As compared to “outbound” which generally focuses on reaching prospects or target customers through advertisement or in-person strategies, “inbound” targets customers who can find a business organically.
Often, these inbound leads are website visitors turning into leads. These web visitors are generally divided into five main categories:
- Strangers – potential prospects who are about to become first-time visitors. They are not yet aware of the company or the solutions offered
- Visitors – website visitors who have just landed on the site or interacted for a few times while still exploring your content and the potential solutions you offer
- Leads – prospects who have interacted with the website through landing pages, call to action buttons, and filling out forms for webinars, freebies, product demos or so. They haven’t paid anything yet but demonstrated higher engagement with the business.
- Customers – leads who have paid for a premium solution sold by the business. Those include first-timers, and recurring paying clients.
- Promoters – highly engaged customers who actively participate with the business, share content, bring referrals, write about the business or generally promote it to their own circle.
While inbound marketing can incorporate a large suite of strategies, the general concept is focusing on high-quality content, relevant free resources for visitors in different stages of the buying cycle, targeted landing pages that bring visitors or leads closer to becoming customers, and various engagement components such as email marketing, SEO, social media marketing, and interacting with visitors.
In a nutshell, most service companies like a web development agency need the ability to generate a consistent number of leads, convert them to clients, and deliver results in the most efficient manner.
Leads are often generated using these:
- Offline events – conferences, meetups, industry events
- Referrals from old or existing clients
- Online job sites
- Online freelance and contractor networks and portals
- Your website (through content marketing, lead generation, etc)
- Participation in communities
I’ve explained our B2B sales process in this detailed answer in this blog.
Basically, nurturing your customers does not stop when a sale is made. It must happen throughout the process of managing expectations, nailing down estimates, handling scope creep, and hitting milestones like a pro.
Customer nurturing is an ongoing commitment that extends well beyond the point of sale. Let’s elaborate on some key aspects:
From the onset, setting clear expectations is crucial. This involves educating the customer about the product or service, the timeline for delivery, and any other key factors that could affect their experience. Regular updates can keep the customer in the loop and build trust.
Nailing Down Estimates
Being precise in your time and cost estimates reflects well on your professionalism and helps the customer plan. If circumstances change, immediate and transparent communication is essential to re-align those initial estimates with the new reality.
Handling Scope Creep
Scope creep can be a significant problem in projects. The features or requirements of a project can increase over time, affecting deadlines and resources. It’s essential to have a structured process to evaluate these changes. Any adjustments to the scope should be communicated clearly to the customer, including impacts on cost and timeline.
Achieving milestones on time is a testament to your reliability and capability. It’s also a perfect opportunity to engage with the customer. Celebrate these achievements together and take the time to review what’s coming up next in the pipeline. This not only keeps the customer involved but also allows for any adjustments in real time based on completed work.
The relationship should continue once the transaction is complete. Post-sale support, regular check-ins, and asking for feedback are all part of a nurturing strategy. This could lead to upsell or cross-sell opportunities, turning one-time buyers into loyal customers.
Utilizing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can automate many steps, ensuring you take every opportunity to engage and delight your customers.
The better you handle these areas with 100% customer satisfaction guaranteed, the more chances you will have to receive ongoing leads.