If you own a business, which of the following prospective customers would you want your marketing team or your sales rep to pursue – one of the qualified leads whose name you bought from another company, or hot leads who has previously visited your website searching for help in solving a problem?

Odds are you’d opt for the latter. After all, that potential customer is looking for help from a company like yours right now, not at some vague time in the future. This ideal customer has already sought help in filling their need for a product or service, started the consideration stage, from your business’s website.

Why are Inbound Leads so Important?

Inbound marketing focused on warm leads ready to do business often results in high marketing to sales percentages. There are many ways to assess the quality of fresh organic leads: from where they are in the buying cycle, how closely they resemble a buyer persona, or how high they rank on your lead scoring system. One of the best ways, however, is evaluating how engaged they are with your business or sales team. Have these potential customers, for example, filled out an online form, downloaded content, asked for content via email, searched your blog content, or told you they’re ready for meeting with your sales team?

Leads generated through inbound marketing strategies are superior to those you buy or those you get from outbound strategies. Inbound marketing tactics are better in part because they cost you, on average, 62% less than outbound leads. Another reason they are better is that those leads came to you to help them with a problem your business can solve and because they already know something about your business.

Visitors to leads conversions are helped by using a myriad of ways to generate inbound leads, These multiple options of inbound marketing tactics can be:

  • Through the use of a sales funnel
  • On-page and off-page SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements
  • Social media marketing
  • Email marketing

What they all have in common is the goal of turning prospects into customers by building relationships with customers based on credibility and trust.

Let’s Paint a Picture

As just one example, imagine the following scenario. You own a business that sells household appliances. John is a consumer who wants to buy a new dishwasher. For our example, John goes to a social media site looking for information about dishwashers. He finds a post from one of your social media channels with a link to an article: “How to get a dishwasher that meets your needs without spending too much money.” That’s information John can use (no one wants to spend more than he needs to), so he clicks on the link which takes him to one of the blog post pages on your website.

There he finds your relevant content, offers, and an online form. You ask him to complete the action content, which includes his email address among other things, in exchange for the article. John fills out the form, and congratulations you have a warm, new inbound lead for your sales department. It’s a win-win: John gets the information he can use and you get a hot lead who knows about your business and, more importantly, likes and trusts you. While other companies were pushing sales pitches at him, you were prioritizing the customer experience by helping him solve his problem. When it comes time to buy his new dishwasher, he’s more likely to enter the buying stage with your business because you built relationships with buyers before skipping to the sales process.

Don’t Forget You Have his Email Address

John might decide to buy one of your dishwashers on the spot. In most cases, however, it’s going to take a little more marketing effort. That’s where lead nurturing comes in. You begin adding John to a marketing automation series, emails with more content offers along with more relevant content, containing the kind of information that will help him make a prudent purchase.

You have the opportunity to gather more valuable business intelligence about John during this step of the sales process. You might tell him, you can be of greater help to him if he shares additional information with you. For instance, ask the question of:

  • How much he’s willing to spend?
  • What dishwasher features or qualities he’s looking for?
  • What preferred method of communication does he want your sales team to communicate with him?
  • What questions he might have that you might be able to answer?

Leading John Down the Sales Funnel

With each exchange, you’re working with your new potential customers through the leads to sales process and nurturing your new relationships with customers. In the back and forth, John and your business are getting to know one another a lot better. He knows that you have his best interests in mind and not trying to sell him something he doesn’t want. Conversely, you know that he wants to spend no more than $500, that he doesn’t need anything fancy, and that he likes being contacted by email. Gradually, over time, you’re narrowing in on precisely what John wants, giving him smart options to make an informed decision, and sending him information that moves him increasingly further down the sales funnel.

There’s a Reason Marketers Prefer Inbound Leads

According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers surveyed said that inbound leads are of higher quality than outbound leads and 68% of businesses that use inbound to generate leads said their marketing strategy is “effective.” That’s because consumers have changed bombarded with TV spots, direct mail pieces, and cold calls from pesky telemarketers. They’re looking for something different: they’re looking for companies that are willing to work with them, not against them, companies they can trust.

Not sure where to get started? Check out our 30 Lead Generation Strategies below!

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Book Now Founder & CEO of ThinkFlame, Shelly Patrick, trains individuals and companies to understand how their marketing affects their sales conversation and how to integrate marketing into their yearly plans for consistent growth.

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