It felt like being pounced upon.
I’d just come back from an Internet marketing show in London. After hearing from industry leaders, I’d noticed that there were several stands exhibiting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, and asked for demos.
I wasn’t really a serious buyer – yet. Over the previous few months, we’d started wondering whether we’d outgrown our previous system.
Replacing it wasn’t yet a priority, just something I thought we might have to tackle at some point soon.
But the exhibitors didn’t quite see it that way. I spent the next few days fending off calls from over-eager reps, trying to set up more in-depth demos and telling me about the amazing deals they had, valid for just this month.
Because I really wasn’t ready to buy, they came across as way too pushy, and really put me off.
What was the error those reps made? They’d correctly identified that I was a prospect, but they hadn’t identified how close I was to buying.
Was I a “cold lead” – who was just becoming aware I had a problem with my CRM?
Was I a “warm lead” – beginning to investigate my different options?
Or was I a “hot lead” – ready to buy imminently, and just looking for the right provider?
They were treating me like I was “hot”. In reality, I was cold / early warm.
This is an important lesson if you are marketing your company online too. You can’t treat potential customers as if they’re all the same. You need to be able to tell where they are on their “buyer’s journey”, because at each stage they want different content from you.
Cold leads need help understanding that they really do have a problem, and evaluating how serious that problem is. In the context of my CRM, appropriate content might be a quiz helping me identify whether my current system is adequate for my needs, or a blog post about how my sales can be held back with the wrong CRM.
Warm leads are interested in the process of solving their problem. A product demo is perfect here, or perhaps an eBook on what factors to consider when upgrading your CRM, or types of CRM available on the market.
Hot leads want you to tell them why they should pick you as their provider. Give them case studies, credentials, price lists and special offers.
When you publish content on your website or on social media, cover all three bases so you reach prospects at every stage.
But if you are planning a campaign to bring new leads into your sales funnel, zero in on one of these groups. Design material that will attract just them, and follow up with content that is appropriate for their stage.
Great marketing isn’t just about delivering the right material. It’s about getting it to your leads at the right time.
The closer the match, the greater your chances of creating a great relationship with your prospects – and ultimately making a sale.