Stop ignoring potential customers—and refocus your sales process. By Kathryn Lynch-Morin
“Shut up, and take my money.”
If only making a sale was that easy, right? Chances are, though, that prospects actually are trying to give you their money—but flaws in your lead generation and nurturing processes are creating static that neither side can cut through.
Lead nurturing mistakes—when left uncorrected—end up wasting time and costing money. Here’s a breakdown of the worst mistakes, which also happen to be the easiest mistakes to avoid.
Mistake 1: Your research is lackluster
Prospect research is an often-overlooked piece of lead nurturing, but it’s just as critical to sales success as any other step in the process. Whether the business is new or not, there’s always a need to understand your ideal prospects—and that means doing your research. Use all the tools available to you, including actual snapshots (or profiles) of your existing customers, to get a clear picture of who your ideal buyer is. You want to find more customers just like your existing customers. Thorough research will keep you from casting too wide a net, and it’ll help you target future efforts.
Mistake 2: You’re not listening
From lead generation and nurturing to closing the sale, it all begins and ends with listening. In a recent survey, buyers told Hubspot that listening to their needs was the top way to create a positive sales experience. While the pitch is an important part of the process, it’s more critical to listen and make a true effort to understand what the prospect’s needs are. That way, you can provide solutions rather than trying to sell superfluous services and products. Not listening can also lead to chasing (and badgering) unqualified leads.
Mistake 3: There’s no clear follow-up plan
What do you do after you make calls to prospects, send them emails, or network with them at a trade show? Perhaps you have a “what to do next” checklist, but you’re not alone if you don’t. Various studies show that roughly half of all leads are never followed up. Half! According to Harvard Business Review, businesses that get in touch with potential customers within an hour of receiving inquiries are nearly seven times more likely to convert leads. Having clear follow-up plans and timelines for every scenario lets you be more responsive, helping you to streamline the nurturing process. That, in turn, makes it more likely that you and your prospects will follow through.