Companies are spending nearly 100% more money on digital lead generation than they did 10 years ago while losing over 50% of this potential revenue in the process. Think about it. Think of all the time and money you spend on digital marketing (SEO, blogging, social media, etc.) and how much of that money goes to waste because of leads not converting into sales revenue. One major factor most companies are not converting leads is the lack of immediate response.
I recently read an excellent blog post by HubSpot that talked about the Lead Response Management Study conducted by Dr. James Oldroyd that found the chances of leads contacted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes had a 21 times greater chance of qualifying and entering into the sales process. As a culture, we’ve come to expect this sort of immediacy. When we don’t get what we need immediately we naturally start looking elsewhere. So just because someone fills out a lead form on your website doesn’t mean that they aren’t contacting your competitors or even have already made a decision.
The importance of lead response times is not a new idea. The problem is that most companies get this idea, but don’t implement a system, process and measurement techniques to optimize their efficiency and effectiveness in responding to leads. The answer to systematically improve response times (in under 5 minutes) is to develop a Lead Optimization System (LOS).
Let’s dive in…
Step 1: Determine the right platform(s) to automate lead follow up
Factors to consider
- Do web forms integrate with systems that manage leads (e.g. your sales CRM, email autoresponder, etc.)?
- Are you utilizing software that helps you to deliver lead contact information to sales rep faster (e.g. a Zapier integration, etc.)?
- Are you utilizing software that automates instant follow up (e.g. website callback software)?
- Do you have a dedicated person (e.g. inside sales) to follow up with incoming leads?
- How many different points of contact are you making on the initial attempt to follow up with a lead?
Step 2: Implement an automated process to follow up with leads
Factors to consider
- Who is the first person responsible for following up on leads?
- What methods are you using to respond to leads (e.g. by phone, email, text message, social media, etc.)?
- Is your sales CRM system setup to automatically assign new leads to the appropriate sales reps?
- Do you have systems of accountability specifically for inbound leads?
- Is there a documented set of procedures in place for your sales staff to follow?
Step 3: Systematically measure lead conversion timeframes and lead follow through
Factors to consider
- Do you have call tracking setup with your phone provider so you can see how fast sales reps (or inside sales person) is following up from web forms and voicemails?
- Does your call tracking system integrate with company reporting mechanisms?
- Have you considered adding a real-time business dashboard to track lead response times (both on an individual basis and cumulatively)?
- Does your sales CRM have a way of tracking follow through attempts with each inbound lead?
- Are you adding lead response times and follow through metrics to your performance evaluations?
These are critical points to help you determine factors that are leading your company to be inefficient at following up with leads. Remember, a super timely follow up (within 5 minutes) is one of the first impressions that potential clients are going to have with your brand. It’s part of the ultimate differentiating factor in your business: CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.
This is your time to impress and get people talking about you from day one (in person and on social media). You want them saying “Wow, I can’t believe how fast they responded to my inquiry” to all of their friends and colleagues. You want them to share their experience on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Simple concept, but goes a long way.
The key take-away from all of this is not to look at lead response times just as a good concept, but to actually implement platforms, processes and measurements that decrease opportunity costs and increase revenue significantly. Just because you have “great people” doesn’t mean you will have “great response times”. Remember, we are all human. Things come up. We get busy. Take away the human factors that keep your business from delivering an unforgettable experience for your customers from day one, or should I say from minute one.
Contact us today to discuss implementing a Lead Optimization System (LOS) for your organization.