We generate leads from more sources today than ever before. So is that the good news or the bad news? The key isn’t necessarily in the number of leads, but the quality. So how do you determine and define them? At the end of the day, all anyone cares about is the sale, right?
Unfortunately all leads aren’t created equal. Depending on the market you’re in, 60-75% of all leads aren’t ready to buy! Note I didn’t say wouldn’t, but not ready. That’s why email is an effective and cost efficient way of moving contractors through the funnel.
There are several thing you as a manufacturer need to consider:
- Some of your audience don’t know who you are.
- Some may know who you are but have never done business with you.
- If you’re introducing a new product that the industry has never had, there needs to be a learning curve in most cases before someone will try it.
- If your product is similar to something others already make and has industry acceptance, you have a chance of someone trying yours.
- For bigger, more complex sales, it takes longer to move the prospect through the sales funnel.
Let’s take an example of a contractor. I don’t care if he’s a general, plumbing, HVAC or landscaping contractor as their work lives pretty much run in parallel paths. If they are using day-to-day materials to do a job, they are more prone to try something from another manufacturer.
But if it’s a major piece of equipment like a diagnostic camera, snow plow or other major piece of equipment that they use on a regular basis, they need to consider options before buying. Now let’s consider a few things on a major piece of new equipment.
Chances are, if it’s a replacement for an existing piece that’s 5-7 years old or older, the technology probably has changed dramatically and they will need to go through several steps to get them far enough down the sales funnel to turn the lead over to sales.
Here are some steps he might take:
- Collect info on your product as well as competitive ones
- Review features and benefits
- Read customer testimonials on how well your product works
- Consider asking for a demo
So where in these steps do you think we should get the sales force involved? If you get them involved before the demo stage, you’re wasting their time. The first 3 steps can be handled via emails.
Remember, salesmen want the sale now and don’t have the patience to nurture the lead along. That’s why marketing should take the lead in identifying and taking them through the sales funnel before handing them off to sales, and email marketing is an ideal way to communicate with the contractor and professional tradesmen. Think about this. If we can hand off a lead that’s ready to buy, don’t you think the sales staff will start taking the marketing department seriously? One of my biggest challenges is to get sales and marketing to work together.
Does lead nurturing make sense to you? Would it surprise you to learn that up to 70% of companies don’t have lead nurturing processes in place. It amazes me that companies spend tons of money getting a lead and virtually nothing on nurturing it.
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