Improving Your Sales Conversion Ratio Via Proper Lead Management
Maximizing the sales conversion percentage of your existing stream of internet leads is essential to implementing a successful Lead Maximization Strategy.
Ownership – Make sure all of the leads that originate from your site are sent to a responsible party who will treat each lead with the care, as well as the respect, each prospective customer deserves.
Quality Control – Use “secret-shopper” techniques to ensure that leads submitted via your site (whether sent to sales agents or to an Internet lead desk manager) are being fielded and handled properly.
How to Verify Delivery of Submitted Consumer Information (lead flow) – This is a simple process to undertake. Pretend you are a visitor to your site. Fill out your forms, sign up for newsletters, request a quote (or whatever applies). See what transpires. Did you get a confirmation message that your inquiry has been sent? Did the confirmation message clearly state next steps or what the consumer can expect now that they have shown an interest? Did you receive an automated confirmation via email (auto-responder)? Did the auto-responder email make sense? Does it clearly state when someone will be following-up with you? Did it include a link back to your site, a phone number, an address, special promotions, correct personnel information? On the other side of the equation, determine whether or not the inquiry was routed to the appropriate party within your organization. Whom is it supposed to go to?. Is that person still with your company?. Do you even know who is supposed to receive the leads or how the site is currently configured in terms of by whom or how notification takes place? If not, it is time to ask your web master or IT folks for help.
RULE: It is better NOT to solicit information from site visitors (regarding who they are and why they are visiting) than to capture a prospective customer’s info and have the inquiry ignored.
Speed / Responsiveness – Make sure all leads are responded to in a timely manner. This has to be an organizational expectation. In fact, it should be a mandate. The more quickly you respond, the more likely you will be to convert your leads into sales. As with all aspects relating to Lead Maximization Theory, we encourage you to move incrementally towards the final goal. In the specific case of lead follow-up, a solid goal is to eventually follow-up with each and every lead within a maximum of 30 minutes.
Always assume the prospect IS also shopping your competitors’ sites Always assume your competitors ARE following up with their Internet leads in a timely manner.
Thorough Follow-Up – Follow-up on the phone. If the prospect has submitted a phone number, they anticipate receiving a call-back. Auto-responders have their place, but quick-response follow-up phone calls increase sales conversion rates exponentially. If calling a prospect is not possible, a well-crafted, “personalized” email (that makes clear to the prospect that their inquiry has been read by and responded to by an actual human being) can be an effective fall-back. Nonetheless, email alone is NOT optimal. What you are looking to do is to establish a conversation with the prospect about what he/she is looking for. A timely phone call is a golden opportunity to increase market share. Nothing is more impressive to a prospect than receiving a phone call within minutes of an inquiry, is especially true if you are in a service industry. Think about what it conveys. Do you let prospective clients spend more than an hour in voicemail (“voicejail”)? Probably not. Do you let them wander around your place of business without offering to help them? Probably not.
Dedicated Lead Desk – Consider dedicating an inside resource to serve as “eBusiness Development Rep” or “eLead First-Responder” or “Lead Desk Manager.” All you need is a capable person who can follow-up quickly and write effectively. They can even work from home. Having a dedicated resource is far better than letting leads rot in someone’s inbox. So if your salespeople don’t want them, then the business should handle them and keep in mind the possibility of monetizing the effort by selling the leads back to the sales agent base. In our experience, it is almost always the case that businesses see the highest closing ratio when they dedicate one or two people to the task of lead-follow-up (lead-scrubbing).
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do I know where (to whom) all of our leads are being routed?
- Am I convinced we are following up with our leads in a timely and appropriate manner?
- Are all of our website inquiries responded to with auto-responders?
- Does each lead result in a personalized and timely email response from a human being?
- Do we follow up with leads via the phone when a phone number is provided in a lead?
- Do we have a dedicated eLead handler inside our outside the organization? If not, is there someone already familiar with our products and services who could be tasked with that responsibility?