Sales pipelines are only as good as the leads you put into them. Fill your pipeline with quality leads, and it’ll reflect a sales team that’s actively closing deals and generating revenue. Fill the pipe with unqualified leads, and it’ll show sales reps working hard with not much to show for it because the leads are actually nowhere near ready to buy.
When an MQL displays sales-ready behavior, like requesting for a demo or signing up for a free trial, they become a sales qualified lead. These leads are usually handed over by the sales team to an Account Executive (AE). SQLs are close to making a purchasing decision, so the quicker the AE acts, the higher their chances of conversion. A good way to identify an SQL is by applying the BANT framework—do they have the Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe to buy from you?
While business sales are influenced by many factors including a strengthening economy and low-interest rates, a large percentage of businesses sold were by retiring baby boomers. Given that this is a demographic trend that is expected to last for the next few decades there will continue to be plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to take over established, successful businesses.
As your company grows, lead management becomes about organizing and tracking not only who your leads are, but how they prefer to communicate with you, what you’ve already talked about with them, and which marketing campaigns they’ve enrolled in. That’s a little more sophisticated than just capturing an email address and adding it to the “To” field on your marketing newsletter.
Because search engines equate high-quality content with a high-quality website, creating content with value is very important. Conduct a content audit to see how many of your assets fall into the thought leadership vs. promotional category. That means making sure that your thought leadership content has substance to it. Lots of companies are jumping on the content bandwagon, so do it right: focus on quality over quantity, and on providing useful – not promotional – information.
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“Lead nurturing has gone through major transformations over the last 5 years, mainly fueled by an increased need for personalization. In fact, 89% of marketers say their customers today expect and demand a personalized experience. However, if I had to share a few “truths” that remain essential for the success of any lead nurturing campaign, I’d say that your email flow:
ToFu: Leads at the top of the funnel need awareness. They know nothing about what you offer and what domain you operate in, so you’ll need to create a conversation around both these focus points—without selling your product up front. If you sell CRMs, you attract ToFu leads by talking about how SDRs (sales development representatives) can do their job better using CRM software. Blogs, ebooks and guides are content types that work well at this stage.
Affiliate marketing is commonly confused with referral marketing, as both forms of marketing use third parties to drive sales to the retailer. The two forms of marketing are differentiated, however, in how they drive sales, where affiliate marketing relies purely on financial motivations, while referral marketing relies more on trust and personal relationships.