There was a worrying article on the online business resource Forbes last week, entitled “Why Companies Waste 71% of Internet Leads”.
The full article is here and the main stats from their 5-year study of over 10,000 businesses are:
- Average lead response time is 46 hours and 53 minutes
- Sales reps give up after 1.3 call attempts
- Just 27% of leads are ever contacted
These findings are astounding. We know how competitive and expensive it can be in some markets to generate sales enquiries. If the average business is treating their prospective customers in this way, many will soon find themselves in a precarious position.
The article examines how the implementation of new processes and technologies can potentially improve results by up to 341%. We would like to add some of our own thoughts on additional methods of making the most of your internet leads...
1. Auto respond
Consider putting an auto-responder in place, which will send an email to individuals who have completed an online enquiry form. Something along the lines of: “Thanks for your enquiry; we will be in touch shortly. If in the meantime you have any questions then please call...” This will help to keep the prospect warm. The message can also include details about latest offers, company news, a link to your FAQ page, etc. to better inform the individual about your offering and prompt them to take certain actions. Auto-responders can also be set up that periodically send through information, such as a weekly bulletin or a monthly newsletter, until the prospect is ready to buy.
2. Use your Analytics data
In Google Analytics (and many other website data systems) you can track enquiries by setting up Goals, and if you are a PPC advertiser then you can put Conversion Code in place. This data can tell you which keywords and adverts lead to a sale, as well as the pages that an enquirer visited on your website. If you look in the Network sub-section within the Technology section of the Audience tab, you can see the IP addresses of visitors. Combining all of this data will give you knowledge on the information your enquirer was searching for and the page that prompted their enquiry, allowing you to make a more informed sales call.
3. Nurture your leads
If you provide professional services or sell to businesses, it is highly likely that enquirers are not ready to buy straight away. It is important a system is put in place to keep these parties interested while they consider their purchase. Develop some ‘keep in touch’ campaigns that allow you to communicate regularly with enquirers and help you direct them further down the sales path. Such campaigns can include emails, telephone calls and physical items like newsletters, postcards, letters and brochures, which include a mixture of sales offers, industry news and company information. The most important thing is to keep your offering in the forefront of their minds.
4. Use your social assets
Get closer to your prospects by following them on social sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Here you can learn about their interests and the way they like to work, helping you to develop your relationship. Taking the time to involve yourself in the occasional conversation, the odd re-tweet of one of their messages and interacting in the groups they favour, as this will show you care. This could make all the difference in whether they sign up with you or a competitor. Be careful not to overdo it though, as there can be a fine line between helpful supporter and internet stalker.
5. Use a sales database
CRM (customer relationship management) software allows you to keep on top of enquiries. Building up a database of all sales leads, grouping them up by industry or interest, assigning tasks to each one, tracking progress and much more can be easily achieved in one of the many CRM packages available. With CRM systems available for free and even those that are very popular costing just a few pounds a month, you have no excuse to continue organising your sales activity on Post-It notes and print-outs. This is especially important if you have a team of sales professionals, as the reporting can tell you who is looking after their leads and where improvements need to be made.