Chief Marketing Officer
Inbound leads: Why they matter and how to use them
Inbound lead management can feel a lot like juggling bricks while riding a unicycle blindfolded… Okay, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but let’s be real. The whole lead process can feel chaotic if your lead management strategy isn’t on point.
Generating leads sometimes feels so overwhelming that companies may be tempted to focus on outbound leads instead. Don’t do it! Outbound leads are as cold as the arctic tundra, and it’s super hard to warm them up. Inbound leads, on the other hand, are already warmed up and often don’t take as much effort or resources to turn into customers.
Long story short, inbound leads can be an indispensable asset if you know how to work them. Here’s our primer on why they matter and how you can improve your inbound lead generation efforts with better lead management.
Why you should fall head over heels for inbound leads
You’re sure to find many heated debates online over whether outbound or inbound leads are better. There are staunch advocates of both, and they each serve an important purpose for most businesses.
But here’s why we love inbound lead generation (and you should too): it has both higher conversions and lower costs. Inbound marketing is actually 10X more effective for conversions than outbound marketing. It also costs 61% less than outbound marketing on average.
Inbound lead generation is all about attracting customers to your brand, so inbound leads, by definition, come to you. They’ve chosen to engage with your brand. Which means their overall willingness to buy and be loyal long-term will be much higher than leads you purchased from an online lead generation company. What’s not to love about that?!
Outbound marketing is more sales-centric. It usually involves purchasing cold leads and then calling, emailing, or mailing them to educate, qualify, and pitch. And here’s the thing: outbound leads work well when you need quick results (which might not last). But, if you’re looking for long-term solutions, inbound leads are the clear winner—every time.
You can generate inbound leads in lots of different ways, including:
- A company blog
- Informational material (like ebooks and infographics)
- An engaging social media presence
- A company podcast
- Educational videos
- And more
Just because a lead was generated through inbound marketing doesn’t mean they will immediately qualify and buy, though. Effectively closing inbound leads requires a top-notch lead management strategy.
Don’t make these common inbound lead management slip-ups
Many companies put tons of work into generating inbound leads and then drop the ball with their inbound follow-up strategy.
Don’t make these inbound marketing slip-ups:
- The follow-up is slow or non-existent - Only 10% of B2B companies follow up with their leads within five minutes, even though companies who follow up within five minutes are up to 21X more effective than teams that reach out after thirty minutes.
- Follow-up frequency - It takes an average of 7-10 touches with an inbound prospect before they close. But 44% of salespeople give up on a lead after only one follow-up. That’s almost half!
- There’s no testing - Too often, companies devote tons of time and energy to generating inbound leads but never take the time to test their marketing efforts or the quality of the leads. If there’s no testing, you end up with an abundance of leads, with no way to appropriately distinguish their quality or follow up with all of them.
A lack of follow up often comes down to an issue with sales and marketing alignment and internal team communication. And the crux of a solid lead management strategy lies in efficient in-house communication and processes.
Two not-so-secret tricks to warming up your inbound leads
You may already know this, but we’ll say it anyways: your organization should have a definitive process for qualifying, marketing, and selling to inbound leads. Everyone on the team should know when and where they’re needed in that process.
What’s the (lead) score?
Lead scoring can be one helpful way to qualify inbound leads, streamline communication, and ensure leads are getting follow-up when they need it. It lets you score your inbound leads based on several factors, including location, industry, relevance, company size, needs, engagement behavior, purchasing power and more.
Once a lead is scored (or a score is updated), everyone on your team can see which leads need immediate attention—and this supports a better follow-up process.
Lead scoring isn’t the only key to effective lead management. If your inbound lead communication is lacking, your results will be too.
Unlocking the power of inbound follow-up
The way you communicate with inbound leads can truly make all the difference. With all the noise online, it’s important to pursue inbound lead communication with heart and in a way that engages their interests.
In other words, we have to start treating leads less like leads and more like people to see real results. Here’s where to start:
- Use segmentation and tags - These help break leads into meaningful groups. The more you engage with your leads, the greater opportunity you have to learn who they are as people. Tags can help you better personalize future communication, from industry to location, etc.
- Take notes on communication - Take notes about the lead and log them in their contact details to begin to understand the person behind the data. Notes can include things like what you discussed on their last call to their communication preferences, specific pain points or barriers to close—and more. This helps keep everyone on the team on the same page.
- Use omnichannel communication - Don’t just rely on one marketing channel. Try email, phone, text, chat and more to communicate with inbound leads, and learn what works best for each segment and person.
Once you start doing these three things religiously, personalizing your communication with inbound leads will come easily. Personalization is a pivotal piece of the inbound lead generation puzzle, helping humanize leads and build more meaningful connections.
From small things like including their name in emails, to larger details, like remembering important life events, personalization can dramatically improve inbound lead communication and deliver tangible results from your lead management strategies.
Optimizing lead management without pulling teeth
A solid inbound lead generation and conversion strategy is made much less painful and time-consuming with a CRM like Copper. A CRM is the perfect way to ensure your team communicates effectively (and sounds like real people instead of robots) and keep your marketing and sales pipelines running smoothly.
Copper automates lead scoring, segmentation and communication—which makes tracking lead details a breeze. We integrate automatically with Google Workspace so you can start closing more inbound (and outbound) leads right away. Get yourself and your team out of the dentist’s chair and start enjoying the results of a streamlined lead management process.
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