During the connect phase of your inbound sales strategy, you'll connect with leads that you've sourced in a variety of ways, but the most valuable ones will be inbound leads. An inbound lead is a person who has visited your website and identified themselves in some way. Of all your lead sources, inbound leads will typically have the most contexts or on the specific interests of the buyer. For example, you may know the buyer reads specific blog articles or pages on your website. You may know that the buyer received five emails from your organization and opened two of them on a related topic. You may know the buyer re-tweeted certain types of content in social media. All of these actions are indications of the buyer's specific interests. To get a deeper understanding of buyer interest, define the categories of interests your buyers might have that your company can help with. For example, if you're representing a recruiting firm, your buyers may have the following categories of interests. Increase the quality of new hires, increase the pace of hiring, decrease the cost per hire. Reallocate the time hiring managers spend on sourcing to higher value activities. The interest categories for your product or service may be different from these. But if you can list out the problems you help your customers solve and map those problems to the content on your website, you'll be able to come into your connect calls with a pretty good idea of the problem your prospect is trying to solve. Initially, it might be challenging to connect certain buyer actions to your interest categories. However, this connection will become clearer as you gain experience with your buyers. When you observe buyer actions and connect these actions to interest categories, you can then use interest specific content to your outreach efforts. Armed with relevant content to address your inbound lead specific problems, you'll be ready to connect in a helpful inbound way. When it comes to contacting inbound leads, picking up the phone is definitely worthwhile. Unlike traditional cold calling, which often does more harm than good, calling inbound leads greatly increases the likelihood of turning that lead into a customer. One study found that calling such leads within five minutes as opposed to waiting even just half an hour increased odds of qualifying 21 times. Another advantage of calling quickly is that you'll be more likely to get that person on the phone. That same study found that you'll be 10 times more likely to have a conversation with a lead if you call them within five minutes rather than waiting an hour. If you can be that fast, your prospect will be surprised at your speed and most of the time it'll be a happy surprise. If you reach out in a helpful way, they'll be delighted to hear from you and think about how that will change the tone of the initial conversation. Instead of spending the first 30 seconds of the call trying to convince the buyer not to hang up on you, you'll be able to dive right into providing content that's relevant to a problem you know they're experiencing. Your next step is to find a time to discuss. Schedule a meeting or a phone call with them when they have more time to talk and then you'll be ready to move to the explore phase of your inbound sales strategy. Now, it might not always be possible to call every lead immediately. If it's been a few hours or days since the lead came in, it's still worthwhile to reach out to them. But you might need to remind them about the action they took that turned them into a lead. Here's an example of how that conversation might go. Hello. Hi Mary, this is Dan from Tyre Recruiting. Oh. How can I help you? You downloaded one of our e-books earlier today on tips to recruit engineering talent. Right, I remember. I'm interested to understand, what were you looking for help with? Well, we're having trouble winning the top sales talent in the area because we don't sell expensive products and can't really afford to pay at the top of the scale. Yes. We just went through this issue with a client of ours in the Northeast. They were a software company with financial software for small businesses. What have you tried so far? Continue to ask the buyer about their specific situation and provide help where you can. At some point, you will either naturally transition the conversation into the explore phase or agree to set up an exploratory call together. If you get a prospect's voicemail, leave a short message stating who you are and why you're calling. Be sure to reference the action they took because they may have forgotten about it by the time they get your message. For example, if they downloaded a piece of content, mention its title and ask them if they found the information they were looking for. Always offer to help in some way. Depending on the action they took, you might want to offer them some other content related to their interest category. End the message by telling them you'll send a follow-up email and then send them a short message that includes any content you promised to them. Now, if you've been in sales for any amount of time, you probably know what it's like to feel as though all the voicemails and emails you send to people fall into a black hole, but your inbound leads might surprise you by how readily they respond. Not all of them will, but if you're reaching out in a truly helpful way, many of them will engage with you. You're connect strategy needs to include a plan for fielding responses to your voicemails and emails. Email responses are easier to handle. The buyer's response is an indication that the buyer believes you can help them with a priority, goal or challenge. Schedule a meeting or phone call when you can dig into their needs and then you'll have successfully navigated to the explore phase of your inbound sales strategy. If an inbound lead calls you in a response to a voicemail you left them, use that as an opportunity to launch into a connect call like the one we discussed earlier. The only difference will be that they'll know who you are because of the information you left in your message. You'll be able to jump straight into scheduling an exploratory call. Now, if you're in business to business sales, there's another scenario you might find yourself in when it comes to contacting inbound leads, contacting anonymous leads. If you're calling a company that has shown interest in your offerings, but that you don't have a specific contact at, you need to focus on the content the people there will have shown interest in. For example. Hello. Hi Mary, this is Dan from Tyre Recruiting. Okay. We've received a few inquiries from people at your company for information on increasing hiring quality. Really? From who? That's what I was hoping you could help me with. They didn't leave their name. Is there someone in your organization that might be focused on that issue? Maybe Bob in recruiting. Do you know why he would be looking for information on sales hiring quality? We've had some issues there. Issues? Similar to the inbound lead situation, continue to ask the buyer about their specific situation. Provide help where you can and transition to the explore phase either on this call or during a follow-up call. Now, not every inbound lead you contact will be ready to move to the explore phase and that's okay. Position yourself as an advisor that they can rely on for helpful information and then share content with them from time to time to maintain that relationship. They'll come around eventually. To sum up, inbound leads are your most valuable leads, connect with them as quickly as possible by reaching out with content related to their interests. From there, it should be smooth sailing to the explore phase on your inbound sales strategy.