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Jul 21

Best Practices for Managing Inbound Leads for Salespeople


In: Strategy Insights

As a digital marketing agency, our goals are always aligned with sales teams and sales departments to ensure that our efforts are having a positive impact on a company’s bottom line. However, as marketing and advertising tactics continue to change and evolve, the processes that salespeople and sales teams implement need to follow suit in order to be successful and get the most return on their investment.

What is Inbound Marketing?

Traditionally businesses would rely on outbound, or disruptive marketing techniques like radio, TV, print and billboards. These marketing tactics focus on delivering key marketing messages to a large audience with the hope that it will resonate with a certain portion of their audience, in turn driving them to a physical store or motivating them to pick up the phone to speak with a salesperson. While it is important for salespeople to have a plan and strategy in place for these types of leads, there isn’t much science in determining the best way to make contact or handle these leads because the contact is being initiated by the lead. These tactics are sometimes referred to as “disruptive” marketing because they do just that, they disrupt what someone is doing (and would prefer to be doing) like listening to music on the radio or watching their favorite shows on TV. Because of this, a lot of advertising dollars go to waste trying to reach the small portion of a large audience that might be interested in the product or service being advertised.

More recently, inbound marketing has become one of the most effective and efficient strategies for companies to increase sales and return on investment for their marketing dollars. This type of marketing is the opposite of “disruptive” as it fits into what a potential customer is doing at the time the advertising or messaging is delivered.

A popular form of inbound marketing today is “Paid Search advertising” which involves only showing ads when someone types in a pre-determined keyword or phrase that is related to a company’s product or service. Using the Pay-Per-Click model also allows a business to only spend money when someone actually clicks on one of the ads and visits their website. By doing this, you are ensuring that your marketing dollars are spent on a captive audience that is actively showing interest in your product or service. The level of reporting and transparency that exists for these types of digital marketing campaign tactics is very attractive for businesses to understand the true value of their marketing efforts compared to more abstract and traditional mediums like radio and TV where actual return is hard to quantify.

Generating Leads with Inbound Marketing

The end goal of most inbound marketing campaigns for non e-commerce businesses is lead generation. Lead generation campaigns work to take this targeted traffic and direct them to a specific section or page on a website with the goal of them filling out a form with their contact information. In turn, this information is passed onto a salesperson who now must navigate the process of making contact with this lead, qualifying them and ultimately closing them as a sale.

As a marketer, one of the most frustrating things can be working with a sales team who is getting quality leads but hasn’t adopted a new strategy for how to manage the leads in an efficient manner (and ultimately blaming low contact and close rates on the quality of leads or the marketing team). Online traffic, and paid search traffic specifically, can be searching for a number of different things at once and even be visiting your competitors' websites and filling out forms at the same time. For this reason, determining the best way to contact online leads is vital to the overall success of a sales team. 

Best Practices for Managing Inbound Marketing Leads and Turning them into Sales

Fortunately, the brilliant minds over at MIT recognized this changing landscape in marketing and went about doing their own scientific study on the best way for salespeople to handle these types of inbound leads. Their findings should give any salesperson or sales team the keys to unlock untapped value from their current inbound lead strategy and help to maximize important metrics like contact rate and close rates.

The full Lead Response Management Study is a great read for anyone interested in taking a deep dive into the statistical analysis and best practices for all aspects of inbound leads. 

However, for a sales manager or salesperson looking for a great place to start revamping their inbound sales strategy, some simple and important key takeaways are:

  • The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the first hour.

  • The odds of calling to qualify a lead decreases by over 6 times in the first hour.

  • After 20 hours every additional dial your salespeople make actually hurts your ability to make contact to qualify a lead.

  • The odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 21 times. And from 5 minutes to 10 minutes the dial to qualify odds decrease 4 times.

As you can see, it is important to not wait and neglect these leads because one of your competitors is likely not going to or the prospect will find another option. From personal experience, we have seen that companies who are willing to evolve and improve their sales process to better manage these types of leads often see drastic improvements very quickly. Ultimately, everyone wins when this happens.
Please support your marketing team by adopting some of these strategies and watch the sales roll in. 

Happy selling!

If your business is ready to transition from a traditional disruptive marketing approach and embrace the benefits and cost-effectiveness of digital marketing campaigns, you can learn more today about how UNION can help your business reach its goals.

Schedule a free digital marketing assessment


UNION is a full-service digital agency. We create experiences that help brands thrive. We believe to be relevant in today’s marketplace, brands must lead with a digital-first philosophy. We craft engaging digital experiences and integrated campaigns that are built on strategy and driven by data. At the heart of what we do is help brands create meaningful and enduring relationships with highly connected consumers.

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