Most of us don't realize we have this problem until we're well into our inbound marketing program. We've been publishing plenty of high-quality content through blog posts, e-books and webinars, and it appears to be working. Traffic and leads are both well above the start of our campaigns. We seem to be generating lots of interest but not a lot of sales. What's the problem? Why aren't we generating more qualified sales leads?
The key to attracting more qualified leads is understanding what constitutes a qualified lead. Take a look at your most successful sales and ask yourself who they are, what they have in common, and why did they buy from you? Build a profile of your perfect customer and find out where they live - what industry, company profile, job title and "pain points". What problem do these perfect customers have that only you can solve?
Once you know who your perfect customer is, you need to figure out how to interest them. What's your elevator pitch that will get their attention, and how will you engage them to follow up and make the sale? Your message should be crystal clear, concise and on target for solving their problem. Now make sure that all of the content you will use to market to these people are consistent with your message. These include sales call scripts, blog posts, e-mails, press releases, webinars, podcasts and downloads.
Now that you know who to go after and what to say, why wouldn't you take the extra step of targeting your prospects? Just putting your message on your website has a snowball's chance in Hades of getting through to specific verticals. Try combining the general inbound marketing approach with targeted campaigns such as telesales and lead nurturing e-mails to a list of your qualified prospects identified via industry groups or services like Hoovers or Jigsaw. Try inviting them to an informational webinar, where you discuss solutions rather than push products. Try working through intermediaries, for example well-known vendors or influential bloggers in your target industry, putting on a jointly hosted event or guest blog post. Having a presence at industry trade shows may also be a very effective way to gather new sales leads. Make sure you have an effective video and handouts, and don't forget about your message - that's the key.
The closer you can get to understanding the needs and profiles of your best customers, the better chance you have of attracting similar leads. Despite what many marketers may tell you, there is no single best way to reach out to them. You should consider all of the possibilities, both online and offline, inbound and outbound. Once you discover your "sweet spot" for qualified sales leads, you can tailor your marketing program to a best fit rather than a shotgun approach.
Don't forget about going local to find ready customers...
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