Hot leads. Warm leads. Cold leads.
We hear these words daily in the sales world, but what do they actually mean to you and your sales goals?
In reality, they’re the difference between hitting your sales targets—and just hitting a brick wall. Knowing how to pick hot leads can help you close more clients, and picking out cold leads will save you from spending time on people who were never serious buyers in the first place.
Let’s dive into what a hot lead is and where you can find them.
Before a lead is hot, it needs to be qualified.
You might think that you’re onto a hot lead, but before you start investing time in getting that lead on board, you need to be sure. You have to qualify them first.
So, how do you know when a lead is worth investing in?
First, you should make sure they’re interested in your product. This might seem obvious, but checking whether a lead has actually shown intent to purchase your products is an important way to qualify them.
Look at their behavior on your website to figure this out. What are your leads looking at? What are they signing up for? If it’s free e-books or webinars, then they’re potentially interested in your product and content.
But if your lead is looking at your pricing pages, product demos, and testimonials from current clients… you could be on to a hot lead.
How do I find hot leads?
Of course, the hard part about finding hot leads is figuring out how to get them in the first place. The good news is, your hot leads are right in front of you and already looking around on your website.
You just have to put a bit of work in to hook them in and grab their contact information so you can make the absolute most out of them.
Tracking visitors on your website can uncover hot leads.
This might seem like an obvious one, but tracking your visitors' behaviors on your website is one of the best ways to uncover a hot lead.
You may get 5,000 visitors a day to your website, but if none of them are looking at pricing or demos, then your real number of hot leads is actually really low.
Look at how people are interacting on your website and if there’s a way you can get more people interested. How? Try adding simple call to actions such as pop-up subscriptions to collect people’s email addresses.
Are you seeing a lot of traffic on a particular page on your website (for example, your blog)? If so, add a call to action there to see if readers are interested in subscribing to your blog.
Design blog InVision attracts new subscribers with a slick, uncomplicated call to action on their page.
It’s not salesy or sleazy. All they're offering is awesome design content in exchange for an email address.
From there, they have the opportunity to add them to a drip email campaign (more about those here).
Not sure how to track your visitors? This can help you get started.
Chat with visitors on your website.
Live-chat has definitely become one of the best ways to sniff out a hot lead on your website.
Don’t underestimate how many potential website visitors you could turn into hot leads by simply having a proactive response rate on your website’s chat box.
Make sure your live-chat is responsive, personable, and professional. If someone feels like they’re getting instant answers from a real person, then you’re already showing them that your company is committed to great customer service before they’ve even purchased anything.
You can also dig out some info from them at the same time to help you qualify them as a lead. Remember, they need to fit into your sales strategy as much as you need to fit with them.
Jewelery juggernaut Goldsmiths has taken live-chat to the next level by also adding real-time video to mimic the service that customers would actually receive if they were in store.
This eliminates the ‘Am I talking to a real person?’ question that sometimes goes along with talking to customer service on live-chat. It also shows that Goldsmiths is serious about customer service and satisfaction.
Allow people to follow you on social media.
Your customers want to know that they’re buying from a real person.
If you or the major players in your company make yourselves available on social media, you could interact with your customers on a personal level that can’t be reached on any other platform—and it could set you apart from your competitors.
An awesome example of the power of social media comes from finance guru Ramit Sethi, who uses his Instagram to personalize his brand and open up a conversation to his followers on the most personal level possible.
Through his open account, Sethi constantly asks his followers for their opinions and opens up discussions about financial issues. He then cleverly follows this up with how his products can help them solve their problems.
What does this do?
It creates a whirlpool of interest in his products and shows that he’s the only person who should be solving his followers’ problems.
Social media marketing at its finest.
Offer free stuff in exchange for contact information.
It’s the oldest trick in the book when it comes to gathering hot leads: offering free stuff in exchange for contact information.
But the real challenge lies in creating an offer that your potential lead can’t refuse.
Gone are the days when offering average content will get you an email address. But if you can put out some kick-ass content into your potential lead’s hands for free, it might turn them into a hot lead a lot quicker.
Check out this example from WordPress hosting agency, Flywheel.
What do you notice about this lead magnet?
First off, it’s clearly free. Secondly, the ebook has been built to give the lead who downloads it some actionable steps to build their business and a clear call to action for how to get it.
Lastly, Flywheel has made some of the chapters available for preview, meaning that if someone downloads their ebook, there’s a good chance they’re more interested in hearing what the brand has to say.
It’s a smart way to weed out those who are genuinely interested in your free material while gathering contact information at the same time.
What makes a lead hot?
Once you’ve qualified a lead, you need to then decide if that lead is hot… or not. A certain level of interest and their behavior on your website are definitely important, but it takes more than that before we can call a lead hot.
Firstly, is the lead a key decision-maker in the company and not a gatekeeper (like a secretary or someone lower in the company food chain who aren’t able to make financial decisions)?
If you’re able to get to a key decision-maker in the company, you’ll have an easier time scoping out if they have a genuine need for your product—and if they can afford it.
When you get a warm lead… that could get warmer.
A warm lead is a lead that might be missing one or two of the qualifying points above, which rules them out of being a straight-up hot lead.
It’s important to not write warm leads off, but instead realize they’re going to need a bit more nurturing to make them hot.
Let’s say that you’ve found a company that has shown a high level of interest in your product and they have a budget in place to purchase. But, you’re being stalled by gatekeepers who aren’t key decision-makers.
This would give you just a warm lead, but clearly, you shouldn’t be writing it off. With a bit more nurturing and effort from your sales team, you can warm those leads right up.
What if my lead is ice cold?
If you’ve got a lead that doesn’t check any of your boxes, you can put them in the cold lead pile.
Once again, you shouldn’t write them off.
But to make them worth your while, you should keep them in your back pocket to nurture further in the future. Keep in mind that it’ll take time, effort, and strategies to be able to turn these into hot leads.
Pro-tip: A cold lead could be added to a product-focused drip campaign, for example, to help win the lead over and check off a few more boxes to qualify them.
Use a CRM to get the most out of hot leads:
Of course, to keep on top of what leads are at what stage, a CRM is the perfect tool to help your sales team keep track of everything.
Not only can it help your sales reps to easily identify hot, warm, and cold leads as soon as they enter their sales pipeline, but it should also let them know what should be done when a lead hits each stage.
If a warm lead has been moved up to a hot lead, make a specific rule for your sales team when it hits that stage. This could be something like a notification that lets your sales team know what kind of email or phone call should be used to follow up.
On the flip side, if a lead is downgraded from warm to cold, your CRM should automatically notify whoever is dealing with that prospect of appropriate next steps to take. This could be adding them to another kind of campaign, or perhaps a simple break-up email to keep everything streamlined.
Want to get the most out of hot leads? A CRM like Copper can give your sales team the tools to start selling to the right people, aka. those who are genuinely interested in buying your product.
Put in the groundwork to quickly identify hot leads.
There’s a mountain of difference between the leads you’re collecting—and the best chance you have at closing as many of them as possible is properly identifying them.
Qualify your leads properly and flag them as soon as they're added into your CRM. This gives your sales team a massive boost by making it easier to sell to leads where they’re actually at.
Don’t underestimate the power of being able to hook hot leads early. By crafting great content and putting in work on your website, you can lay the foundation for massive results for your bottom line.