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Turning a Prospect into a Sales-Ready Lead Takes Heart — And At Least 7 Touches

5 min read
Updated Aug. 24, 2020
Published Dec. 8, 2015

How many times a day do you silence a call, glance at a text message only to forget about it, or lose an email in your avalanche of an inbox? Well, you’re not the only one. In today’s barrage of communication mediums, quality sales leads are getting harder and harder to reach. From email, to phone, to social touchpoints, it can take at least 7 touches before you connect with a viable sales-ready lead.

Not All Leads Are Created Equal

For starters, not all leads are created equal. Depending on where they are in the buying process, a certain amount of nurturing may need to take place to get them sales-ready. Take Stage 1 leads for example. These prospects are simply dipping their toes in the water. They may be new to the company, new to a position, or just plain green to the entire SaaS industry, but they’re certainly not ready to buy. Getting their attention is going to take a few extra touch points.

Some leads, on the other hand, may be in the market for tools to help them in their process, but they’re not sure which tools, yet. They’re shopping, they’re researching — they’re planning out their sales tech stackand you want in. This is where the lead nurturing comes into play.

Throughout your cadence of touches, you need to cover all of your bases to connect with these leads. From sending them valuable content, to question answering and objection handling — this is where a relationship is built that leads to a quality sales-ready lead. You may get pushed back, put off, or rescheduled, but don’t lose heart. These are the points in the process where you are building a solid case for your tool.

Not All Leads are Pre-Qualified

What’s a good qualified lead? Most SaaS sales reps are dying to get a buy-ready decisionmaker on the phone. But most of the people you’re calling are not that person. Instead, the people you’ll talk to are usually the bottom of the totem pole, new guy, possibly an intern, and with little to no authority to buy.

This is where pre-qualification comes in. A sales development qualification best practice is the ANUM model. As a Sales Development Rep, your responsibility is to qualify prospects based on the first two sets of the ANUM model, Authority and Need. Find out if the prospect has Authority (Can they sign? Were they asked to look into this solution by their manager? Do they hold the credit card?), or Need (Do they have a sales team? Are they actively searching for a tool to add to their tech stack?) before passing on to the Account Executive.

Getting to the bottom of these questions is going to take some time, and this all goes back to aligning your messaging with your lead. Remember that just as you wouldn’t start talking about weddings on a first date, you wouldn’t start talking about pricing packages on an initial call. Just as you do in any normal conversation, you should always recognize the stage of the buyer’s process and match that stage to your messaging. Keeping this alignment in mind when going through your cadence of touchpoints will give you a better chance of connecting with a lead at the right time in their process.

Not All Leads are Listening

Aligning your messaging is important, but knowing how to creatively connect with leads is just as critical. The leads you’re trying to connect with may be at the top of your list, but odds are, they’re at the top of every SDRs list. Prospects are inundated with emails, blog posts, cold calls every single day, and they’re immune.

sales-ready lead

This is when stepping outside of your comfort zone (i.e. LinkedIn) and using other platforms (i.e. Twitter and Slack) is going to give you a better shot at connecting with sales-ready leads. Adding personalization and variety, even in the smallest ways, can cut through noise these leads hear on an everyday basis.

Some Leads are Lost

While a typical Sales Development Rep is running outbound cadences on prospects, it’s the inbound SDRs’ responsibility will respond to marketing generated leads and inquiries to identify their place in the ANUM model. But some of these prospects come in hot, and unless the rep jumps on the opportunity to successfully nurture the lead, those leads are lost.

It’s important for every rep to remember that even if a lead is hot, it may not necessarily be sales-ready. It’s the rep’s responsibility to get them there. Just like an outbound lead, connecting with a lead that is ready to buy may take just as many touches to fully develop, even if they initially came to you.

It can be disheartening to feel like you’re running in place in your cadence, but sales development is a game of inches. A well-oiled process of at least 7 touches can be the determining factor behind the connection with a sales-ready lead. Take each step as a unique opportunity to prospect with sincerity, add value to conversations, and connect those sales-ready leads that will convert.