IT business owners, I’m sure you’ll agree with me on this – there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing your sales leads get wasted.
You spend a good amount of time and money marketing to your target audience, only to find many of the leads you generate slipping through the cracks.
It’s enough to make you pull your darn hair out, isn’t it?
If that sounds like you, you probably already know that the best solution to improving lead conversion is creating a structured follow-up process for your sales team.
But, knowing how to setup your lead follow-up process can be complicated and confusing.
And so, that’s what I’m going to help you with here today.
In this post, I’ll share everything you need to build your own lead follow-up process for your IT business.
Ready to put a strategy in place and immediately improve your conversion rate?
Let’s get started.
First, Why Bother Having a Follow-up Process for New Sales Leads at All?
Here’s a statistic that might send shivers down your spine.
Despite all the work you do to drive traffic to your site, for most IT businesses, 71% of sales leads are never followed up with at all. (source)
Isn’t that pure madness?
Imagine walking into a Chevy dealership, telling a salesperson you’d like to buy a Corvette and the salesperson just turning and walking away.
That’s what’s happening to the leads being driven to your site that never hear from you.
Did you that there’s a 10x drop in lead qualification when you wait longer than five minutes to respond!
If you find that as astounding as we did, check out this infographic from GetCRM.
And so, that’s exactly why you need a lead follow-up process.
You probably know a defined process can simplify complex tasks.
By putting a lead follow-up process in place, you’re giving set steps to follow when new prospects enter your pipeline.
This can be huge for your conversions, but can also help you scale for growth (future sales reps won’t have to wonder what to do with incoming leads).
Makes sense, right?
Let’s look at three strategies you can put into place immediately to build a lead conversion process.
#1. Use Lead Scoring to Prioritize Your Follow-up
You know this – all leads are not created equal.
For example: a decision maker further down the sales funnel should get your attention before a prospect in the “Awareness” stage of the customer journey.
In that scenario, one customer is ready to buy and has the authority to do so.
The other likely needs a bit more nurturing (which we’ll discuss later in this post) before committing to your MSP business.
That’s why prioritizing lead outreach is so important.
Naturally, you’re likely saying to yourself:
Okay great, but what’s the easiest way to do that?
The answer is simpler than you might think: create a lead scorecard.
If you’re unsure what exactly a lead scorecard actually is, here’s a quick definition from Peter Buscemi, CMO at Four Quadrant:
“Lead scoring is a managed, repeatable, process that objectively ranks leads so that the demand plan may be executed to yield optimal results.” (source)
In other words, lead scoring is a smart strategy for easily prioritizing your leads based on data, not your gut feeling about who to contact.
So smart, in fact, that 68% of B2B marketers are employing both behavioral and demographic scoring. (source)
Want to see one in action? Here’s an example of what your lead scorecard might look like, courtesy of LakeB2B, a digital marketing consultancy:
Notice how the scorecard breaks leads down into six key areas: role, budget, opportunity, need, timespan and action.
These are all great, but really I think you can make your initial scorecard even simpler.
Start by rating just their role and action in the beginning.
If you think about it, these two criteria would have been all you need to prioritize the leads in the example I gave earlier (and that’s also why LakeB2B weighted those two categories higher than the rest).
Plus, you might not know budget, timespan, opportunity or need until having a conversation with the lead.
The point is, don’t complicate your lead scoring (especially in the beginning) Keep things simple with a basic 1-4 rating for the two categories.
Then, be sure to get the highest ranking over to your sales reps quickly.
Because – as you’ll see in the next section – timely reach out can make or break your lead conversion strategy.
#2. Call Your Best Leads in the First 10 Minutes (Here’s a Script to Help)
Would you believe me if I told you leads contacted within the first 5 minutes are 100 times more likely to convert to customers?
Well according to this lead response management study produced by InsideSales.com, that’s the absolute truth.
Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Now, I realize picking up the phone can often feel intimidating.
Furthermore, many IT businesses fear they’ll appear overzealous if they reach out immediately after a high scoring lead comes in.
That’s just simply not true.
As Khuram Hussain, CEO of Fileboard wrote on the Kissmetrics blog:
“By responding faster, you’ll reach more open prospects that you have been missing. And if you can respond within five minutes, not only will you increase the chances that you’ll be the first company they talk to, but you’ll also wow them in the process.”
So you see, quick follow-up doesn’t make you seem to eager; it gives the lead a glimpse into how you might manage their account if they became your customer.
Still not sure what to say? Here’s an example script you can use to make things easier.
“Hello, this is [YOUR NAME] calling from [YOUR COMPANY]. I noticed you’ve shown some interest in our business and wanted to see what questions you might have about the services we offer. I know there’s a lot of information out there and you may not have had a chance to dig into everything yet, but just know I’m a resource for you here at [YOUR COMPANY]. What can I do to help you today?”
#3. Nurture Top-of-the-Funnel Leads with Quality Thought Leadership Content
Now you know exactly what to do with your highest scoring leads, but what about those who are still in the early stages of the customer journey?
For top-of-the-funnel sales lead, it’s essential you have a good lead nurture process in place.
Why? Quite simply, because your average lead reads 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (source)
Now, that content can either come from you in the form of valuable thought leadership, or it can come from your competitors.
But as I’m sure you’d imagine, if you’re the one providing the content throughout the customer journey, your likelihood of landing their business at the “Decision” stage is much greater.
The numbers here are actually pretty incredible: 95% of B2B buyers do business with the company that was their resource for content along the way. (source)
If you’re short on ideas for how to engage those early-stage sales leads, check out this previous blog post that covered three great email strategies for lead nurturing.
And that’s it – now you have everything you need to begin implementing a better lead follow-up process.
Put these strategies into practice and you’ll see a dramatic increase to your conversion rate in no time.
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