Lead generation is an important part of the operations of a call center. However, the entire point of staying in the business is converting these leads into actual customers who will contribute to sales and keep your revenue model working.
Generating a whole lot of leads would not cause any positive change unless and until those leads are nurtured properly to translate into actual business.
While generating leads is the objective of any good sales team, it has been seen that less than half of the B2B marketers operating today have set up a viable process to nurture those leads and translate them into sales.
Companies today are using telemarketing software to direct them into ways that would convert their leads to fruitful business.
This process is time consuming and requires consistency, but the rewards at the end of it are significant. Most importantly, for businesses to survive and grow there has to be a mechanism by which an interested potential customer is approached so that he or she buys in to the belief of the company’s services and contributes to their sales.
“If your sales team is following up on nurtured leads, give them relevant/related talking points to use. The first impression matters. So does the second. So does every single touch after that”, says Brian Caroll on ‘B2B Lead Generation, Empathetic Marketing, and Sales’.
Lead nurturing is a continued process. Customers who would go on to perhaps make a sizeable investment in your company would definitely conduct their own research, conduct meetings with their managers and shareholders, etc before coming to a decision.
This is the most critical time to nurture your leads by getting involved in their decision-making process.
A DemandGen report indicates that nurtured leads in the market today produce a 20% increase in sales opportunity than non-nurtured sales leads.
The strategies that are involved in this process tend to vary from company to company. Every marketer has a specific idea of how to approach potential clients during their decision making time so as to augur favorable for his own company.
Established tactics like content marketing, referrals and in-person connections are used as the bedrock for all organizations. However, there are finer details in the process that could contribute significantly to sales if implemented correctly.
Here are a few of the top tips on nurturing B2B leads to grow your business.
1. Automation of the nurturing process – With the availability of software, there is no reason to waste time and resources on manning every single procedure.
A Gartner Research report points to the fact that companies which have automated their lead nurturing procedures have an edge of 10% or greater with respect to sales than their counterparts in the business.
2. One important factor to bear in mind is that all of the connections and communications you bring to the table must be relevant to the cause.
The more relevant the potential customer finds your lead nurturing to be; the more likely it is for you to gain their business.
Technology allows us to improve performance by segregating our sales leads to provide optimum nurturing in a different manner for different leads.
Thus a pitch to any potential client is based on a comprehensive study of their profile and history, marking up the efficiency and the likelihood of conversion.
3. Evaluation of the lead source is important, and an extension of how exactly different leads are to be segregated and treated in different manners to get the best out of it.
One of the better tactics to understand the approach to take is to consider the lead source and when it entered the sales funnel.
Leads coming in from Facebook mentions have to be handled differently compared to the leads generated at a conference. Understanding the customer is the first step to establishing a relationship.
4. Marketing, for the most part, is an acquired science. Rigorous testing of established practices in a changing environment allows us to fine-tune our systems to adapt to the circumstances of the present and keep delivering the best it can.
Lead nurturing is no different in this regard. Tests need to be carried out and documented meticulously to understand the hits and misses of the entire process. With the help of software, the data collected from the test suites is an excellent indicator of what to do and what not to do in such scenarios.
5. Leads can have their reservations about joining a new company for the first time. Understandably, they will have a lot of queries and clarifications, which makes it important for the company to stay in constant touch and communicate effectively to satisfy the customer and convince him to invest in your brand.
Keep providing them with information; keep supplying snippets from your company that solve the problems they are concerned about. This will eventually lead them realizing their one-stop solution is, investing in your business.
6. As discussed above, automation technology has made it possible to keep the lead nurturing process flowing seamlessly without human intervention at all the levels.
However, it remains important to note that a customer who comes on board, you should be able to create a personal relationship with him or her.
Thus it becomes important to design your automated techniques to ensure that the results are tailor-made for every individual customer, instead of one generic approach for all the proceedings.
7. Free offers are one of the best ways to gain insight into the customer’s likes, dislike and behavioral patterns. Many companies offer a free trial for a limited amount of time, and the data that they gain from the use of these free trials is then put to use to customize the service exactly as the customer would want it to operate.
Such demonstrations also allow the customer to get a taste of what he could gain, and more often than not incites him to buy in to the services you offer.
8. Targeted Customer Feedback is an important way to understand exactly what you have to do to make the package more attractive for him and convince him to opt for it.
Therefore, it could be a good idea to set up a feedback mechanism after providing a demonstration or trial of the key aspects of the services you offer.
9. The best marketing campaigns start off with a simple idea and then build around it to form a more complex structure.
The same can be applied for the lead nurturing tactics. To begin with, address the customer’s most pertinent problems, and build a platform around it with the core function of solving those same problems, but ancillary jobs which take care of the other concerns and provide premium service.
This approach means, the customer can easily identify the objectives of your work, and then gets an overview of how those problems would be solved.
10. Because lead nurturing is such a dedicated and categorical procedure, sometimes it can fall beyond the scope of a call center occupied with carrying out the telemarketing services.
In such cases, it is best to invest in outside help for these matters, because translating leads into sales is the lifeblood of the business.
Investing in the right call center software, explaining the right tools, approaching the right way are all aspects that require training and expertise.
Call center agents must be equipped to handle these elements so that the company’s business continues to thrive.
The Case Study
Businesses rise and fall on the basis of how many clients they can get and hold onto, and how much revenue they generate from these clients.
In both these aspects, the root source is proper lead nurturing after the sales team has been able to generate interest.
Lead nurturing forms the cornerstone of a successful business, which is why the big guns are ready to opt for the best telemarketing software that will provide direct pointers on what to do, to convert a maybe to a yes.
The tips and strategies provided above are of great help when approaching a potential customer. Keeping them in mind will definitely boost your conversion ratio. To further illustrate this point, let us take a look at an actual case study that highlights the importance of strategizing in lead nurturing practices.
Let us take up the case of a call center we will call DOCERA SOLUTIONS, for the sake of anonymity. For the purpose of this case study, DOCERA SOLUTIONS provides telecommunications solutions for a large company.
In the case study we will take a look at the situation that DOCERA SOLUTIONS was in, and how they faced challenges in fulfilling the goals they had outlines.
We will then look at the solutions they came up with to solve those problems, and whether the results of that implementation favored positively for them or not, in the short and long run.
The Problem Scenario
DOCERA SOLUTIONS has a sales team dedicated to the generation of leads from the various sources. However, they found that despite the large number of people and companies showing interest, very few actually ended up investing in their services.
This was hampering the growth of the company, with competitors looming large in the marketplace. They were gradually losing their majority in market share, and had to come up with a practice that would ensure, they were able to better their conversion rate significantly.
The Challenges that DOCERA SOLUTIONS faced with respect to lead nurturing are mentioned below.
1. Prospective clients who showed interest in the business all faced the same generic responses which did not always suit their needs. Due to this lack of personalization, a lot of the interested clients opted out in the early stages of lead nurturing.
2. Clients were looking for a taste of hands-on implementation of what they could get out of investing in the business. However, DOCERA SOLUTIONS did not have any free trials or demo experiences set up which would enable the lead to get a glimpse of what they had to offer.
Without this clear indication of what they could expect, there was a drop in the interest of leads to invest in this particular company.
3. The call center did not automate their processes and so found it very difficult to gather the sheer volume of resources required to deal with the queries of every lead generated.
As a result, many of the leads were placed in queue, where interest dwindled very naturally. This means that a lot of the leads were rejected even without a try.
This was especially harmful given the fact that many of these interested customers could have actually bought into their business.
The managers drew up the following solutions to counter the problems that they were facing.
1. They decided to invest in the best call center software that would systematically plan out all of the necessary steps to ensure effective lead nurturing and would also segregate users based on the data available to them, thus ensuring that the pitch for every potential customer would be exactly as per their requirement.
2. They went the way of automation to relieve stress on the employees and to ensure that the process could flow without constant human intervention.
3. The company released trial software where all the interested customers could access the essential features of the service for free and then decided whether it suits their needs or not. This way they were able to show exactly what they were providing, and also collect data about the user behavior.
Within a month of implementing these changes, lead nurturing and conversion saw a sharp upward spike. Business increased by 2% in the first year, rising to 20% within the first five years. Business grew every year and they were able to capture the majority of the market share in the long run as well.
Thus we see how critical lead nurturing is to the success of a business, and how proper strategizing and technological implementation can help in providing these services effectively in order to boost sales for the company.