Small business BIG growth®
Words by Kylie Harker, Founder of Squirrel Business Hub
Did you know that a massive 79 per cent of marketing leads never convert into sales (source: MarketingSherpa)?
Lead conversion is a critical success factor for all businesses, but in particular for SMEs, which often have a limited marketing budget. If you spend money on attracting and acquiring new leads, then you must reap the rewards of that investment by converting a high percentage of them into paying customers.
To convert leads into sales, you have to nurture them. Lead-nurturing is about building relationships with potential buyers across multiple platforms or channels, by sending out relevant information to them via your website, social media, whitepapers, phone, face-to-face interaction, and so on. On average, it takes six to eight touches to generate a viable sales lead.
Nurture your leads with a CRM system
If that sounds like a lot of work, you’ll be pleased to hear that a customer relationship management (CRM) system can do a lot of it for you.
CRMs allow you to:
- segment your database meaningfully, so that you can communicate relevant information to specific leads. You don’t want to send information about cats to dog lovers, for example.
- automate the sending of targeted communications to your leads at key points in the process, or according to their interests, using specific triggers
- track ROI, so you can make better decisions about where to spend your budget
Top three tips for nurturing your leads
Your system doesn’t need to be expensive or super complex; however, it does need to be set up properly, actively managed and used consistently, as part of a comprehensive marketing plan. Following these top three tips will help you to make the best use of your CRM to nurture your leads:
- Have an instant response system: craft an email acknowledgement that alerts the lead that you’ll be in contact. In the email, set some expectations about when they will hear from you and ask for information about them straight away if possible (which leads us to #2).
- Offer immediate value: what would be of value to the lead that they could use straight away? It might be a how-to guide or useful tips relating to the product or service they’ve enquired about, or an informative white paper to further educate them.
- Listen closely and actively stay in touch: understand what the prospect is trying to achieve or the problem they are trying to solve. Make sure you record pertinent information relating to all your conversations in your CRM system so that you can remind them (and yourself and your sales team) of the details.
Building visibility and familiarity
The internet and marketing systems allow potential customers to self-educate and build trust with your company before making the decision to buy from or work with you. They can read about you, learn about the services you provide, experience your product or service via a free download or complimentary session, and get proof of your reputation via social media. It’s important to incorporate all of these elements into your lead-nurture system and remember that building visibility, familiarity and a positive reputation take time and a series of memorable contacts.
Squirrel Business Hub founder, Kylie Harker, is a Melbourne based consultant who assists business owners find and implement the best fit CRM and other systems for their business. She knows systems and developing mutually beneficial relationships with your customers will grow your business and bottom line.