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Today I want to talk about something that really could be a game changer for your sales efforts, and that is how to turn website leads into sales opportunities.

When you work hard to write content that’s helpful and answers your prospects’ questions — and you put that on your website for download  you’ll get more contacts from your website. A majority of those won’t come through your "contact us" form, though. Instead, they’ll give you their contact information in order to do some research — in order to download the content your company has written and published on the website for them to consume.

A lot of companies that do inbound marketing struggle to turn those contacts that download content into sales opportunities. That’s not uncommon, to be honest. A large percentage of people that download content from your website won’t be ready to buy anything just yet.

But that’s doesn’t let you off the hook — you still have to a plan to engage them if you ever want them to become a sales opportunity.

So today, we are going to look at a plan for your marketing and sales staff to work together to do that.

How to Engage Website Leads and Turn Them Into Sales Opportunities

Automate Email Communications

The first thing to do is automate email communications. Your sales reps probably are not going to want to spend a lot of time on someone that gives their name and email address to download content from your website. They usually aren't considered "sales ready."

This is where your marketing staff comes in, working with sales to understand the buyer's journey, writing some automated email communications and handling the nuts and bolts of putting them into your marketing automation system. Having an automated sequence of emails you can send to prospects that feed them more detailed information will engage them over time. Incorporating an automated series of follow-up emails to their initial interest -- and sending those every time a qualified contact volunteers their information on your website -- will make sure that no opportunities fall through the cracks.

When you automate email drips to contacts, write your automated followups should appear as if they were personally-written (not templated, though your drip emails should be templated). Customize each email message in the sequence before hitting “send,” providing some context about the product or service the contact was researching. Ask a question or two to try to get a personal response. Also, you'll want to make sure emails come from someone who can help if the contact decides to respond or reply to the automated email (usually the sales rep assigned to the lead/contact).

Space Out Communications Accordingly

Secondly, space out your communications. There's nothing worse than an overly eager salesperson, and you don't want to give that impression to your contacts. Allow time in between each of your communications so they don’t feel pressured.

When we set up automated lead follow-up for clients, we allow between 4-10 business days between emails depending on the situation and the sales process. What's important here is that you're following your buyer's journey. If your customer is looking to install an irrigation system and is looking for 3 quotes, you don't want to wait 10 days to reply. If your client is looking for consulting to reduce costs at a distribution center, it's a different situation that requires different pacing. Don't send something daily or try to sell something aggressively -- you'll appear too pushy.

Score Website Leads Based on Activity

Third, score your leads.

Your marketing automation system can assign “scores” to your contacts based on what they downloaded, the number of visits to your website, the number of pages they’ve seen, the number of emails they've opened, and a lot more.

Your marketing staff needs to work with the sales staff to understand what activities or cues makes a contact "sales ready." If you need a starting point, your sales staff should write down an agreed-upon definition of a sales qualified lead, and marketing staff should use that to define marketing activities that should be used in your scoring algorithm.

Your marketing automation system can automatically alert a sales rep by email when someone reaches a pre-defined score, reaches out and requests a contact, or looks at a page on your website that covers pricing or product quality. Then, the sales rep can cancel the automated email sequence we described in the first step and reach out personally.

Mix Phone Calls Among Emails

Lastly, pick up the phone and call contacts. Your sales rep should pick up the phone immediately after a lead comes in, but how they handle that conversation is critical. They should ask what kind of information the contact is looking for, and not try to sell.

Depending on the buyer's journey, I find that calling in the first week after someone downloads your content, and then at the end of your automated email sequence is the best time to pick up the phone. Just remember -- be helpful and not pushy.

Seeking Help

At Whittington Consulting, one way we serve clients is by helping them set up systems to sell more effectively to contacts that come from their website. We help companies run their unique sales process on HubSpot CRM so there's an appropriate frequency and type of outreach, and so every contact gets personalized communication. If you'd like to discuss, please get in touch and we'll schedule a time to talk.

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