At Bop Design, most of my day is spent working with clients on generating and nurturing leads from their B2B website so that they close more deals. The following are some best practices and habits to avoid when performing business development for your B2B company.
When inbound leads come in through your B2B website, it is important to have a process to qualify and disqualify leads. Before you even agree to a phone call with a prospective client, send a qualifying email to the lead to ensure there is alignment on budget, timeline, project type, etc. Typically, an initial call with a lead is at least 30 minutes, so you want to ensure your time is well spent only on prospects that appear to fit your ideal customer profile. Devise a process with a diplomatic email qualification communication to better guarantee that any initial phone calls or meetings are worthwhile for you and for your prospect.
The lead qualifying needs to be done immediately but it’s not over after that initial email. Remember that you are interviewing the prospect as much as they are interviewing you. Be aware of personality fit, communication style, etc. to help make you feel confident that you can work with this person long-term.
Take the Lead
When leads come in, as a salesperson it’s incumbent that you take command of the process. Don’t be too casual or timid. Prospects want to be led. They are looking to hire you as an expert, so be the leader of the process immediately. Be specific about next steps and provide thought leadership resources so you build a case of credibility. This way the prospect has the peace of mind to commit to your firm over the competition.
You want to balance qualifying with being open-minded to new types of engagements. Too many times salespeople are rigid about what their firm does and what a project looks like. As salespeople, you need to be open-minded to new types of engagements suggested by a prospective client. Do not dismiss all new ideas immediately. Being open-minded as a salesperson at Bop Design has created new streams of revenue and new types of project engagements. Open-mindedness is responsible for at least 50% of our 2018 revenue.
Paralysis by Analysis
Analytics, statistics, scoring, etc. are good but in only in moderation. It is much more important to be responsive to leads. Too many clients spend too much time lead scoring and not enough time on creative ways to build a relationship with a prospect. Yes, we need to measure and optimize, but spend the bulk of your time as a salesperson responding to inquiries.
Web Leads Require Nurturing
Many salespeople mistakenly think that all inbound leads from a B2B website will be sales-ready. Expectations need to be altered. Most leads from a website are not sales-ready, and they require lead nurturing with regular communication and content marketing. Make sure your company has a marketing automation process in place or at the very least, a regular email newsletter and ad retargeting. This type of nurturing ensures your B2B company is not forgotten about when it’s time for the prospect to send the RFP.
Lastly, Be Optimistic
If you don’t think web marketing generates sales, guess what, it won’t generate sales! You need to believe in the efficacy of the process and platform for website lead generation, nurturing, and deal closing to work.