I’m always relieved when I hear that a VoIP company actively generates inbound leads. When I see a company looking to hire reps to go out and dig up business making phone calls or knocking on doors, I hope they’ve got the cash to support that rep for a good six to nine months while they ramp up. The sales cycle for a UCaaS deal is typically 30-180 days, sometimes shorter, sometimes much longer. Expecting a sales rep to ramp up before or even during that time without some existing accounts and/or a good inbound lead program is a recipe for failure. [NOTE: These reps are human beings who deserve to be set up for success and allowed to succeed or fail on their own merits. You owe them that much.]
Inbound leads must be generated, and they must be developed, or nurtured.
Generating Inbound Leads:
- Go after verticals. Work within a vertical by joining trade associations, developing services or packages specifically for them. Go to their events and speak their language to them.
- Join a network. Find networking organizations like Chambers of Commerce or leads groups or professional networks whose members resemble your target market. Don’t jump into any group. A group of solopreneurs and Mary Kay reps isn’t going to be a good fit. Find groups with leaders and sales reps from larger, more established businesses. The key to success in these networks is to find good referral partners: IT companies, B2B businesses, etc. You’ll want to create a network of referral partners that bring in 4-6 leads per month.
- Turn your website into a leadgen machine. These days, prospects are 60% or more into making a decision before they even reach out to you! If your website isn’t offering real information to help them make that decision, you’re losing out on leads. Offer them downloads, calculators, and other resources to aid their journey. NOTE: Put all kinds of conversion tools on your website, from clickable phone numbers, chat widgets, forms, etc. Make it easy for them!
Developing Inbound Leads:
- Get on them right away. Don’t smother them, but reach out right away. My strategy is to email, then call on leads that fill out some kind of ‘contact me’ form or chat message. Those who download a white paper or other resource can wait. Let them download a few of these, then do a gentle touch — “Can I help?”
- Continue reaching out in a helpful way, no hard pitches. Continue to provide information to help them make an informed decision. Don’t try to ‘close the deal’ or you’ll just push them away. Get them to join a webinar or a live event. The more touches the better. The more authentic your content, the better.
- Offer specials. Free phones? Free install? Free month of service? Make an offer to those who have already taken in some key content from your site. Give it a good call to action that is time limited.
The digital side of this can be automated. Put in a good marketing automation system. Offer good, useful advice and information, then reach out by phone and email once you see that they’ve consumed this content.
A final point on this: measure it. Build a dashboard to measure the leading indicators (activities) and lagging indicators (sales, proposals, demos, etc.). When you set goals and measure progress, you almost can’t help but be successful.