

For some of these people, the goods and services you offer are exactly what they’re looking for. But for others, your product or service is not a good fit. They may never be in the position to buy anything from you at all.

The people in that first group — those who are interested and have the potential to buy your product — are your MQLs.

Separating MQLs from unqualified leads typically involves using a lead-scoring program. You’ll assign a certain set of points to actions people might take, such as:

  • Reading an email message you sent.
  • Chatting with you on social media.
  • Downloading an ebook.
  • Filling out an online form.

Once people have amassed enough points, due to all of the actions they’ve taken over time, they can be considered MQLs.

They’ve shown enough interest that it seems likely they are ready to deepen the conversation with someone — typically in sales — within your company.

Defining Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

The acronym SQL stands for “Sales Qualified Lead.”

This person has not only shown a deep interest in your products and services, but they have also shown some sort of intent to purchase. They not only like what you offer, but they actually need to buy what you sell. They also may need to make that purchase in the near future.

While defining an MQL can be done through automated software that assigns scores, defining an SQL is a little trickier. Typically, this is something that involves a conversation between someone in sales and the potential lead.

A SQL:

  • May have specific questions about how your product works or how much it costs.
  • May not understand how your product fits into the other products they’re using.
  • May not be entirely sure the solution is right for them.
  • May not be able to find the answers they need in the marketing materials they’ve seen so far.

People like this need to have a discussion with sales.

At the end of that discussion, if the salesperson senses a real opportunity, this person moves into the SQL category.

Why Does Knowing the Difference Between MQLs and SQLs Matter?

You may be wondering why it’s so crucial to understand whether someone is an MQL or an SQL. After all, a lead is a lead, right?

Not quite.

Understanding where your leads fall into these two categories can help you understand who should be in charge of that next conversation. This could mean the difference between making or losing a sale.

For example, we’ve long been told that people move through a traditional sales funnel in which they become aware of a product, consider options, make a decision, and then become an evangelist for the brand.

While this simplified form of a sale might still make sense in some industries, others consider their sales moving through more of a “tornado”.

In this model, users are consuming a great deal of information throughout the entire journey, and they may bounce back and forth between channels.

They may use social media posts in the awareness phase, for example, and then leap back to social media to evaluate solutions and understand usage. They may swing far away from the product before purchase, rolling out to e-commerce before finally deciding to look at a product catalog.

Consumers are doing a lot of the heavy lifting here, and they’re relying on marketing resources to guide the conversation.

Pushing a savvy consumer to sales at the wrong time could cause a sense of pressure, and that could derail the sale. These people are doing their own homework. They’re not ready to talk yet.

Similarly, connecting a consumer with sales too early means sales must inform the consumer about the product’s ins and outs — and that’s a task best left to marketing.

On the flip side, sending a lead to sales too late might lead to missed opportunities. By the time these people get to the sales team, they may have made a decision and chosen a competitor.

When you have a firm understanding of the typical steps a consumer takes in order to become marketing qualified, and when you know what sorts of behaviors seem to suggest that a purchase is right around the corner, you’ll be well positioned to guide and shape these crucial conversations.

The Transition from MQL to SQL

By now, it’s probably clear to you that an SQL begins life in the company as an MQL. But this move from one state to the other isn’t spontaneous and organic. It requires an ongoing nurturing and communication process. It’s here that many opportunities are lost.

A handoff meeting between marketing and sales can be vital.

The marketing team can offer up a list of all of the resources the person has consumed over a period of time, typically pulled from marketing automation software program, which can help to guide the sales process.

For example, if the prospect has been almost exclusively researching one specific type of product, the salesperson knows the product that should open up a conversation.

Similarly, the salesperson can walk in the customer’s footsteps and read back through all of those resources, looking for knowledge gaps that the consumer might have. Those are ideal conversation starters that can pull the sale forward.

What happens if the sales call didn’t go as planned? This could be a sign that the MQL isn’t so “qualified” after all, but all hope isn’t lost.

When marketing teams are aware of this issue, they can add the person back into the content marketing program.

Maybe a series of follow up email messages about key features, or an invitation to a webinar, could help encourage a deeper level of comfort with the product. In a few weeks or months, that person really could be marketing qualified, and the next sales call could be a touch smoother.

 

Putting Theory into Action

While defining an MQL and an SQL is vital — it’s also personal. That means there’s no handy template you can download in order to sort your leads. Instead, you’ll need to have some in-depth conversations within your sales and marketing teams. You’ll need to discuss your:

  • Customer personas.
  • Typical time to close projects.
  • Marketing resources.
  • Customer/prospect lists.
  • Lead scoring method.

You’ll need to think about how each persona interacts with your company during each buying phase. You’ll define what steps are meaningful and signal a deeper commitment.

You’ll also identify the assets you’re missing that could compel action. Those are the decisions that will help set up your lead scoring method. You’ll use them to understand how an MQL is passed to sales — and what comes next.

When you have a theory in place, sales and marketing will need to keep that conversation going. It’s vital for marketing to know more about the leads that sales finds easiest to convert.

How long have these leads been in the pipeline? What assets did they touch? What sorts of companies are they from? What are their titles?

Sales teams may encourage their marketing colleagues to lock MQL rules down tight. That way, the leads they’re given almost always convert into SQLs and sales.

Unfortunately, a system that’s calibrated too carefully can lead to very empty, loose sales pipelines. And that can leave sales teams with little — or nothing — to do all day.

Meeting regularly to discuss opportunities won, opportunities lost and lessons learned can help the entire group to come up with a plan for the future.

 

Ready to Get Started?

Identifying MQLS and SQLs starts with capturing the right data. We can help you grab that data.

Use LeadBoxer to track activity from all of your leads at all stages of the purchase cycle. Try it for free to get the data you need in real time. Or, schedule a demonstration. We’d love to show you how it works.

 

FREE E-Book: 7 Things to Consider in an Email Tracking App

Download our free E-book and find out exactly what to look for before deciding on a email tracking app.
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