7 Steps to Converting Leads (Part 1)
1. Speed Wins
The longer a lead sits, the colder it becomes, which means the speed of your response is key. Automated email responses and voice messages are great tools that allow you to instantly acknowledge an inquiry’s interest and provide them with the information they requested.
What is effective response time to inquiries?
• Phone — calls should be placed within minutes of receiving a lead, and no later than 24 hours
• Email — automatic email responders should be sent within minutes of receiving a lead
Pay attention to your support infrastructure
Equal in importance to the aggressive sales tactics used interpersonally by sales agents, your business must have the proper infrastructure in place to service your generated leads. Preventable mistakes are often made when businesses launch a new product or service without a proper structure and sales process in place to service the leads purchased through their marketing strategy.
2. Know Your Priorities
Taking time to understand and differentiate your leads can often mean the difference between major success and none at all. If your business has limited resources to service your leads, it is essential that you prioritize which leads get first attention. TARGUSinfo (a leading provider of On-Demand Insight for lead conversion) suggests that a successful lead conversion strategy is to prioritize, validate, and score your leads into three tiers:
• Tier 1 — Leads that are ready to buy now and will take very little post-lead follow-up to close These leads will most likely buy with your company regardless of how little or much effort is made on your part.
• Tier 2 —Leads that may plan to buy in the next 30-90 days
With this category of leads, your company must be better than your competitor in the post-lead conversion process in order to close.
• Tier 3 — Leads that might buy within the next 90-180 days
These leads must be evaluated carefully to determine whether they are worth your investment of money and valuable time when it is likely that they will never convert.
Breakdown of expected time and financial investment for each tier:
• Tier 1 — 10%
• Tier 2 — 80%
• Tier 3 — 10%
Prioritizing your leads is an ongoing task —data must be looked at continually as you evaluate changes in your customer demographics. Many companies do not possess the expertise or even the mindset needed to properly analyze and utilize critical incoming data. An internal data management team is key to achieving and continuing success.
The data management team serves as co-pilot to the management team and allows your company to organize, analyze, and effectively pull data with quick and effective turnaround —a crucial ability when important decisions must be made on the fly. A major factor that determines an organization’s future success is the ability to make decisions based upon on solid data — rather than a theory or gut feeling — and a data management team can provide that.
3. Create a Sense of Urgency at All Stages of the Sales Cycle
During inquiry stages (and throughout each subsequent stage in the sales cycle) it is imperative to provide prospective customers with a solid reason to act immediately, whether through deadlines or enticement through special offers.
Depending upon on your industry, multiple steps may be necessary to complete a sale. Driven by the sales agent, each step should create a sense of urgency to force the potential buyer off of the fence toward a commitment to buy.
Underestimating the important sales role played by agents in the decision making process of a customer, many businesses make the mistake of using customer service/customer order representatives to also field inquiry calls. The buyer’s mindset, short sales cycle, variance in audience, and the aggressiveness of your industry mandate the importance of having a separate online sales team rather than cutting corners and combining sales with customer service.
Steps 4-7 will be posted in 5 days, come back to see how else to effectively convert your leads.