Whether you are chasing a retailer or a consumer, understanding lead management ins and outs is critical to a brand’s success, fostering your product’s value and giving your customers the attention they deserve.
What is a lead?
A lead is an individual or organization that is interested in the product or service you are selling. They’re vital people in your sales pipeline.
It’s necessary to note that a lead isn’t the same as someone you have never reached out to before (via cold call or email) or someone who has not heard of your product yet. Leads usually hear from a business about a product after they’ve engaged with your business somehow. That could mean they put their email down on a list at a trade show to win a prize or gave their information for a discount or free subscription.
Leads fall into the consumer lifecycle, specifically the part where a visitor turns into a customer or a business opportunity (aka retailers). Not all leads are created equal. Some are more qualified than others, which brings us to how to determine whether a lead is a:
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
- Product Qualified Lead (PQL)
Service Qualified Lead is also a lead type, but we don’t abbreviate it because it gets too confusing with Sales Qualified Lead. We aren’t going to touch on product qualified leads or service qualified leads, because those are typically for software platforms or technology services, like RangeMe!
Marketing Qualified Leads: Are contacts who’ve engaged with your marketing efforts but are not ready to receive a call about purchasing your product. This type of lead is most likely a consumer who follows you on social media out of curiosity or a retailer that has viewed your profile on RangeMe.
Sales Qualified Leads: Are contacts who have expressed interest in becoming a paying customer, such as a consumer that signed up for your newsletter or a product release email, or a retailer that messaged you on RangeMe.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of converting prospects; in this case, consumers and retailers, into someone interested in purchasing your products. Examples of lead generators include blog posts, trade shows, live events, coupons, and online content such as social media posts or ads.
These lead generators help you, the brand, attract new customers but convert them into paying customers (or customers willing to sell your products in their stores).
Note: Consumer outreach is never one-to-one unless you’re selling high-cost goods.
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to dive deep into lead nurturing.
What is lead nurturing?
Lead nurturing is what it sounds like–the process of building relationships with your brand’s prospects. The method of lead nurturing helps qualify your leads so that they’re more likely to either buy your product or bring your products into retail stores. To achieve successful lead nurturing, consider what type of information and content consumers and retail buyers are interested in, when to reach out, and how often.
Lead nurturing is not:
- Blasting your leads with an email send (that’s not personalized, or tailored at all)
- Sending out communications on an irregular basis
- Calling or messaging randomly to see if they’re interested in purchasing your products
Lead nurturing is:
- Sending personalized emails to each lead (especially your retail leads!)
- Sharing relevant information about your brand, products, or even your industry
- Tracking how they’re engaging with your content, to improve methods moving forward
Chasing a retail lead
Retail buyers are busy bees. They get hundreds of emails and several phone calls a day. And like most of us, they also value their privacy. That’s why it can be a struggle to get in contact with a buyer you’re chasing.
But let’s say you finally get their contact information, whether from a trade show, RangeMe Messages, or even LinkedIn. What do you do? How do you reach out? What if they don’t respond? How often should you reach out?
It can typically take about 6-8 touches to get a response from a retail buyer. Allison Ball shared in one of our most recent webinars that 80% of retail buyers will say no five times before saying yes. So it’s essential to be strategic when it comes to how often you reach out and what you send.
Here’s an example timeline that you can follow when nurturing a retail lead, and what to send them:
|Day 1||Do your research on the lead! Are they on LinkedIn? Are they active? If they are, connect via LinkedIn and send a short personal message. If they don’t respond, try 1-2 more times.|
|Day 3||Send a short, sweet, and professional introduction email|
|Day 7||Send a follow-up introduction email to let the lead know you’re serious about wanting to work with the retailer. If you have their phone number, give them a call.|
|Day 21||Email the lead with more information about your brand, products, and let them know you’re on RangeMe. Add a link to your RangeMe profile that you can create in My Shares. (you will be able to see if they open your email)|
|Day 25||Send a follow-up email that includes a link to your RangeMe profile|
|Day 27||Featured in an article or publication? Email to your retail lead plus a link to your RangeMe profile|
|Day 27||Reach out via LinkedIn to nudge your lead|
|Day 30||Email lead with a video about your brand and products|
Of course, there can be variances based on your style and products, but it’s important to get to those touches so that you’re top of mind when a prospect becomes ready to buy. To learn more about different sales cadences, go here.
Tracking retail leads
It’s critical to track leads in your sales pipeline. This an essential step to stay organized and make sure you, and your team, are on the same page. Especially when it comes to which retailers you are actively prospecting, communicating, or working with, and even a lead that you no longer do business with but would like to. This helps minimize miscommunication and keep track of the relevant timeline mentioned above.
There you have it! A quick overview of what you need to know about lead nurturing. If you’re looking for a tracking tool for your retail leads, we recommend Suppliers use RangeMe’s Lead Tracker to track, manage, and grow their retail relationships in a single place.
Additional sales resources:
- Sales Strategies in the Retail Industries
- Grow Your CPG Brand with a Joint Sales and Marketing Strategy
- Selling Your Products to Retailers vs Consumers
If you need help getting in-touch with retailers, consider working with a CPG broker. You can explore brokers who are ready to help grow your brand here.