Imagine if you found out your business is throwing away 71% of its inbound marketing leads. Imagine if you found out that you wasted all that money with an online lead generation strategy and the leads weren't acted upon. How would you respond? Would you believe it, or would you convince yourself that this couldn't possibly happen to your business? Better yet, would you immediately assume your sales team was to blame or would you take the time to investigate the problem?
It's a natural reaction to recoil at that statistic. To think that almost three-quarters of your leads are wasted is a shock, but it does happen. In fact, it's far more prevalent than most businesses know. There are several factors at play here and it behooves you to investigate. Here are some reasons why speed of response wins in today's digital age and what you must do to make sure your speed is maintained.
Increase the Speed of Initial Responses
Implement a rule where every lead must be contacted within a reasonable time frame, be it 15, 30, 45 minutes or an hour. At the very least, make sure every lead is contacted within 24 hours. The longer it takes to respond, the less likely you'll win that business. Remember that your customer is actively looking for solutions. They've contacted your competition and the first to respond is the first to get a leg up. Getting there first, or better yet, answering first, is critical. Your response times matter.
Even if your sales team can't provide answers, it's best to contact the customer nonetheless. Thank them for their request and provide a reasonable time frame for a proposal. Answer any questions they may have. Take this opportunity to manage their expectations and always end the call with a follow-up email.
Implement Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) on Response Times
KPIs are used in sales and marketing to ensure that your business development team is always on track. You have KPIs that track online lead generation, the amount of sales generated by month, quarter and year, as well as other KPIs that track market share growth and revenue growth. Having KPIs that track response times on inbound leads just makes good business sense.
Contacting the customer immediately is what matters most. Your KPIs can easily track how quickly your sales team responds to incoming requests. The initial call with a follow-up email summarizing the discussion is how you define initial response time. You've fully serviced your customer's request once the proposal is forwarded. Develop a time for each and track how quickly your sales team can respond and service incoming requests.
Prioritize Your Leads
There are multiple reasons why leads die. Sometimes those leads were never truly qualified. Sometimes those leads died because the customer's project was canceled. Sometimes it's because your sales team is overwhelmed with inbound calls. Sometimes it's because marketing is focusing on the wrong digital strategies and generating plenty of traffic with little leads.
The best solution is to define the quality of your leads and prioritize them. It's important to know if it's a request for information, a request for status, or a real request for quote (RFQ). Understanding and prioritizing inbound leads is critical to understanding the quality of those leads and ensuring that the best leads are always acted upon. Come up with a tier system for grading the quality and urgency of the leads and you'll see your response times improve.
Segregating leads and prioritizing them will help you understand so much more about the quality of your leads and that will improve your speed of response. You'll know whether your online lead generation approach is targeting the right buyer personas, whether it's directing those prospects to the right landing pages and whether your offer is clear and concise. It's not just about reacting fast but reacting in the right way.