how-to-determine-which-leads-sales-readyIn order to fully understand how a lead becomes “sales ready,” it’s important to familiarize yourself with the concept of the buyer’s journey. HubSpot basically wrote the book (or should we say, the eBook?) on the buyer’s journey, and explains it thusly; every potential customer is in one of three stages of the journey: Awareness, Consideration and Decision. Each stage brings unique challenges, and there is a different marketing strategy for each stage of the journey. Let’s briefly break down how the three stages differ:

Awareness: In this stage, the buyer is aware that they have a problem, but they’re not sure what that problem is. They want to figure out the root cause of their situation. For example, they may have a leaky roof, but haven’t determined what’s causing the problem. Is it damaged shingles? Busted pipes?

Consideration: Now the buyer knows exactly what’s causing the problem, but they don’t know what to do about it. They will research all available solutions in an effort to discover how they’re going to solve their problem. Their roof leak is being caused by a damaged roof; how are they going to fix it?

Decision: The buyer has now realized how they want to solve their problem, and all that remains is to decide on the company to help them out. They’ll compare vendors and products, ultimately choosing one to handle the job. They’re evaluating contractors and will select one to repair their roof.

Your leads are all going to be in one of these stages of the buyer’s journey, and it’s up to you to figure out which stage it is. Each stage requires a different tact and specific types of content in order to reach the buyer. For example, during the awareness stage, buyers will be impacted by content such as eBooks and white papers, while decision stage buyers will respond to trials and case studies.

So where in the buyer’s journey are you going to find the sales-ready leads? Generally, a lead can become sales ready as early as the consideration stage, and is absolutely sales ready by the time they reach the decision stage. In most cases, a lead isn’t sales ready until late in the buyer’s journey (which essentially eliminates the awareness stage).

The importance of lead nurturing

It’s critical that you interact with your leads regularly, so you can gather information about where they are in the buyer’s journey. During the lead nurturing process, you’ll want to reach out to the lead via phone or email and ask questions to gauge their interest. This is also an excellent opportunity to provide them with content offers – not only will these offers showcase your expertise as a company, they will also help the lead move toward a purchase.

Signs of a sales-ready lead

Each situation is different, but here are some potential signs that a lead is sales ready:

They are knowledgeable about competitors – this shows they’ve done some research on vendors and are in the decision stage.

They agree to sit down for a sales meeting or phone call – they wouldn’t waste time hearing your sales pitch if they weren’t potentially interested in buying.

They have downloaded your content offers – savvy consumers know that providing contact information will encourage a business to contact you. Providing the information anyway means they probably won’t mind.

They visit your site repeatedly and/or interact with you on social media – consumers don’t keep visiting companies they aren’t interested in doing business with.

They have a sense of urgency – if the lead is under a time constraint to find a solution or expresses urgency, they will want to make a purchase soon.

These are just a few of the things you should look for when trying to convert leads into sales. If you’d like more help with your lead generation, conversion or any other part of the marketing/sales process, take a look at our free eBook below, it will help you get started with your inbound marketing strategy: