Lead generation is a key focus for any business and you will most likely have several core channels, or strategies, to do so. However, once you have attracted the leads, what you do with them next is just as important to the process of converting and signing on new business.
When your leads come through, you should ideally have a database, or CRM, for them to drop into. Whether that is through integrated web forms or by integrating other lead generation software, this will enable you to create your follow up funnel, using automated processes.
The idea is basically to build a funnel phase to either convert them or nurture the leads that come in and stop contacts from going cold over time.
You need to keep them engaged with your brand or your service so that you remain front of mind so that when they need that service, they think of you!
The Failing vs Succeeding funnel
If you take a look at the failing funnel in the graph here, this is what you don’t want to end up with. Something like this doesn’t add any value at all to your database.
Generally, a lead comes in activated. They then drop off a bit and usually go cold very quickly if nothing has resulted from that initial interaction. There are several reasons why your funnel may fail – this could be due to:
- No follow up at all
- Follow up only sells – becomes too much for the prospect and they switch off
- Follow up is too friendly, doesn’t add value and doesn’t sell at all – so they just sit there not gaining much
In the graph, the red arrow shows where they came in, as a fresh lead. The orange arrow shows someone that hasn’t been converted yet and is dropping off, and the blue arrow shows where people end up if you leave them to go cold. These people have likely forgotten about you and are unlikely to return
Conversely, you can see a depiction of a succeeding funnel. For this, essentially you need to build a series of steps for your leads. You need to engage them with something as interesting to them, as when they entered the funnel and doing this should enable you to build your authority and trust. Ultimately it should enable you to upsell them to another product or to convert them for the first time later down the line
In the graph this time, you can see the difference to the failing funnel. The red arrows show where the lead came in and then where it is repeatedly re-activated with interesting content. You see that it never drops down as far as the cold leads in the first graph because there is a level of engagement being kept there.
What content should I share?
People learn in different ways and to take advantage of this, you will need to appeal to each of them, in the way that they learn best.
In broad terms people can be categorised into 3 types of learners:
When thinking of a follow-up funnel, why restrict it to simply online touchpoints? More advanced follow-up steps will integrate physical elements, such as sending books in the post and auditory elements such as introductory phone calls.
You can read more about using these different types of touchpoints to your advantage in our article about how you can increase your sales velocity. Just a small tip here, get creative!
3 Important Steps for lead follow up
Once a lead comes in, there should be 2 further stages to that contacts’ journey.
- Activation sequence.
- Long Term Nurture
So, starting with the activation sequence, at the most basic level: you should create a single follow up email to let them know what you need them to do next. For a mid-level sequence, you can build out a 3 email sequence follow up, which may ask them to take an action and follow it up if nothing has come back from them. This might involve sending them a prompt or offer to entice them to make a decision. For those looking for a more advanced solution, you can build a multimedia sequence, with education, offers, resources, blogs, webinar invites etc.
Your long term nurture is an educational phase for those that dropped off of the activation sequence due to inaction. You’re trying to stop them from going cold and build that trust in your brand so that they come back to you again or get interested in something you’ve shared and re-connect. This section is all about content:
- Blog articles
- Sharing other links or articles from your industry
Start by choosing a CRM system
Automation is the key. There is too much to do and admin to manage, to do it all manually. You need to have a good CRM in place to set up that sequence of emails and notifications.
Essentially, choosing a good CRM comes down to these steps:
- Knowing what you need – at the very least, you need a system that will hold your database of business contacts and allow you to set up an email sequence to reach out when new contacts get added.
- Make sure it integrates with other software – essentially you are trying to simplify your business processes, not to add to them. Can you direct lead forms and accounts processes through it? And can your sales team effectively manage leads in one place?
- Can you find an industry-specific CRM? – There are CRM systems out there that are targeted at specific industries and therefore make it easier to manage the functions you need for your contacts.
- User experience – when demoing or trialling any CRM software, make sure you pay attention to how it feels when you’re using it. Is it clunky and difficult to navigate? How do your team get on with it? Is it slow or quick to process functions within it?
These are just a few of our top tips on creating an effective follow up lead funnel. I hope this has helped you to start to prepare an effective follow-up flow for your own business.
If you would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article or anything else that might be a priority for you right now, please feel free to give us a call. We would love to hear from you.