Want to hear some terrifying statistics for any business owner or sales manager.
- 35-65% of inbound leads are never called
- 75% of new leads never hear back from the business they contacted
- 30-40% of customers say they give their business to the first company that responds to them
- Companies that put an immediate and persistent response to their online leads see a 340% increase in online conversion.
So what does all this mean if you own your own business? It means is that there is business out there for all of you, but far too much of it is slipping through the cracks. Sales people not following up with prospects, not responding fast enough to online leads or not tracking your incoming leads so you know when to call them.
This problem becomes a much more serious issue when we are dealing with B2B leads. As we have mentioned in previous posts, B2B leads tend to be rarer than your traditional B2C leads but the value of each lead is significantly more due to the size of the business and the duration of the contract.
Some of the biggest reasons that businesses give for losing prospective customers is that they did not return their calls fast enough or did not keep the prospects information after the initial call. Now is this something that any small business can do? I have heard stories of companies such as Oracle, SAP and IBM having 15-20 day response times. Yes you heard me correctly, DAYS. I guess those are the perks of large companies, small ones on the other hand cannot be so careless.
Imagine if someone calls your business and no one picks up the phone? What do you think they will do? Wait around for an hour and call you again, or go on Google find your competitor and call them. As far as a customer is concerned they have a need and if your business is not there in the right time and the right place, then that business is not yours.
You must remember that most of your leads are not ready to buy at that exact moment. But the fact that they have send you an enquiry means that it is in their thought process and they may be ready to buy in a little while.
There are some simple and very basic tips that any business can do to help them with their lead management. Based on our experience here is what works well for most leads.
- Respond to your leads quickly
This might seem like an obvious point to put in an article about lead management, but you would be shocked to know how slow most companies are at responding to leads. These are people that actually WANT your business, you would think companies would be more concerned about response rates.
A report which is frequently cited claims that leads contacted within the first hour were 60 times more likely to get a response than after 24 hours. If that does not give you a big enough incentive, I do not know what will. If you take one thing away from this article make sure it is this; if you want to see more of your online leads and prospects becoming customers, respond as fast as you can to every single one.
- Know thy customer
Who is your lead? Where did they come from? What were they looking for? What did they read on your website? What did they NOT read on your website? How many times have they looked at your company?
Like many aspects of business, information is king. The more you know about a person the better you can help solve their problems. Knowing what your lead is looking for helps you cut through a lot of the initial conversation, and helps you to focus on what is important. Remember, a lead has contacted you because they have a specific issue, you must be able to show that you can deal with that issue. By knowing what that issue is your team can zero-in on it from the first moment.
If your company has various services and you can see your lead spent 5 minutes reading about service A and 1 minute reading about service B, then you have a better idea of what their issue could be.
- Understand what a lead is
Again, these are very simple concepts but they need to be executed across both the marketing and the sales team. Does everyone in the company know the difference between someone who has been to your page once, and someone who has signed up to a newsletter and then sent in an email asking for a call. Both of these should be treated differently and are in different parts of the buying cycle.
There needs to be a difference between a contact and a lead. Once this is understood the required resources that need to be mobilized to handle them can be sorted out. Contacts need to be nurtured, educated, nudged and cajoled down the funnel, which requires a different approach than someone who recognizes they have a problem and are looking for solutions to fix it.
Your sales team should not be calling contacts, they should be calling leads. Your marketing should be focusing on turning more of those contacts to leads with a solid drip marketing campaign.
These are just a few tips that you can implement into your organization today without any additional investment. In doing so you will see a significant increase in the amount of leads you are converting into customers.
Do you want more leads for your website? These articles might be useful for your business.