The process of reaching out to people via cold outreach or nurturing leads that don't show high intent to buy is nothing but a waste of your sales team's time, effort, and energy.
A better alternative?
Focus on hot lead generation, leads that show high intent to convert, which we will discuss in this article.
#1 What is lead generation?
A lead in sales is any prospective customer who fits your Ideal customer profile (ICP). One of the aims of the sales team is lead generation - the process of acquiring prospective customers to increase sales.
Leads can come through various channels such as social media, direct channels, referrals, or paid advertisements.
What are marketing leads?
Leads that get to know your product/services via any marketing asset such as case studies, feature pages, product pages, etc.
Once a lead meets the qualification criteria, they'll become MQL- marketing qualified leads. It means the marketing team thinks they're fit to move them to the sales team.
What are sales leads?
Based on your team's lead scoring and qualification criteria, MQLs can become sales leads. Thus, the term sales qualified leads.
But more than leads, the sales team wants to generate hot leads. So, let's talk about them.
#2 What are hot leads?
Hot leads are qualified leads that have gone through the sales nurture process and show high intent to buy your product/services.
These leads often show the following characteristics that make them distinguishable from other types of lead:
- Have a clear pain point and are aware of how a product/service solves it.
- Have the budget and authority to make the purchase.
- Have a clear timeline to seal the deal.
The sales rep must pursue these leads as they are close to conversion, and a right nudge such as a demo or call can make them a customer.
#3 Difference between cold, warm, and hot leads
#4 Why is getting hot leads important?
Generating and nurturing hot leads gives the best ROI to the sales team as these leads are very interested in the product/service you're offering. When leads show such high intent to buy, it saves the sales team time and effort and increases the chances of conversion.
Furthermore, the chances of retaining and turning them into loyal customers are often higher because they showed high intent to buy during the sales conversion.
#5 Top 5 tactics to get hot leads
Let's talk about some of the most effective ways to get hot leads:
Offer a free tool
Most SaaS businesses are leveraging the power of offering free tools. These tools work as a lead magnet as they let your audience get the value out of your product for free.
For example, MarbleFlows offers a free tool you can use to build interactive flows to lead generation and conversion . You can create different flows from onboarding to follow-up and try them out in real-time.
This tactic works because
- It attracts people whose pain points that tool solves.
- As you offer value without asking anything in return, it encourages them to try it out. Besides, the signup porcess is friction less making it super easy for visitors to try out the product.
Here’s an example of one of the MarbleFlows website’s pop-up template to capture and generate leads via website’s visitors.
Host webinars on relevant topics
Webinars are among the best content assets to attract hot leads. The webinars allow you to
- Build trust and credibility by answering your ICP's pain points.
- Fill your sales pipeline with quality leads by leveraging the audience of your partners.
- Use different formats such as - QnA, expert interviews, workshops, product demos, etc.
Here are a few ways to use webinars to generate leads:
- Use signup forms for segmentation by asking questions to visitors about the company name, size, tool they use, or problems they're facing. These questions will give you insightful data for follow-up post-webinar.
- Talk about pain points of your ICP's and pitch your product as the right solution. Go in as detail as possible.
- Use different webinar formats such as QnAs, product demos, expert interviews, one-on-one sessions, etc.
- Make webinars interactive and answer your audience's questions.
Set up email drip campaigns
Use automated drip campaigns to nurture leads who show high intent to buy. By analyzing the prospective lead's interaction and behavior, you can set up the relevant drip campaign to send.
For instance, if someone signed up for a free trial, their buying intent is higher. In this case, you can set up an onboarding drip campaign to engage with them and offer helpful resources to make a better experience.d
People don't buy after a single email, so you can engage with them and communicate to take one step closer to the conversions.
Leverage the power of free trials
If your business offers a free trial, you already have a solid way to bring in more hot leads. Free trial users get the value out of your product and reap the benefits using limited features.
So, your task should be to make the onboarding seamless to create a good experience for them. Here, you can also use the email drip campaigns to create a series of emails to nurture and nudge them toward paid conversions.
For example, Leverage Lab used first-party data and used it to construct a machine learning predictive model. This model helped them predict the new subscribers and create a personalized prioritization which led to 10% lift in free trial conversions.
Leverage chatbots to capture visitors 24*7
Chatbots are changing the lead generation process by allowing sales reps to capture and engage with website visitors anytime. With chatbots, you can answer your visitors' queries in real-time, giving them a good experience.
Chatbots are also a great tactic to indulge in conversational marketing and allow you to qualify leads based on their questions.
For example, Drift's live chat feature allows sales teams to qualify a lead based on their questions. It also lets sales reps jump in when they show high intent to buy. These chatbots remove the need for a static form and make the user experience more engaging. Such an experience generates better leads.
#6 Hot lead generation examples
Here are some examples of how businesses used one of the above tactics to generate high quality leads and increased their conversions.
Demandbase: More leads via webinar
Demandbase is an account-based marketing platform that helps B2B marketers find in-market accounts, engage and convert them.
Lead generation tactic: Webinars
They created a 4-part webinar series targeting B2B marketers, both practitioners and executives, as shown in the image below:
Their goals were:
- Get 2,500 registrants
- Achieve 50 sales qualified leads (SQLs)
- 30 leads for the sales pipeline
The team used social media, 1:1 invitation, email campaigns, paid promotions, and personalized landing pages to promote their webinar.
Demandbase achieved higher results than expected:
- 3,605 Registrations, 32+% from target accounts
- 77 sales qualified leads (SQLs)
- 43 leads for the sales pipeline
What did they do best?
- Involved their SDRs to send 1:1 call and email invites to targeted customers.
- Used a webinar series to disseminate information in parts, making the past attendees join.
Templafy: Using LinkedIn to generate leads
Templafy is one of the fastest-growing IT companies in Scandinavia. It helps large enterprises' branding, compliance, and IT teams govern and optimize how employees work using Microsoft Office and Office 365 applications.
Lead generation tactic: LinkedIn
Templafy intensified its focus on LinkedIn when it faced a shortfall in organic traffic.
They developed two parallel campaigns:
- Always-on Sponsored Content that's designed for brand managers, and they're supporting IT functions.
- Account-Based Marketing (ABM) focused on the insurance businesses.
Both these campaigns soon became the most successful in generating quality leads with the right follow-up strategies.
- Generated between 15 and 25 MQLs every week.
- Converted MQLs into active sales opportunities @ 20%.
- Reduced cost per lead → 55%, and reduced cost per sales opportunity → 43, over four months.
- The projected value of Templafy's LinkedIn sourced pipeline represents a ROI of over 475%.
What did they do best?
- Developed an automated flow of follow-up emails leveraging the LinkedIn profile data they collected using lead gen forms.
- Reached out to their prospects using personalized communication.
- Had a clear ICP to target for each campaign.
#7 How to convert hot leads into customers
Getting leads is half the battle; the other half is to convert them. Even though these leads are so close to conversion, a bad experience or nudge might make them take a step back.
So, let's talk about how to convert these leads using some effective sales strategies and close the deal:
Personalize your messaging
Even though these leads are ready to buy, they won't be expecting an email that sounds robotic and generic. So, while reaching out, add a personal touch as much as possible.
- Did they attend your webinar and sign up for a newsletter? Mention that in the email.
- Do you know their company name, what they do? Use that to start the conversation.
- Have only the names of the leads? No worries, go ahead with that.
Use data from social media engagement, website interaction, and previous emails to pick things you can use to personalize the messaging. The more personal and specific you make, the more you increase your chances of getting heard.
Reduce the friction in the sales funnel
Reducing friction means making it easy for the lead to fill a form, book a demo call, attend a product webinar, etc. If your leads have to do extra work to take the next step, they can feel discouraged and annoyed, which can impact your lead conversion strategy.
- You keep only the relevant field in the signup form.
- Remove unnecessary steps in booking a meeting or demo call.
- You don't overload them with too many calls to actions.
Follow-up at the right interval
A well-planned follow-up call or email sequence is vital to give leads enough time to think about your messaging and not annoy them with frequent emails or calls.
Keep your follow-up relevant to the previous email to give the context of your previous email. It helps if leads didn't see your previous email or have forgotten about it.
Use case studies and testimonials to enforce trust
Hot leads are already in a buying mood, and if you show the right social proof showing how you helped your customers, the likelihood of their conversion increases. Social proof such as testimonials, case studies, customer reviews, etc., enforces your credibility.
Here are a few ways to use social proof:
- Send an email about how you helped some of your customers generate higher ROI.
- Put customer reviews on your signup form page to reduce the friction in the submission process.
Maintain a conversational tone
Make your messaging seem like a conversation, not a monologue.
Make your communication seem more human and less robotic by writing your messages in a conversational tone. A conversational tone invites the leads to read on and build a connection that can pique their interest.
Besides, when you maintain a friendly tone and address readers like their friends, they'll be more inclined to listen to you, which can help close leads.
Hunting for leads and converting them into customers is an ongoing task. The tactics we discussed in this article aren't exhaustive as there might be other less-known tactics that might work for you. But, these are some well-performing ways to get hot leads for your business.
Besides, understanding your ICP and the problem your product/services solve is imperative, as you would lose your way without it.