Think of all the contacts your business has right now. They probably aren’t all sales ready leads. Most businesses have various different types of contacts that they reach out to for various reasons at various times.
Who Are These Contacts
- Subscriber- Someone who has opted in for something like your blog or newsletter
- Lead- Someone with more interest than a subscriber who downloaded a piece of content from you and has given more information than just their email
- Marketing Qualified Lead- More interested and active than just a lead, they have probably downloaded 2 or more pieces of content, opened and clicked through a few emails, etc.
- Sales Qualified Lead- Someone who is educated and ready enough to talk to your sales team
- Opportunity- Someone your sales team has spoken to and identified as ready to buy
- Customer- Someone who pays for your services or products
- Evangelist- Someone who is a partner or promoter of your business
You might have more lifecycle stages within your business, for instance sometimes we reach out to past clients for referrals or just to catch up. So the first step is to figure out exactly what lifecycle stages apply to your business. Then you need to decide how and who communicates with them as well as what and when you’ll be sending. This will vary from business to business.
Why Are You Contacting Them
The next step once you have your lifecycle stages laid out is to figure out why you’re contacting these people. In marketing, things rarely work without a strategy behind it and a goal in front of it. Each lifecycle stage you laid out should have a purpose of being there and a reason for contacting them. Communicating with a contact “just because everyone else is doing it” is never a good reason.
- Subscriber- Well, these people specifically asked to be contacted so you want to provide them with the newsletters or blogs they signed up for. But you also want to contact them to turn them into a lead.
- Lead- You want to be contacting a lead to educate, stay top of mind, and to move them through the funnel.
- Marketing Qualified Lead- This is when you will qualify or disqualify a lead by how they are engaging with the content you’re sending them
- Sales Qualified Lead- You want to move them to an opportunity by having a sales conversation, addressing all of their pushbacks and pain points.
- Opportunity- The sales team’s goal at this point is to close this person as a customer with further detailed conversations.
- Customer- Retention is a huge goal for your communication with this segment as well as making them raving fans of your business.
- Evangelist- You want to give them content and avenues to promote your business and brag about how awesome their friends over at “insert your business name” is.
What Are You Sending Them
Now that you know why you’re contacting each segment let’s figure out what to send them. Content is key when it comes to marketing and communicating with leads.
- Subscriber- They are obviously into learning, so offer them premium content!
- Lead- Send them some targeted LNC’s, newsletters, alerts on brand new offers, new updates and upgrades .
- Marketing Qualified Lead- They’ll want more middle and bottom of the funnel content. Try case studies and testimonials talking about how your product or service has worked for others (and received great results obviously!)
- Sales Qualified Lead- This will most likely be a phone call or email coming directly from your sales team so addressing common questions the sales team receives will make this step run smoothly and push them right into becoming an opportunity.
- Opportunity- This will be similar content to the SQL step but more detailed information specific to their business’ problems.
- Customer- Monthly newsletters and referral programs are great things to send current customers.
- Evangelist- Make it easy for evangelists to promote you with blogs and premium content they can tweet out for you
How Are You Contacting Them
- Subscriber- Marketing team
- Lead- Marketing team
- Marketing Qualified Lead- Marketing/sales team (this can vary by business depending on what you set as an MQL qualifier as and how well your marketing and sales team work together)
- Sales Qualified Lead- Sales team
- Opportunity- Sales team
- Customer- Marketing team
- Evangelist- Marketing team
When Are You Contacting Them
Every sales cycle is different so it varies depending on how long your leads tend to stay in the funnel. I like to keep our customers updated with a newsletter monthly and evangelists will naturally share content or can be reached out to when you have special content you’d like them to share.
This concludes our lesson on setting up your sales cycle communication plan! Now go get started!