It’s the marketing agency’s job to generate leads, but then it’s the business’s job to complete the sale. This seems fairly straightforward, but the line gets blurry at times because in order to sell effectively, you need quality leads. However, in order to make strategy updates that potentially impact the quality of the leads, marketers need insight into those leads from the business. This requires a lot of open communication between your sales team and your marketing partner, as well as good internal lead source tracking process.

The Role of the Marketer

The primary role of a marketing agency is to generate leads, often referred to as conversions (phone calls, form submission, purchase on the website for ecommerce). The marketing agency needs to own the role and responsibility of setting up proper online tracking for the leads they’re generating, as well as in-depth reporting on those leads.

Marketers will look to the business for feedback on the quality of the leads they are generating.

  • Are the leads coming from the businesses preferred service areas?
  • Are they the right demographics?
  • Are they close to the purchasing stage or are they still researching?

With this insight, marketers can update strategy to try to hone in on the types of leads the business is looking for and has the most success selling to. While the strategy update piece falls into the court of the marketer, they cannot do this without help from the business.

The Role of the Business

The role of the business is to sell those leads.We have tons of partners who tell us “if we can just get them on the phone they’ll sign up” these are the businesses who have really developed and refined their sales process.  You know your product or service best, so make sure to spend time listening to your potential customers and providing the answers they need to make a purchase from you.

If you don’t have a formal sales process yet here are some basic steps you can follow to track how the leads progress through the sales cycle.

Sales Basics

Whether or not your small business has a dedicated salesperson or team, there are a few key sales practices that need to happen in order to give each lead that is generated the time and attention it needs to try to close it.

  • Answer the phone when it rings. While you may have a form submission on your website, some customers prefer to pick up the phone and call. Aside from user behavior preferences, the customers that pick up the phone are typically the most valuable leads, as they are further down the sales funnel. If your business is a one man show, you may find it difficult to be available to pick up the phone when new customers call in, but it’s imperative to have someone in charge of phone calls, otherwise you will miss out on leads.
  • Once a customer reaches out via form, call them same-day. If a user submits a form on your website, pick up the phone and give that customer a call in the same business day while you know they’re fresh and interested. Emailing leads after they’ve submitted a form is not ideal. It’s easy for the customer to ignore an email if they’re still shopping around between companies.
  • Ask questions and log your learnings. Figure out what that person is looking for. What is the problem they have that you can resolve with your offerings? If they don’t work with you or purchase your product can you find out , why not? What was their reasoning or why weren’t they the right lead for your business? Keep track of this information! More information on lead tracking below.

The Importance of Tracking Leads & How to Do It

As a small business, not everyone has a formal CRM system, but tracking how those leads pan out is important, even if it’s just in a Google or Excel sheet. Small Business Trends suggests implementing a grading system (A-F) for your leads so you can quickly and easily understand who is the most qualified and why. For the leads that didn’t close, make sure you note why, as these insights are gold for marketers.

Whether you have a CRM or a self-made tracking system, this helps create a follow-up log to ensure that you made contact with each lead in the right format and amount of time. Over time this information can help you determine how many follow up rounds are necessary to close a sale. You may find that one returned email is enough to convert one type of client, while several follow up calls are necessary to convert another. At a small business, employees are likely wearing many hats, so some accountability and process for sales follow-up is important!

Detailed tracking of your leads is very valuable, because without this, marketers can’t make any strategy updates to improve the quality of your leads. It’s not uncommon for clients to tell their marketing agency that the leads aren’t quality because none of them are closing or even responding to sales outreach. While this is a valid statement, as the business you need to make sure you are doing your due diligence with sales outreach and tracking. If you have each outreach point documented, as well as conversation details, then marketers can easily use these learnings to make adjustments in strategy.

How This Works In Action

Say you are the owner of a small motorcycle tour company selling tour packages. Your marketing agency is running PPC campaigns with the goal of generating leads. After 3 months of campaigns running, you notice through your sales process and lead tracking that some leads aren’t closing due to price point. The marketing team looks at the data more closely with you and finds that those leads not closing due to price point are leads that came from less affluent communities and can’t meet the price point of the tours you offer. Because of this information, your marketing agency adjusts the targeting strategy to target a specific income and specific zip codes that match the income level you assume your customers need to meet in order to afford your prices.

This is a great example of how, as the business owner, you can work together with your marketer to improve strategy and lead quality based on your sales findings. Keep in mind that this scenario cannot exist without proper sales follow-up and lead tracking. Without insight, the marketing agency can’t make as effective strategy changes.

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