By Rob Neumann
What is the process in your company for handling leads? These could be calls, e-mails or web visits. How do you know which are better than others? Some people classify leads as Hot or Cold, others use an ABC rating system. I would suggest as marketers that we neither know for sure or care. Let me explain. Anyone contacting you or responding to your marketing is a good thing. Judging which one is better or more “qualified” is highly subjective until you actually get a sales person to talk to them, and even then is still somewhat subjective. We’ve all been wrong about who will really buy from you.
The truth is we need to treat every lead like a buyer but not every lead is the same. How do we treat the leads differently? Every lead has an inbound method, you should respond in like method. If you get an e-mail, respond with an e-mail; if you get a call, then call them back. Their response determines the rate at which you change tactics of follow-up. If someone is quick to return the call and clearly has a need, then by all means work the lead hard and fast. If they are not responsive, do not give up! Instead add the lead into your e-mail system. They should get notes, newsletters and follow-ups from your system, regardless of their status. Many deals have had to wait and ‘percolate’ over time in order to close.
You will never know about how a deal turned out, unless you call your dead contacts once in a while. Yes, call the people who did not choose you and make sure your competitor did their job. Occasionally, you will find someone who is ready to jump ship due to some reason of poor service or perhaps under-delivery. You never know until you try.
Every lead is valuable. Treat them as the resource they are and never ever leave one alone! You will find that your business will increase and your frustration will decrease. Your costs will decrease as well, since e-mail follow-up is the single most cost effective lead nurturing system available.
As managing principal of Newton Design & Marketing, Rob Leads and develops the business opportunity of the team. He leads work on business analysis, strategic research and positioning. Before Newton, Rob ran other successful computer and consulting companies as CEO. Rob is a very innovative and intuitive thinker who brings each client what they need, in an original way each and every time. He holds degrees in Robotic Engineering from GMI Engineering & Management Institute and an MBA in Finance and Marketing Strategy.