3 Ways B2B Businesses Can Turn Inbound Leads into Customers

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Winning new business has never been more challenging, as both existing market players and digital upstarts compete to win customers. So, organizations need to make the most of new business opportunities to survive and thrive.

Usually, it’s the business that is knocking on prospects’ doors. When a business-to-business organization is lucky enough to have prospects come knocking, it should throw open the door, roll out the red carpet, and cater to their individual needs.

Surprisingly, not all companies do this when prospects express interest in demos.

Here are three ways B2B organizations can—and should—position themselves to derive maximum value from prospect demo requests:

1. Strike while the iron is hot.

When prospects are ready and willing to schedule a demo, companies need to act fast—and make it easy for their prospects to take action.

Hot leads only stay that way for a short time. Those that sit too long can quickly cool or get snapped up by a hungrier competitor. When sales teams fail to respond in a timely fashion to qualified inbound leads, it is often due to lack of proper tools or human error.

The good news is that businesses are getting better at responding to inbound leads. Two key factors have contributed to this positive development. Sales and marketing technologies have improved dramatically and decreased in price. Businesses in competitive markets understand the value of being the first to engage. They also know that responding in five minutes or less yields the best possible results.

One can assume a person is both interested and available to engage if that individual reached out at a particular time. However, as minutes, hours, and days pass, all bets are off.

2. Make scheduling demos easy.

Many companies entice prospects with demos. This is an especially effective approach for businesses with complex offerings requiring managed setup and implementation.

When prospects’ interest levels are at their peak, giving them an effortless way to commit to a demo helps to lock down the opportunity. It’s also satisfying for prospects because it provides instant gratification. If scheduling a demo time becomes a hassle, prospects may bail.

That’s why making scheduling frictionless for customers and prospects is essential. Sales organizations can do that by putting demo calendars on their websites or embedding them in automatically generated email responses. 

One thing businesses will want to take care to avoid is employing social autofill. This method requires prospects to click on a social button on Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social media platform. Then they are required to enter their personal information in the fields.

This method does demand a lot of trust from prospects who may just want to kick the tires. They might worry about granting access permissions beyond their comfort level. It simply may be asking too much of prospects too soon.

Less is more when it comes to requesting prospect information related to a demo. When prospects reach out for a demo, it’s clear they’re already interested. As we’ve all been told, there’s no need to sell past “yes.”

3. Use personalized, persistent communications.

Another productive way to engage with prospects throughout their life cycles is by using personalized, professionally persistent messages.

Personalization illustrates that a salesperson has invested time in understanding a prospect. Recent research of 200 million sales interactions showed that personalizing just 20 percent of emails leads to two times the reply rate.

Persistent, personalized communication leads to better results. That involves orchestrating a cadence of multiple touches over multiple channels to stay top-of-mind and keep the conversation going.

Surprisingly, many salespeople give up after a single touch. A sample of recently surveyed companies found that 82 percent asked for a phone number on their lead generation forms. However, less than a third of the leads submitted received a phone call and a voicemail. That equates to a lot of missed opportunities.

Follow up on warm leads with personalized messaging. Don’t be afraid of picking up the phone.  You’ll enjoy a better response rate, not to mention quote attainment! 

Bottom Line

The state of sales today calls for modern, multichannel tools and frictionless user experiences. When organizations take the time and effort to ensure their customers, prospects, and sales team members have the tools and processes necessary to make their lives easier, results follow.

With the right technology, sales teams can stay on top of their tasks and leverage a higher-level view of customers and prospects. Sales professionals can execute a regular schedule of personalized communications, and understand effort vs. reward. By responding quickly with personalized messages, friction is removed, allowing more business to be closed.

Adam Waid is vice president of global customer success at SalesLoft. More than 2,000 customers use Atlanta-based SalesLoft’s platform to engage with their customers across a variety of channels.

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