Maintaining strong sales productivity requires continuity, timeliness, and customized communications. Information exchanges with prospective customers must be thorough. All issues must be addressed, and all leads fully developed for closing. Many essential tasks fall through the cracks in an inefficient lead management program. Use the guidelines below to increase lead quality, generate more new sales, and multiply referral leads from existing customers.
1. Qualify leads — Gather pre-qualification information to ensure sales won’t fall through on a typical deal-killing technicality. For example, know in advance that the prospect’s budget supports your price, and that you’re communicating with the true decision-maker.
2. Build relationships — At key points, reach out to strengthen rapport with your prospect. This affords the customer a higher-quality experience of the process, so that as a new customer she’s more likely to be confident that she has chosen wisely.
3. Educate customers — Thoroughly inform your prospect to help her become a fully-satisfied customer. Bring expectations in line with your company’s true capabilities. This reduces risk of cancellation, because the new customer clearly understands what you can reasonably commit to doing.
4. Strengthen retention — Retain current customers by continuing the lead nurturing process you started on your initial contact with her as a new lead. Drawing repeat sales from existing customers is a much more effective program when communications are appropriately patterned, just as in your pre-closing lead nurturing system.
5. Cultivate word-of-mouth — Keep in mind that each prospect and customer communicates with numerous others in various places every day. Each represents a whole population of potential customers who can be offered the best possible introduction to your company through her endorsement.
6. Customer Referrals — Strive to help your customer feel fully comfortable referring her valued business contacts and friends to your company. Remember, the greatest number of quality referrals naturally comes from customers with whom you build the best business relationships.
7. Cut wasted time — Identify counterproductive sales activities, and redirect energies to lead nurturing. For example, discontinue calling on leads for which there is insufficient qualification information. These too often waste time, offering no sale potential at all or poor quality contracts.
8. Track all communications — Enter details of every sales activity between your company and your prospect. Inter-departmentally linked Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides instantly accessible history of all contacts, as well as auto-prompts, scheduling management, and auto-messaging for juggling high lead volumes.
Lead nurturing results
An efficient lead nurturing program significantly increases sales, customer relations quality, and referral business. Alternatively, contracting with insufficiently informed or under-qualified prospects is far less likely to consistently generate solid contracts, quality referrals, or positive word-of-mouth for your company. In fact, insufficiently attended prospects and customers are more likely to spread negative word-of-mouth about your company—a common consequence of consumer expectations disproportionate to realities of a company’s production and/or service capacity. Nurturing business relationships avoids these risks and develops customer loyalty that pays ROI.