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How to Convert Inbound Leads into Sales

Jul 18, 2016
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How to Convert Inbound Leads Into Sales

So you have inbound leads coming in...now what? Converting your leads into customers won't happen magically. It takes time, patience and you may even have to pick up the phone every once and a while.

We need to first start off by defining what an Inbound lead is. Well, here you go. A Inbound Lead is a lead that came to you via website, social media, phone, SEO etc. The key characteristic that sets them apart from an outbound lead is that you did not have to find them, they found you.

Inbound marketing is about attracting people, not interrupting them. What happens many times is that we expect that lead to also close themselves into a sale. After all, they did find us right? Well, the fact is that we actually need to be proactive in the inbound sales process. If not, our lead will remain only a lead.

In this video we will talk about how to convert your Inbound leads into customers by using automation and the Value Added Sales Funnel. Well, what are you waiting for, hit play!

 

 

Can't see the video? Click here to watch!

Video Transcript:

Hey what's going on everybody? I'm Ryan Shelley and you're watching the SMA marketing minute. I want to talk briefly about how we can convert our online inbound leads into sales. Inbound marketing has helped thousands of businesses generating more traffic and more leads like nothing ever before. The reason why, well when people have a pain point now more than ever they go online searching for answers to these problems. Google is now a verb. It's just something we do, not just a website. Using Search Engine Optimization, using social media marketing, content marketing, or blog, we can position our businesses as thought leaders, as problem solvers first, which invites people to come and engage with us, exchange some of their information to receive more information and the process begins. 

The real problem is how do we actually turn those leads, those people who have engaged with us into paying customers. Well not everybody that comes to your site and interacts with you really wants to buy your product. Some of them are just browsing for information, some of them are trying to just learn a little bit more, some of them are just surfing the internet, but there are people out there who are actually looking for what you're selling. How do we take them from filling out a context form or an eBook form or an offer form and nurture them into a client?

We developed something called the value added sales funnel and the reason why we called it that is because we have to continually add value all the way through the process. If we stop adding value the lead starts to disengage and back out and look for something else. People don't want to be sold at but they don't mind being sold to. Now there's a difference. Being sold at is like a telemarketer giving you a phone call and right away trying to sell you on something you probably don't want or need. Being sold to means having a conversation with another human being, understanding what their problems and pain points are and coming up with a contextual and personalized solution to meet their needs.

When a lead comes your site our first job as a business owner is to educate them. Once a lead has engaged with your site, engaged with your content, and exchanged some information for some sort of content, maybe an eBook or a checklist or some offer like that, it's our job now to nurture them. One of the best ways to begin this nurturing process is using a workflow in marketing automation. The reason we use automation is simple. It takes us out of the equation. There's so much stuff going on in the business and the day to day life that we can often forget to follow up with people when they contact us.

When someone downloads a piece of content that can be put into a workflow and automatically works through the process, then what we need to do is watch those leads. See how they're interacting and see if they've taken more action. After a lead has taken a little bit more action, they have kind of worked themselves in what we call an MQL (marketing qualified lead). If you're talking about the buyers this will be like the consideration stage. Now we're starting to consider some of the solutions that you have. When we have consideration offers on our site we actually have the lead fill out a phone number. Now here's the key, if somebody gives you their phone number, you need to give them a call. One it's just courteous. They've been on your site interacting with your content and they're trying to learn more about their problem and trying to find ways to solve that problem.

Now here's another extremely important part. When you do call them don't sell yet. Listen, that's right, listen. Listening is such an important key to the sales process. Instead of opening our mouths and trying to tell them everything we can do, the way we can solve their problem now, listen. What are their pain points? Ask them questions, help them just to share a little bit more about who they are and what they're looking for. This is going to help you in two ways. One it's going to help better understand what they actually need and see if you can actually meet those needs. Two, it can help you disqualify this lead. The faster you can disqualify a lead, the sooner you can move on to somebody else. 

That's not meant to be in a rude way, but there are a lot of people that just don't fit. They don't fit our business, they don't fit our product or services so we need to disqualify them earlier in the process so we don't spend all this time with somebody who's really never going to be a good fit in the first place. When you're on the phone with him make sure you schedule a follow up call. If they say yes to that second phone call, they are now what we would call a sales qualified lead. Which means the next call you can start to present some of your solutions to their problems. This is where you want to share with him why you do what you do and engage with them on a higher level. Start to talk about a lot more specifics, understand their basic needs and then how you can deliver the best product available. 

One of the best ways to close more sales is using your current customers. The people who've already come through the process, said yes to your services and now are using them. When you're out there all on your own promoting yourself it's just one small person in a sea of billions of people online. But when you get your customers engaged and help promoting for you, you start to build an army of promoters around you. Seth Godin will call this sneezers. Sneezers are people who are so stoked about your products and services that they can't help but share them with other people.

When you can turn your current customers into promoters it helps you build an army of people who rally around who you are and what you do and can help you share it with the world. When leads come in and they see more than just you talking about your product and they see happy customers it helps them engage better. It also makes them feel safer. People like to feel safe and they like to know that other people are using the products and solutions that you provide. Why? Well, unfortunately a lot of people can take advantage of it. If you're watching this video you've probably used inbound marketing at some point or you've had an engagement with an online marketer that didn't work out and now you're trying to find ways that you can take your momentum and actually turn it into sales. Well your customers feel the same way. They've been misled, they've had bad experiences. When they can see other happy, real people just like them using the products and services that you have, it's going to help them in this nurturing process to engage with you and ultimately say yes to your solutions.

There you have it. That's a really simple way to take a lead, walk them through a workflow, turn them into an MQL and SQL and then finally deliver your services. You're not going to close one hundred percent of your business, it just doesn't happen. But if you educate, if you're honest, if you share your heart and why you do what you do and then you empathize and learn how to listen to your customers and your prospects, you're going to do a much better job than just sitting back hoping that person is going to walk in your door and give you a check. Honestly I've never heard of a story like that.

In order to have success with inbound marketing and inbound sales you actually have to be proactive. You do have to take time and take the effort to pick up the phone and talk to somebody. To have a conversation, to build a relationship, and to nurture that person from just a prospect into a customer and then you just keep delighting them. That way they promote alongside of you and help you grow your business. I hope you guys found this helpful and informative. If you have any questions please comment below or you can send me an email directly at ryan@smamarketing.net. Thanks for watching and happy marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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