You’ve identified the audience, created the whitepaper around their needs, and delivered a campaign to generate lots of fresh leads… so now what?
When it comes to following up with new prospects from a lead generation campaign, one of the most common questions we’re asked is: “What is best practice?”
The truth is it depends on your unique circumstances as a business and the context of which industry you are operating within. It depends on a number of factors such as:
- The length of your sales cycle
- The complexity of your solution
- The number of stakeholders that are involved in purchasing
However, there are a few key principles to remember when it comes to demand generation using whitepapers, and then converting leads into customers.
Nurture your leads before calling them
When running a whitepaper or eBook campaign you will likely be generating a large volume of response with an initial engagement, and capturing an email address. This is the perfect set up to use for a lead nurturing campaign.
This involves drip feeding the prospect more content over a number of weeks to generate further awareness and ‘warm up’ the lead before you pass it to sales. If you have the marketing automation technology in place you can track multiple clicks and content downloads and attach a ‘lead score’ based on the activity of that prospect. Setting a benchmark and only passing across leads that have a high enough score ensures that sales only approach prospects that are more engaged with your messaging.
Decide when the lead moves from Marketing to Sales
The fundamental aim of both of these functions is the same – generate revenue – however they’re best suited to engaging customers at different parts of the buyer’s journey.
Even if you haven’t invested in complex marketing technology, there are some ways you can improve results by agreeing when custody of the lead passes from Marketing to Sales.
Hubspot recommend agreeing a service level agreement between departments. This outlines each department’s responsibilities and when custody of the lead changes hands, and can go a long way to sorting out internal process issues.
Offer consultation and advice before trying to close them
When you do come to pick up the phone it’s worth having an objective in mind for the next action you want the prospect to take. This is not necessarily to buy from you… yet!
Obviously that is the ultimate goal, however when you generate leads with a whitepaper campaign you’re engaging prospects that are in the research phase of the buyer’s journey. One way to offer value on your follow up call is to offer more information or marketing collateral around that particular area.
If they have engaged with a whitepaper about a specific pain point they will be indicating an interest in what you have to say around a certain challenge that they face, and will likely want to learn more about that particular subject. You have the opportunity to ask more about what they are struggling with and offer guidance, increasing their trust in your brand and proving that you are selling to them in a consultative way.
Qualify the lead further for an accurate pipeline
After building this goodwill the next step is to attempt to engage them with evidence that proves your solution is the one they need to fix their problems. This works well in the form of case studies and one to one demos that will show them results.
In an ideal world your prospect will have been made aware of the problem by the content and you will have proven that your solution holds the key to fixing their issues.
Now you can pipeline the lead and sales can work it to the opportunity stage. In Part 2 we will cover off a few key things for Sales to consider when approaching the leads.
For a complete guide on lead generation terminology, download our free whitepaper: