Lead generation is regarded as one of the most daunting tasks by many sales reps and marketers. 61% of marketers consider lead generation as one of the toughest jobs on the planet.
Following the report that “only 25% of marketing-generated leads are qualified enough to progress in the sales cycle.” Having a large pool of leads does not guarantee success as it could be a few, probably 10% of the total leads that would eventually convert to paying customers.
How do sales reps manage this situation and identify sales-worthy leads from the poor ones? It all comes down to lead qualification – the process of evaluating a lead based on certain criteria like their financial capacity, level of interest, pain points, etc.
Central to the lead qualification process are the three types of leads – cold, warm, and hot leads. While cold leads are leads that are least interested in your product, warm leads are slightly interested in your offerings, hot leads are the most engaged and most interested in your product or service.
In this article, we will provide an introduction to the three types of leads, why they are important in the sales process, and share working tips on how you can attract and convert hot leads to customers.
Table of Contents
- What are hot leads?
- Checklist to Identify a hot lead
- Hot, warm, and cold leads: What’s the difference?
- Benefits of targeting hot leads.
- How to market too hot leads?
- How do generate hot leads?
- How to convert hot leads?
What are hot leads?
Hot leads are qualified leads who are highly interested in your product or service, need to fit it, and are ready to speak with your sales rep to finalize the sales process.
These leads are the best of the three major types of leads, as they have gone through your product or service discovery stage, found all available information about your product or service, and how it can help them solve their pain points or satisfy their needs.
They are the easiest to convert among the three leads and the exact leads that every sales team wants in their sales pipeline. Although these types of leads are usually well-informed about the product or service and are capable of making purchase decisions, effective customer service can shorten the sales cycle.
A hot lead treated with respect and given the right attention by your sales rep will not only make a purchase but is more likely to become a loyal customer who could bring in more business opportunities for you by referring your products or services to their friends and family.
Checklists to Identify a hot lead
A hot lead is an individual who is highly interested in your products or service and is considering making a purchase. You can identify a hot lead from your pool of leads by considering the following criteria:
1. Level of Interest in your product or service
To discover this, you need to ask yourself the following questions
- How well does the leader know about your product or service?
- Have they done any research?
- How interested are they in using your product or service?
The above questions will help you gauge your lead’s interest in your product or service. If you notice that they already have a well-grounded understanding of your offering’s key features, specs, and benefits, chances are that they have done their research on the product or service, which indicates their genuine interest in it.
By using sales software, you can also look into the leads’ engagement with your website, social media platforms, and marketing content to further determine their interest in your product.
2. Your product or service fulfills a need
Need assessment is important to help you understand how valuable your product is to the lead. Similarly, in this case, a lead’s interest in your offerings is not the only thing to consider identifying hot leads.
You also have to look into some of the lead’s needs, goals, or pain points to determine how best your products or service can help them solve these needs. If your lead has a problem that your product can solve, it is an indication they will buy from you sooner or later.
3. Has the budget and authority to make a purchase
After interest level and needs, assessment comes the financial requirement. Irrespective of the result you get from the first two criteria, if your lead does not have the financial capacity and authority to make a purchase, you might want to think it through before committing your time and effort.
While this doesn’t invalidate their potential to make a purchase, they are just not qualified enough to be a hot lead. A hot lead has the financial means to buy your product and the authority to accept your proposal.
4. They have a clear timeline
In as much as you want to spend your time working on qualified leads, you don’t want to spend too much time with them. Hence hot leads are not only aware of what they want, but they also have a working timeline on the exact time to get your product. Hot leads know what they want and when they want it which on the good side gives you an idea of when you can expect to close the deal. Check out the detailed guide about how to qualify leads.
Hot, warm, and cold leads: What’s the difference?
A Cold Lead
A cold lead is an individual that shows no interest in your products. These leads could have initially expressed interest in business or people you contacted via cold outreach in the past and have now fallen out of the conversation with you.
While it may seem pointless to contact a cold lead or even give them your attention, sales experts suggest developing tactics to warm them up or reengage them – educating them about your products, getting them to see why they need your product, etc. Below are some of the tactics to warm up cold sales leads:
1. Focus on relationship building
Before trying to sell to cold leads, consider building and nurturing a cordial relationship with them to establish trust and position yourself as someone who is helpful and has their best interest at heart.
2. Personalize your communication with them
If you have been following up with trends and best practices in the sales and marketing field, you would understand the importance of personalization to warm leads. Personalizing your messages, emails, and calls to these leads mean you tailor it to meet their specific needs and preference. This enables them to feel closer and more connected to you.
3. Share valuable content
Everyone wants access to valuable content, information, or products that can help them get better. Hence, make an effort to create and share valuable content that your lead can benefit from. By researching them, you can find their interests, goals, and pain points that can help you create content that they can gain from.
4. Clarify that you have the right contact
A good thing about working with hot leads is that they are the key decision maker and can confidently take the sales conversation forward. For this reason, when dealing with a cold lead, verify that they are a decision-maker or at least have the authority to make sales happen.
A warm lead is an individual who has indicated a level of interest in your business offerings but has not shown that they are ready to do business with you. These leads could have signed up for your newsletter, or webinar, downloaded content, visited your website, or shared and liked your content on social media.
Warm leads need more convincing from you before they can eventually settle for you. Consider nurturing warmer leads in the following ways:
1. Ensure timely response to their inquiries
Most warm leads are identified when they send an inquiry to the sales team, take advantage of this by responding as soon as possible. You must understand that time is of the essence when dealing with these individuals.
2. Perform a demo
If the warm lead has indicated interest by requesting more information, you can use this opportunity to perform a demonstration of your product to show them the features and get them to familiarize themselves with the product. This can engage and prepare them for potential sales.
3. Share customer success stories
As highlighted earlier, warm leads need more convincing that your product is right for them. What better way to achieve this than by showing them how your customers have benefited from using your product and how it helped them solve their business needs?
4. Present a short-term offering
Consider offering warm leads a short-term offer – discounts, bonuses, or coupons – to create a sense of urgency and encourage them to make quicker decisions.
Benefits of targeting hot leads.
The following are the benefits of targeting hot leads:
1. They have the highest conversion rates
Most hot leads are highly interested in your product, have enough information about it, and have the financial capacity and authority to make a purchase, hence they are more likely to convert to paying customers.
2. They help you reach your sales target faster
A hot sales lead has the highest likelihood to make a purchase. These leads don’t require too much sales convincing to make a purchase, hence making it easier and faster for sales reps to hit their monthly targets.
3. They could bring more business opportunities
Aside from that hot leads move down the sales funnel a lot faster, they can also become the brand advocates that promote your product or service among their connections and encourage them to buy from you – thereby increasing your revenue. Check out the guide about the sales opportunity.
How to market too hot leads?
Since hot prospects or leads are a lot easier to convert, many sales reps want them in their sales pipeline. Although these leads know what they want and are financially capable of making a purchase, there are still certain marketing strategies that have to be in place to get them to convert even faster. These includes:
1. Always keep them in the know
Be sure to always inform your hot leads about every new development or change in your product. If there’s a new update, feature, or product, tell them about it as this can encourage them to decide faster
2. Promote your product or service
Don’t assume they know it all, share new interesting content about your business offerings with them. More information can make them more convinced that your product is right for them.
3. Be nice and respectful to them
Giving special personalized treatment to your hot leads can encourage them to become loyal customers. Giving them more specialized discounts even encourages more sales.
How do generate hot leads?
You can generate hot leads in the following ways:
1. Hire a professional sales development representative or outsource the job
Sometimes, it’s good to leave some jobs to the professionals, similarly in this case, consider hiring a sales rep that can generate leads, qualify and nurture them till they convert. If you choose to outsource it to an independent company, ensure they have the right skills and experience to do the job.
2. Run email marketing campaigns
Email marketing is one of the most successful digital marketing strategies to generate and nurture leads. Consider creating surveys and drip campaigns to help you meet only individuals that are interested in buying your product or service.
3. Use social media
Social media has become indispensable to present sales and marketing efforts. It provides businesses with a venue to reach and connect with a global audience. To find hot leads, consider joining social media groups within your product or service industry to access people who might have an interest in your business offerings.
4. Create marketing videos
In content marketing, videos are a great way to engage and build connections with your social media audience. In this context, consider creating relatable marketing videos that your prospects can relate to generating leads.
5. Host webinars
Webinars are a great way of educating and connecting with potential customers, existing customers, and your target audience. Consider hosting value-driven webinars to encourage your prospects to sign up and connect with you.
6. Create lead magnets or free tools to attract them
A lead magnet is a free valuable item that is created to get the contact details of your prospects. Consider creating different kinds of lead magnets to attract your leads and get them to be interested in your products or services.
How to convert hot leads?
Here’s how you can convert hot leads to customers:
1. Understand lead engagement
Consider using automated tools to find out how you got your leads and which of your sales collateral efforts or digital platforms they interacted with the most. This information will enable you to understand what fascinates them the most, and which can you use to target them and get them to convert.
2. Set a timeline
Most sales lead work with a timeline in mind. Now in the case of a hot lead who knows why and when they should finalize sales, as the sales rep must create your timeline and ensure it tallies with that of your lead. That way you are both moving at the same pace and allows you to be strategic about presenting your solutions.
3. Personalize your sales approach
Personalization is crucial to sales. By personalizing your messages and tailoring them to the needs and preferences of your leads, you build a connection with them and get them to choose you. Find the guide about sales follow-up email.
4. Build trust
Trust is the foundation of every sales relationship. When your leads trust you and see you as someone who has their best interest at heart, it encourages them to buy from you and remain loyal customers.
5. Support your sales with marketing collateral
When you communicate with your leads, don’t make it verbal only without adding value to them. Consider supporting your sales activity with valuable marketing content that your leads can further interact with after talking to you.
6. Use Sales CRM
Sales automation software like Sloovi Outreach can help you keep your sales data organized, manage communication with your leads and prioritize them.
Take Charge of your Hot Leads
Now that you have a clear understanding of hots leads, how to identify, market, generate and convert them. It is time to take charge of your sales by generating and converting qualified hot leads to take your sales to the next level.