Let’s be real. Today’s methodologies and processes give us a lot of different types of leads. We have product-qualified leads, marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and many more.
As someone who works in sales, handling all these types of leads can be overwhelming and exhausting.
Fortunately, there’s a way to make the entire process of getting, nurturing, and closing leads simple, and it only uses one type of lead — Sales Accepted Leads (SALs).
In this article, we’re going to look at:
- What are SALs, and why are they important?
- How to generate SALs
- How to qualify and nurture SALs through your sales funnel
- How to close SALs
You’ll also get a template of my favorite proposal to push your prospects into paying customers. If you’re ready to improve your percentage of closed deals in 2020, stick with me.
What Are Sales Accepted Leads?
Sales Accepted Leads are marketing qualified leads (MQLs) — generated through ads, content, or any other type of marketing activities — that have met specific, agreed-upon criteria and are then passed to the sales department for nurturing and closing.
Why are the Sales Accepted Leads important?
In most scenarios, you and the other SDRs are working with cold leads.
The downside of this is that you’ll need to invest a lot of time and effort into engaging with those leads and making them want your product/service.
Sales Accepted Leads, on the other hand, already had their first, second, and third touch with your unique value propositions, product, or service.
They already know who you are, what you’re doing, and, most importantly, how you can help them.
SALs are hot leads or at least medium-rare. 🙂
The leads are hot because Marketing spent time and energy aggressively qualifying and nurturing the leads. This may sound like a lot of extra work for Marketing, but by focusing on one type of lead, rather than four or five, Marketing’s job is made simpler and more focused.
Sales Accepted Leads require Sales and Marketing to get together and agree on criteria that identify when a lead is hot and ready for Sales. This has the added benefit of improving alignment between Sales and Marketing and ending the blame game of why leads aren’t converting.
RELATED: Improve Your Pipeline: Let Sales Control the Flow of MQLs (Why It Matters and How to Do It)
So, let’s see how your marketing department can generate, qualify, and pass SALs to Sales.
How Your Marketing Department Can Generate More SALs?
The SALs journey starts with the marketing department and their process of generating new leads for you.
There are two ways to generate more SALs that I’ve found a lot of success with.
1. Catch their attention with timing and pop-ups
There is no better way to earn someone’s trust than to attract them at the right moment. But the question is, what’s the best way to do that?
The answer lies in pop-ups.
Everyone is aware of pop-ups. And the vast majority of people think they’re bad for business and branding.
But let me tell you something. If someone’s already bored on your website and wants to leave it, why is it bad to give it another shot and try to catch their attention before they leave?
This type of pop-up is called an exit-intent pop-up. It’s triggered when the website visitor wants to leave your website. And according to Ventureharbor, they can increase your conversion rate by 10% on average.
But to create a compelling and powerful exit-intent pop-up that drives attention and makes your website visitors subscribe, you need to ask yourself three questions.
Is the design of my pop-up engaging enough?
Is my offer irresistible?
Will it catch my visitors’ attention upon leaving?
Here’s an exit-intent pop-up I really like:
It has excellent content, an eye-catching design, and an irresistible offer.
If you want to learn more about creating amazing pop-ups, Sleeknote has a great article on the subject where they analyzed over a billion!
2. Educate your target audience
Education is key to gaining market share.
For example, Lemlist is a relatively new tool in a very crowded marketplace. It’s one email outreach tool in a sea of hundreds. But they managed to get from $0 to $1M ARR in two years without funding.
One of the strategies they used to get there was market education and bombarding their target audience with relevant and engaging messaging, value, knowledge, and expertise.
This is essentially content marketing, and it’s a great way of acquiring Sales Accepted Leads that can be passed on to the sales department later.
To really go in-depth on how to do content marketing correctly would take an article all on its own. However, if you follow a few basic principles, you can start creating quality content to educate your audience right away.
The number one rule of content marketing is to focus on writing high-quality articles. Give your audience real value. Do some keyword research and find hot topics to write about. SEMrush and Ahrefs are both great tools for this.
You can also create a newsletter to remind your audience whenever you have new content.
The goal is to consistently educate your future SALs. By educating the lead, you’re engaging them. Once they’re well-engaged, it’s ready to be passed to the sales department to become an SAL.
How to Qualify Sales Accepted Leads
This step is crucial to creating a true SAL, and it requires the sales and marketing teams to sit down, communicate, and determine what each needs and expects from an SAL.
The definition of what qualifies someone as an SAL or warm lead changes from company to company, depending on the target audience and the type of product/service being offered.
That being said, there are a few questions you should always ask yourself when qualifying a prospect, regardless of your audience or service.
How many times did the prospect engage with our content?
What’s their open rate in the newsletter?
Did they try to contact customer support? What questions did they ask?
What’s their engagement ratio with our social media content?
Your answers to these questions will help determine if a prospect is ready to be a Sales Accepted Lead or still need more engaging.
How to Close Sales Accepted Leads
Now, we finally arrive at the most important part of this article. Once you get a Sales Accepted Lead from Marketing, what do you do with it?
How do you close it?
The best strategies will certainly differ from company to company, depending on your type of business and audience, but I’m going to share three strategies that give me the best results.
1. Schedule a demo and close right there
Sales demos are nothing new. In fact, they’re one of the most used (and most performed) sales techniques. Since you’re probably already well-aware of its importance, I won’t go over it again here.
But what I am gonna tell you is the process I‘ve been using for years to close SALs right in the demo.
Fortunately, it’s easy to schedule a demo with a SAL, since they’re already considered a hot lead.
Once I schedule a demo and jump on a video call (video calls are super important for sales demos since they help you build a better relationship with your prospect), I have a specific flow that I follow.
RELATED: How to Prepare for a Successful Customer Meeting (Template Included)
The first step is to get to know your SAL and ask them a couple of questions:
What are your main problems with [topic]?
How are you currently solving it?
What’s your desired outcome?
How do you think our product/service will help you?
Questions like these help you understand the prospect’s problems and needs, which allows you to give them the most personalized demo as possible. This is extremely useful if you’re trying to sell software.
If you’re selling a product, show the prospect the features they’re most interested in. If you’re selling a service, show them use cases similar to their own and have data ready to prove your claims.
At the end of the demo, always ask if there are any questions and recap what you talked about.
Also, there’s one tip that helped me skyrocket my percentage of closed demos. Whenever I finish a demo, I immediately send a follow-up email to my SAL. The email includes a short recap of what we talked about and what our future steps are (in bullet points so it will be sharper). It also includes a useful resource for his problem (this is great for building relationships and adding value).
RELATED: The 7-Sentence Product Demo Framework: How Storytelling Sells Your Product
That’s it. If you follow my template, you’ll find you can close a lot of deals with your SALs in the demo itself.
2. Close your SALs in your community
Another great way to close your SALs is to use your community, and no, this is not about marketing things.
Marketing and Sales should both be involved in your community for maximum results. There are two communities I especially like, SaaS Products & Marketing and LinkedIn Growth Hackers.
Both communities are doing exceptionally well at educating their potential customers, engaging with them with content, and in the end, closing deals right inside the community, in front of everyone.
Pretty encouraging for creating your own fantastic community. Not to mention that it’s probably one of the most scalable and frictionless ways to close deals with SALs.
Here’s the proof of how supportive and valuable a community can be:
3. Don’t underestimate the power of proposals
In most cases, before you close your deal, you need to send over a proposal to your SAL and the potential client. So, it’s important to know how to write an effective and powerful business proposal letter.
Pretty much all business proposal letters are the same. They follow the same structure and same flow, but what you write there and, more importantly, how you write it, is what makes the difference.
Be as clear and sharp as possible. Don’t overdo it. Don’t write long paragraphs. Keep it short and understandable.
Clearly define the goals, milestones, and prices. Don’t be confusing. Milestones, goals, and pricing are of the highest importance for someone who’s ready to give you money.
Highlight your value proposition — what your SAL will get if you close the deal. Show them how they will benefit from your product or service.
Answer the “Why you?” question. At the end of the day, what’s the one reason someone should purchase from you?
For example, here’s one of my favorite proposal letters. Feel free to use this as a template for your own.
Content marketing is the foundation of online business today. The goal of content marketing is to provide value to your customers, making your website a hub of information and entertainment to establish yourself as an authority in your field and make you the first thought in a customer’s mind when they need your service.
I want to work with you to find out what information your customers need, and then help you provide it for them. Together, we’ll explore your business, what makes it unique, and who uses it. Then we’ll take that information and create a value-focused, content-marketing campaign that brings you customers again and again.
I’ve taken a thorough look at your business, and I believe that my services are the best fit for you. Here are just a few reasons why.
- Your business excels in [industry], and I have [x] years of experience working with sites in your industry. In fact, your peers have reviewed my work [here] if you’re interested in having a look.
- Your goal is [goal], and if you take a look at my portfolio [link to portfolio], you’ll find several examples of my work that’s helped other businesses accomplish the same thing.
- My specialty is inbound marketing, and I am dedicated to creating the best content plan possible with expert SEO strategies and customer-based, high-value content.
- You won’t find anyone in the business who works harder. I’m so dedicated to my craft that I offer unlimited revisions to make sure your content marketing services are the best they can be.
Here’s a breakdown of the deliverables we’ve discussed and their cost.
- Content Marketing Plan For 1 Month, PDF: $1,000
- 4 1000-word articles (with SEO), doc: $2,000
- Long Term Content Strategy Plan, PDF: $500
- TOTAL: $3,500
Since we like to keep you informed and up-to-date, here is a list of milestone check-ins where we’ll be keeping in touch with you. If you have any milestones you’d like to add, feel free to let us know and we’ll add them to the plan.
- Introductory Meeting: ASAP
- Content Marketing Plan delivered: 3 Days
- Articles 1 and 2 first draft delivered: 1 week
- Articles 1 and 2 final draft delivered: 2 weeks
- Articles 3 and 4 first draft delivered: 2.5 weeks
- Long Term Content Strategy Plan delivered: 10 Days
If you have any questions about what’s listed in the agreement, I’m available to answer questions at [email] and [phone number]. Call any time, and I’ll try to get back to you within one business day.
After approval goes through, you and I will schedule either a conference call or an in-person meeting, depending on your location and comfort level, and we’ll discuss your business, who your customers are, and the kind of value you’d like to provide to your clients. If you have any questions about what’s listed in the agreement, I’m available to answer questions at [email] and [phone number].
Work will begin on your content marketing strategy as soon as the first payment goes through!
- Payment will be delivered via PayPal or bank transfer. The client will pay 50% upfront, and then the remaining 50% after receipt of all deliverables
- The client will provide any previous SEO info, keywords used, keywords ranked, and access to any analytics services used in the past.
- The client remains the sole owner of any information provided. All information is subject to a confidentiality agreement.
- Any requested work outside the scope of this agreement will be charged at [price]/hour.
- In the case of project cancellation after the work has started, the client will pay for work hours already completed.
For help writing great and engaging proposals like this one, you can use some PandaDoc alternatives, such as Prospero, Qwirl, And.co, Proposable, and others.
As you can see, Sales Accepted Leads are relatively simple to convert. They take some extra work qualifying and nurturing, but the result is leads that are hot, easy to handle, and don’t need much to convert into paying customers.
Remember the five things we covered.
SALs require harsh marketing nurturing. The best ways to generate more SALs are through education and pop-ups.
Define the qualification parameters. Set clear qualification parameters that will help you identify the hottest SALs possible
Schedule a demo with them and close them on the demo. Demos are of essential importance for your SAL.
Communities are a great way to close SALs. People in your community are bombarded with your content and reading your tips and posts every day. By choosing to be in your community, they’ve self-qualified themselves. There are no more welcome leads than SALs who come through your community.
Remember to prepare engaging proposals. Make sure that it’s clear, sharp, well-written, and provides the best information as possible.
By following these steps, and focusing on one type of lead — the SAL — you’ll simplify your lead generation program, streamline lead qualification, and close more deals faster and easier.