Heat Up Your Business Sales With Warm Leads

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Warm leads are customers that are interested in your product. Make the most of your customer conversion efforts by focusing on these six strategies to get more warm leads.

The local yellow pages were my go-to source for leads two decades ago while building a wholesale location for a Fortune 100 company. Starting at “A” and working to “Z,” I called every company listed under related industry subheadings.

Cold-calling potential customers was a tedious, challenging growth strategy. The effort paid off with an exponential sales increase, but I've since experienced the power of warm leads.

Social media, website analytics, and email campaigns break the ice on cold leads by introducing potential customers to your business. Research shows warm leads generated through searches convert to 14.6% sales conversions compared to 1.7% from cold leads.

Initiating conversations with people who already have an awareness of a brand is also less intimidating. Cold-calling remains important in B2B lead generation but targeting warm leads creates a faster prospect-to-customer conversion cycle.

Overview: What are warm leads?

Warm leads are individuals who are aware of your products or services. There’s a distinction between a lead and a prospect. Leads are people who have expressed an interest in your brand, while a prospect has moved beyond lead status and typically has had two-way communication with your company.

How can you determine if someone qualifies as a warm lead? Here are a few ways people interact with brands before making a purchase.

  • A follow on social media
  • A subscription to an email newsletter
  • A referral by a friend, a family member, or a previous client
  • A Google search

Collect contact information with CRM software and follow up on interactions to build a relationship that results in sales.

6 ways to generate warm leads

Simply willing customers to find your website, make a phone call, or place an order isn’t practical. Once someone finds you, brand recognition only goes so far in generating warm leads. The trick is capitalizing on the warm leads who have found you organically.

The good news is that there is a lot of flexibility in interacting with warm leads, giving you a number of options. These are a few methods worth a try.

1. Offer deals and incentives

Melt a cold lead into a warm one by offering something for free. The incentive must provide value to motivate visitors to share their contact information. First-purchase discounts, free shipping, e-books, case studies, and free trials can spark that first interaction. Require contact information in exchange for the offer and add it to your marketing lists.

2. Create a sense of urgency

Who hasn't been a victim of FOMO, or fear of missing out?

It’s human nature to react more quickly when there’s a set time period for taking action or there is a perception of scarcity. Amazon’s Product Availability Alerts capitalize on the impulse to buy when urgency is a factor. Alerts notify shoppers when a new or out-of-stock item becomes available for quick, one-click purchasing.

3. Maximize contact forms

How many times a day does a website landing page ask for your email address? Every visitor is an opportunity to create a warm lead by adding them to an email list and including them in a marketing funnel. Form-building plugins streamline the data collection and make it readily available for follow-up.

4. Anticipate customer needs

Offering a solution is no longer enough to win over new customers. Anticipating changing needs and helping buyers prepare for potential challenges sets you apart from competitors. Don’t just notify customers about company-wide resources. Personalize your outreach by focusing on how the change offers an individual solution.

These buzz-generating scenarios can be enough to heat up customer interest.

  • A new office or store location
  • New products and opportunities to participate in product testing
  • New website content or training opportunities that address challenges
  • Anticipated changes in the supply chain or quality of a product from a supplier
  • Upcoming manufacturer discounts and rebates

5. Put your analytics to work

Use analytics to turn your website traffic into leads as part of your customer journey map. Monitor all opens, replies, and call-to-action clicks to identify the most interesting prospects. Visitors who have clicked through several pieces of content but haven’t made a purchase are warm leads. Reach out with strategically curated content that addresses their interests and pain points to go from lukewarm to potentially red-hot leads.

6. Organize a sales blitz

Lean on company support to launch a concentrated sales blitz. The first month I was on the job, sales representatives and store managers from 200 miles away traveled to my brick-and-mortar location. We spent three days visiting contractors in the specialty niche on job sites and at their shops.

The event thawed cold introductions into warm leads. Collecting business cards through brief job site meet and greets garnered a list of a few hundred warm leads. Back in the office, the event was used as a conversation starter in follow-up phone calls to move the relationship forward.

3 best practices when warm-calling

No one wants to be pitched a product on the first interaction. Nor do they want to be “sold” in the first few seconds of an interaction. Relationships are the foundation for generating hot sales leads. Combining these best practices with insights collected through customer analytics brings warm leads closer to making their first purchase.

1. Listen and reflect

Demonstrate you care about the long-term relationship by actively listening to the conversation. Resist the urge to read emails, answer text messages, or engage in an unrelated task. Show that you understand by reflecting back on what you’ve heard or ask for clarification if you’re unsure about what they are asking.

2. Avoid dead-end questions

Skip the questions that only garner yes or no answers. Open-ended questions can help you better understand the prospect’s needs and issues.

For example, instead of asking, “Do you use XX product?,” consider, “What features of XX are most important to you?”

With warm marketing prospecting, the more connections you make that can offer a solution, the more likely you’ll have success in the sales cycle.

3. Refresh their memory

Everyone is so busy these days that it’s challenging for people to keep up with all the names and contacts from companies trying to sell to them.

When they pick up on the other end of the phone, remind them of who you are: “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m the sales representative from XXX. We spoke a few weeks ago about YYY” is one good way to start.

The effort pays

Concentrating on warm leads allows you to increase sales more quickly and nurtures long-term customer relationships. Create excitement for your products and services by zeroing in on those already familiar with your brand.

Remember, the most successful sales happen when they’re customer-focused. You'll notice more people expressing interest in your business when you offer solutions specific to your customer’s unique problems and desires.

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