Having a reliable inflow of high-quality leads is a necessity for successful sales teams. After all, you can’t sell anything without someone to buy your product or service.
However, the majority of cold leads are nowhere near ready to make a purchase. They require varying degrees of nurturing and education to help them get there.
But if you can find potential customers who are further along in the sales cycle, you can skip a few steps and close faster.
In other words, if you can find warm leads — those already familiar with your brand or interested in a solution like yours — you can supercharge your sales process.
So, how can your team generate more sales leads that are already warmed up? Let’s talk about warm leads and how to find them.
What Is the Difference Between a Warm Lead and a Cold Lead?
The “temperature” of a lead refers to their level of familiarity with your product or service. Leads who are already aware of your brand, or have expressed interest in your solution, are “warmer” than those who are not.
In other words, they’re further down the sales funnel and are more likely to respond well to a well-crafted pitch.
Here’s a look at what a lead’s temperature can tell you about their position in the buying cycle:
What Are Cold Leads?
A cold lead is unfamiliar with your brand, product, and offer. They have no prior relationship or interactions with your team and will require nurturing and education to help them understand the value of your solution.
Salespeople use cold calling and cold emailing to reach out to leads. If those conversations go well, cold leads can turn into warm or hot leads.
What Are Hot Leads?
Right at the other end of the spectrum, you have hot leads. A hot lead is someone who’s already interested and ready to move forward with a purchase. These are also referred to as sales-ready leads or sales-qualified leads, as they’re ready to speak to a quota-carrying sales rep.
Typically, hot leads don’t just fall into your lap. They begin as either cold or warm leads that you nurture towards a sale.
What Are Warm Leads?
Warm leads fall somewhere in between cold leads and hot leads. This is someone who has shown some level of interest in your product, or who has responded positively to interactions with your brand. For example, they may have replied to a cold email, subscribed to your newsletter, engaged with your marketing content, or attended a webinar hosted by your team.
Why Sales Teams Should Focus on Warm Leads
The warmer the lead, the higher the chance that they will become a customer.
Not only are warm leads interested in a solution like yours, but they’ve already given some indication that they’re open to learning more about your product. Compared with cold leads, fewer steps are required to get a warm lead to see the value of your offering.
Warmer leads are more likely to align with your ideal customer profile, which makes it easier for you to understand their buying motives, ask the right qualifying questions, and tailor your offer to their needs.
All these factors increase the likelihood of making a sale — and doing so more quickly than if you had reached out cold.
How to Generate Warm Leads for Your Sales Pipeline
When it comes to sales prospecting techniques, it’s never a great idea to put all your eggs in one basket.
Rather than relying on a single lead source, you should establish a variety of channels and sources for warm leads, including inbound and outbound sales and marketing tactics.
Not sure where to find leads that are already warm? Let’s look at some of the most effective ways to generate warm leads.
Invest in Inbound Marketing
Publishing inbound marketing content (including SEO blog posts, lead magnets, and webinars) can produce long-term ROI in the form of inbound leads.
Not only can inbound marketing campaigns draw leads to your website, but it can help you better identify their level of interest (a.k.a., help you qualify leads as warm or hot) depending on what type of content they engage with.
The best part? When a new lead comes to you — instead of the other way around — you have built-in evidence that they’re interested in your product or service.
Reward Customer Referrals
There’s a very good chance your existing customers know other people who would benefit from your solution. And if someone first hears about your business through a happy customer, that’s a powerful form of social proof that immediately warms them up.
To tap into this highly valuable lead source, you need to incentivize customer referrals. For example, you can set up a rewards system that allows customers to earn a discount or bonus for successful referrals.
Leverage Your LinkedIn Network
Your CRM isn’t the only place you can find potential customers. Your LinkedIn network is probably full of hot prospects.
One of the best ways to leverage LinkedIn for lead generation is to check out anyone who has viewed your profile recently. You’ll see the name and job title and be able to click directly on their profile to learn more. This can be a quick and easy place to source warm leads without much effort.
If you can’t find a lead’s email address listed on their profile, you can use a tool like Datanyze to uncover their contact information so you can reach out.
Track Visitor Behavior on Your Site
Use marketing software to monitor clicks and activity on your website. This helps you identify whether someone is interested in your product (rather than, say, looking for a job or scoping out the competition).
For example, are they spending time on your blog reading bottom-of-the-funnel content before hopping over to your pricing page? Or did they start filling in a contact form, but then click away? If so, there’s a pretty good chance they’re a warm lead.
Then, once the lead signs up for your email list or downloads a piece of content, you have an ID on them and can contact them with appropriately tailored outreach.
Promote Your Newsletter
If you have a newsletter but don’t actively promote it, you’re missing out on a ton of potential warm leads. Your subscribers can safely be considered warm leads because they’ve effectively raised their hand and said, “Hey! I’d like to get to know your business.”
Even better, they’ve given you their email address. So long as they agree to receive sales communication from your team, you’ve got everything you need for striking up a conversation.
Partner With Complementary Brands
You probably have customers who are looking for other products or services that work well with your offering. If you have relationships with these service providers, you could refer customers to them and vice versa.
It might take some effort to create a network of partners who will refer warm leads to each other, but the payoff potential is huge.
With the right qualifying questions, you can promote these warm leads to hot prospects faster than you think.
Lead Nurturing: How to Turn Warm Leads Into Hot Leads
When you compare warm calling vs. cold calling, warm calling is significantly easier — but still requires strategic nurturing and sales techniques.
Remember, warm leads are already interested in your business, but they’re not quite ready to buy yet. To help you get them there, here are some of the best ways to turn leads from warm to hot.
Schedule a Demo
Conduct product demos so you can walk leads through the features and introduce them to the interface.
All great storytellers (and sales reps) know it’s important to show, not just tell. Inviting warm leads to witness your product in action allows them to come to their own conclusions about the value provided. This makes it much easier for you to move the sale forward without being pushy.
Plus, scheduling demos is a handy vetting tool. When a warm lead agrees to a demo, they’re signaling immediate interest in your offering. This also allows you to speak face-to-face (in person or via video call), which builds trust, improves your relationships, and allows the lead to express any concerns or objections.
Share Relevant Case Studies
Your leads want to know about similar customers who’ve experienced success or growth after adopting your solution. That’s why publishing case studies and examples from real-life customers can be such a powerful marketing strategy.
If you already have case studies published on your site, direct customers to view those most relevant to their own challenges, industry, or goals. If you don’t have any case studies ready to share, then consider telling a customer success story that you witnessed first hand.
Create a Sense of Urgency
Limited-time promotions can increase conversions in the short term. For leads who are already warm, the pressure of a ticking clock is often enough to get them to pull the trigger.
There are a few ways you can do this, like emphasizing FOMO, scarcity, and the benefits of adopting your solution ASAP.
For example, what will your lead miss out on if they don’t make the switch to your product? Is stock running low or are there seasonal offerings that are only available until the end of the month? By putting off this purchase, will they create extra work for themselves in the future?
Provide a Special Offer
A special offer can also be used to create urgency — but not all of your promotions need to be time-sensitive to be effective.
Even if you don’t put a time limit on the deal, a special offer can still light the fire under a warm lead who is this close to converting. Whether it’s a new customer discount or a bundle that results in a steep discount, sometimes warm leads need that extra nudge.
Go Above and Beyond to Add Value
Look for ways to provide advice and tips beyond just trying to make a sale.
That could mean researching more details about something that came up during your first phone call, or learning more about your contact’s specific role within the company before following up. The better you understand a lead’s needs and challenges, the better you can qualify and educate warm leads.
For example, you could send personalized emails with updates and offers. Or share helpful content from your blog via a LinkedIn message. The idea here is to add value and establish a rapport that will serve as the foundation of a future business relationship.
How to Warm Up Cold Leads
Can cold leads become warm? Yes! With a little bit of patience and nurturing, cold leads who fit your ideal customer profile can absolutely turn into warm and even hot leads.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when dealing with cold leads and stalled deals:
Personalize Every Message
You can warm up cold leads by establishing a rapport with individual contacts. But in order to do that, you need to do your research and tailor every message you send to them.
Remember, your leads have no reason to respond to a generic email newsletter. If you can’t show them that you’ve taken the time to learn about their pain points and requirements, why should they spend any time responding to you?
Follow Up and Re-Engage
A good sales follow-up is sometimes the difference between a sale and a fail.
If a previously warm or cold lead goes silent, you can reignite the conversation by reaching out again and asking specific questions. Check in with them regularly to see if their position or needs have changed at all.
Ask to Speak to the Decision Maker
If your contact seems to be losing interest or avoiding your calls after previously expressing interest, you might not be in touch with the right person.
So, simply ask whether there’s someone else you should speak to about moving forward.
It’s possible your original lead doesn’t have the authority to make a purchase or doesn’t have the bandwidth to make a decision at the moment — but someone else at their organization might. This is particularly common in B2B lead generation.
Send a Breakup Email
If all else fails, you can get a lead’s attention and prompt a reply by presenting an ultimatum. For instance, you could say that if you don’t hear back from them by a certain date, you’ll assume they’re not interested and close their file.
This will either earn you a positive response (“Yes, I’d like to move forward”), a negative response (“No, I’m no longer in the market for this”), or no response at all.
In any case, you’ll be able to clean up your pipeline and remove leads who aren’t a good fit, so that you can focus on those who are.
Bonus Tip: Use Lead Gen Tools to Find Warm Leads Faster
Lead generation tools can help you generate more leads — including warm leads who are already interested in a solution like yours. With the right tools at your disposal, you can also heat up cold leads faster.
For example, Dataynze brings some automation to the process of researching leads. Instead of spending hours searching for phone numbers and email addresses, you can scoop up contact details with a click.
Having these details allows you to warm up your leads by personalizing email marketing campaigns and social media messages. And that usually means a better conversion rate in the end.
Want to spend less time searching for contact information and more time building connections?
Start by downloading the Datanyze Chrome Extension to see how easy it can be to find warm leads and connect with decision makers.