What is a Qualified Lead?
The art of selling is no doubt a talent. On those days, weeks, or months when sales feel harder to come by, it’s easy to wish you had a list of customers that want nothing more than to buy from you the second you make contact with them. In fact, many sales and marketing professionals are convinced that that’s what they’re getting when they pay for a list of qualified leads.
A qualified lead is not always a guaranteed lead. When a lead is deemed “qualified” this usually means that a business or a consumer has said they are interested in something specific. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, your qualified leads likely live in a specific metro area, have attained a specific level of income, and said they are interested in saving for retirement. They may or may not have children and they may or may not be homeowners. While not all people matching these criteria will require your services, they might be interested in your services—you just need to find out more.
Additionally, it’s important to note that lists of qualified leads can be costly and are often not exclusive to you. Your competitors may purchase these same leads. In this instance, it’s a race to see who can contact the prospects first or worse, you may find yourself in a price war. When you invest in qualified leads, it’s important to make sure you have the resources in place that will allow you to act quickly.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid purchasing qualified leads. They can prove to be a valuable investment. However, these leads should not make up your entire acquisition strategy.
Building Your Business with Less Work
At Data Axle Genie, we believe in empowering our clients. After all, it’s important that your business works smarter, not harder. Rather than repeatedly purchasing lists of qualified leads, which gets expensive, we’d like to share some affordable ways you can build your lists of prospects and customers. You’ll also experience a great ROI using these methods.
Identify Your Ideal Customer
The most important question on the table for any business is: who is your target audience? Everyone has an ideal customer. If you have a well thought out sales strategy, chances are you know exactly the kind of prospects you want to target. If your target market consists of businesses, you know their specific industry, their employee size, the job title you need to speak with, how many years the business has been around, and more. When your target market consists of consumers, you’re familiar with their gender, age, household income, marital status, ethnicity, presence of children, and more.
When you’re incredibly familiar with your audience, you know exactly what makes up your “best customer.” Identify these individuals and run a profile analysis to help identify potential leads. Finding commonalities among your best customers can help you uncover the perfect prospects. Insights may also help you personalize future direct mail and email communications, which will also help you to boost your ROI.
You can also use a marketing service like Data Axle when you’re more familiar with your ideal customer or prospect. This offering provides your business with answers to need to know questions about a potential customer, before your agents have even picked up the phone. If questions such as “who is the decision maker for a specific service” or “how many vehicles are currently in your fleet” make a difference in what businesses you reach out to, Data Axle is a great resource.
If you’re just starting out and you’re not entirely sure who your audience is, don’t fret! Base your search selects around some basic questions and narrow your prospects down to a comfortable margin. Ask yourself if your audience is male, female, or both. Does your audience have any special interests or hobbies? Do they live in a specific geographical area? Work in a specific industry? By asking broader questions, which narrow down your leads, you’ll be able to zero in on your ideal customer.
Inspire Leads to Come to You
Wouldn’t it be great if the customer came to you, ready to buy? Of course it would! We have good news: it’s possible to make this happen. Rather than exhausting your resources through cold calling, speak with an expert about paid search.
Every day, there are businesses and consumers that use search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing to find products or services. Chances are that quite a few of those “looking to buy now” prospects want exactly what you offer. Paid search campaigns are customized programs that meet your needs, garner results, and stretch your dollar. By creating an advertisement that pops up at the exact moment your ideal customer is looking to buy, you’re knocking out the competition before they even knew the lead existed. Paid search or search engine advertising is ideal because in addition to expanding your reach, you can actually measure campaign results, gaining valuable insights such as keywords and times of day sales are highest or lowest.
If You Build It, They Will Come
As a business, you look to gain long term or even lifetime customers. That’s why a good salesperson understands that once a customer makes their initial purchase, the real work has just begun. In order to stay in touch with your customers and encourage them to use your product or services again, offer them a way to communicate with you. Invite them to sign up for your email list or request a mailing address. From there, send them engaging and helpful communications. You can alert customers to upcoming sales or offer special discounts. You’ll be able to tell them about new products they might be interested in or just say hello.
A list of contacts made up entirely of customers interested in you specifically is a true goldmine. Be confident in what you send and why you’re sending it and you’ll not only remind customers that you’re there, but that you care about them and their business.
Track Your Results
Keeping track of the results of your direct mail or email campaigns takes time but it can make a huge difference in your ROI. The trick is to not become bogged down with frustration following your first few campaigns.
It takes time to develop a communication piece that speaks to your customers. Everything from the color of your template to the font you use to the time of day your message is delivered makes a difference in how many customers will see it. Be sure to shake things up while you’re working to find your groove. Design two different pieces and send them out to two different audiences. Share an email first thing in the morning with Group A and at the dinner hour with Group B.
If you continue to track the results of your campaigns, you’ll begin to notice patterns. Implementing these findings into future campaigns will not only help you reach more customers, but it will also encourage those customers to spread the word about you. When they appreciate your message, they’ll share it with others that will enjoy it as well.
If you don’t know how to track campaign results, try the Campaign Builder for email or direct mail. You control every aspect of the campaign and you’ll get help tracking results. You can also ask a marketing representative for assistance.
Use a Reputable Data Provider
You can easily pick up a list of potential leads from a data provider. When you share with them search specifications such as a metro area, industry, number of employees, gender, or even household income you likely feel confident that the prospects you’ll get are of high value. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
When you turn to a data provider for help, be sure to look into their reputation on business review sites such as Resellerratings.com. Also, visit their website to learn more about them. You’ll want to find out how they gather their data, how often they update their data, and whether or not they offer any kind of guarantee on their data. Additionally, learn more about their customer service policies. Will there be a specific person you can talk to if you’re having an issue or will you speak to someone different every time you call?
An excellent way to decide whether or not a data provider is reputable is to take advantage of free trials. A legitimate data company shouldn’t request your credit card number or ask you to call in to cancel your trial before it expires.
The Bottom Line
When you’re trying to sell your product or service, it can get frustrating to hear “no” from prospects more often than you hear “yes.” While purchasing a list of qualified leads may seem like the magic bullet solution, it isn’t. Successful sales aren’t necessarily guaranteed from any one source. It takes a combination of hard work and marketing savvy to build your customer portfolio. Are you up to the task?
To learn more about marketing solutions that will benefit your business, contact one of our experts at 877.708.3844 today.