How to use your sales leads more effectively

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Your small business probably pours a lot of thought into generating sales leads. After all, that information can, hopefully, turn into revenue down the line. However, after you've amassed a list of potential clients, you may not know how best to convert them into paying customers. Here are some tips for how to make the most of the information you get:

Identify their location in the sales funnel
Not all of the leads you gather will be in the same spot on the sales funnel. Some might be researching you and other companies in your industry for the first time, while others will be ready to buy with just a little urging. Identifying what stage each lead is at will help your team better approach them and cater to their current needs. 

Create a system of identifying and categorizing your leads, and train your sales team how to speak with each type of contact. This will ensure you get the best results from your conversations with your leads.

Don't waste decent leads
It's easy to focus all of your energy on solidifying business with leads that are ready to buy. However, some lukewarm potential clients could convert with some coaxing. What's more, educating and helping these individuals costs less time and money than developing a whole new set of leads. For this reason, make sure warm leads don't get overlooked in pursuit of hot ones.

This could mean reaching out to learn more about the company's needs and asking how your business can meet them. It could also mean sending gentle reminders via email or business greeting cards.

Additionally, make sure to follow up with new leads quickly. Don't let them sit or they could move on to another provider. Once you get information, give it to your sales team so they can reach out immediately. Sometimes, all it takes to get a conversion is letting a potential customer know you care enough to respond.

Know your competitors 
In all likelihood, your leads are shopping around before they commit to any business relationship. This allows them to find the best deal for their needs. It's also an opportunity for your company to get an edge. Get to know the services and deals your competitors offer so you'll be ready to handle any questions or comparisons your leads make. Doing your research allows you to respond with phrases like "This is what we offer that our competitors don't," or "We can offer an advantage you won't find anywhere else." Of course, back up these assertions with specifics. Facts and figures can be your biggest allies. 

Review your sales process
Record sales calls. Meet with your sales team. Discuss your successes and failures. In general, review what you're doing at every stage of the lead and conversion process to see where you're attracting people and where you're pushing them away. This is perhaps one of the most effective strategies, as it allows you to make changes that improve your practices for better results in the future.