Following up Quality Leads is central to Sales. Persist, or you leave money on the table. Let’s start off with some basic numbers on the power of follow-up in terms of sales effectiveness.
Did you know that most sales are actually made not at the first, second or third contact, but somewhere between the 5th and the 12th contact a consumer has with your company?
Getting facts straight, only 2% of your overall conversions actually take place after contacting a consumer for the first time. This number slowly grows to 10% by the 4th contact point, but serious business and serious sales are made after these contact points.
For the small or medium-sized business (SMB), every inbound sales lead has the potential to become not only a customer, but also to transform itself into a satisfied customer that represents a dependable stream of repeat revenue year after year.
The primary obstacle that stands between an SMB and converting a sales lead into a repeat customer is the task of lead follow-up. On the surface, lead follow-up would appear to be quite straightforward, but this simple concept is fraught with difficulties for most companies. Industry research on sales estimates that 40-50% of all inbound sales leads are never followed up. And when the leads are followed up, common mistakes are made that unwittingly doom the SMB to lose the opportunity to convert that lead into a customer.
Comprehensive and effective sales lead follow-up is a simple concept that every SMB can take to build their prospect pipelines and grow sales without increasing headcount. Following these three point should and will increase your conversion rate.
1. Follow Up With 100% of Leads
Every lead that is generated for you is like a lottery ticket. When you receive it, you wouldn’t wait for a few days or weeks to scratch off the UV ink of the first box to see if you’ve won. You scratch right away, and if the first box doesn’t win, you keep scratching until you’ve seen all possible boxes, and collected your prize.
What this means is that you shouldn’t wait to see if your potential winning customer qualifies for conversion. You check right away. And if the first touch point doesn’t convert, you keep on touching up and retargeting the customer until he or she converts – or doesn’t. Either way, don’t wait, and don’t give up. Every quality lead could turn in to a paying and loyal customer.
2. Be Speedy
How much time should it take to follow up with a lead? Less than you think. According to the Harvard Business Review, companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving queries are nearly 7 times as likely to have meaningful conversations with key decision makers as firms that try to contact prospects even an hour later.
Every minute that passes by while you wait to follow up with a lead is time that a competitor will use to swoop in and talk to the prospect before you. If they respond to the customer with the answers to their questions first, then you are suddenly fighting for 2nd place.
With direct delivery of hot leads via API you can streamline your sales processes to capture a qualified prospect right on the spot, and not let him or her cool down. That’s not what you’ve paid for, and that’s not what your company pays you to do.
3. Measure, Improve, and Measure Again
You must continually work to improve your sales lead follow-up process. As the old saying goes, "you can't improve what you don't measure." So keep it simple to start with, and measure the following:
> How many sales leads do you receive each week?
> How long does it take to respond to each sales lead? (the time between when the lead is received until a sales person talks to them for the first time)
> What percentage of leads is converted into qualified prospects?
> What percentage of leads is converted into customers?
Set goals for these metrics, and then check each month to see if you are achieving them. If you are, set more aggressive goals and fine-tune each element of your lead follow-up process to achieve those new goals. If you aren't meeting your goals, examine each element of your process in detail, and implement steps you can take to improve those elements. Then check your performance again in a month.
At Kobi Digital, we see real differences in conversion rates between clients who do and do not follow up timely and thoroughly. It matters, and you should care.