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Slow Response to Lead Inquiries Hurts Sales

20 May 2021

The lead response time is the amount of time it takes for a company to respond to an inbound lead. A fast-acting process will interact with leads that are exhibiting buying signals and ready to be qualified.

 

The damaging effects of failing to make quick contact with inbound leads when they show interest in your product?

 

  • Leads get cold
  • Leads become busy and focus on other projects
  • Or worse, leads buy from your competition

 

Slow response times are costing your business revenue.

 

Rapid Response is The Key to Success

 

Research has determined that the optimal lead response is within 5 minutes. How optimal? You’re 100 x more likely to make contact with a lead within 5 minutes than 30 minutes. A lead contacted within 5 minutes qualified at 21 x the rate of those contacted within 30 minutes. Those numbers are staggering.

 

The positive effect of making contact with a lead within the first 5 minutes has a profound impact on your business.

 

  • It increases your ROI on marketing spend exponentially. Inbound leads are expensive and capitalizing on every dollar spent is crucial.
  • Rapid response shortens the sales cycle by capturing leads when they’re ready to buy. Shortening the sales cycle improves your sales team’s productivity.

 

How Do You Adopt a Rapid Response Strategy?

 

Rapid response with an automated email is an important first step that many companies still do not use. The email provides a degree of certainty in that the prospect knows that their inquiry was received. Ideally the email should also tell them what to expect and by when. The more specific you can be the better.

 

“Someone will contact you soon” is not specific enough. “A customer service representative will contact you in the next hour” is much better.

 

While an automated email is a good first step, it fails to elicit the significant impact noted above. Why? It’s not genuinely engaging and often not specific enough. You need to provide value in your response.

 

The optimal way to adopt a rapid response strategy is to use sales development representatives (SDRs) and install chat/call software on your website. This interactive software is part of a new marketing trend; conversational marketing.

 

How to Utilize Conversational Marketing

 

Stop making your prospects fill out lead capture forms. Studies show that only 5% of qualified leads will ever fill out a form. Start having conversations in real-time over chat, voice, and screen sharing, right on your website.

 

The easiest way to implement this is by using a chatbot to qualify leads and then route them directly to SDRs. They can conduct discovery right on the website via chat or call.

 

Follow these rules to ensure your conversational marketing flow is running optimally:

 

  1. Rapid response to inbound chat. Once a lead has qualified the chatbot, an SDR needs to react immediately. Time is of the essence. To ensure the interaction is contextually relevant, create routing rules that work with your SDR structure.
  2. Proactively start conversations with qualified leads. 85% of visitors won’t engage with live chat, but you can still contact them with outbound contact. Do this best by delivering hyper-personalized greetings to known visitors.
  3. Maximize the quality of the conversation. Follow your standard selling process by personalizing the conversation, asking key questions, and upgrading to a phone call.
  4. Always lock in the next step. Whenever possible, get your next meeting on the calendar so the deal can progress forward. Employ a meeting booker within your chat so the lead can quickly choose a time that works for them.

 

How to Motivate Your Team to Adopt The New Model

 

Introducing a new model is intimidating for any sales team. It’s essential to explain the conversational marketing model in great detail. Emphasize the potential to hit and exceed their targets. Talk about the impact on their pipeline and remind them that this is the best experience for the customer.

 

Put a reward system in place for the SDRs that use the conversational marketing model. Give credit or bonuses to the top-performing SDRs who

 

  • Respond first to inbound chats or phone calls,
  • Have the most conversations or generate the highest amount of leads via conversational marketing,
  • Book same-day meetings through the chat.

 

The conversational marketing model is so successful that the results quickly motivate the slow adopters to change or risk being left behind.

 

Ongoing Strategies For Success

 

Conversational marketing is not a plug-and-play model; it does require fine-tuning based on the needs of your customers and your sales team.

 

  • Use successful scripts. Share data across the team about what works and what doesn’t. But also, don’t forget to test new scripts continuously.
  • Manage alerts. Don’t bombard your leads or SDRs with popups and notifications. Gently coerce your leads to engage with the marketing and allow your SDRs to customize their inbound noises.
  • Grant access to account executives or specialists. If a qualified lead asks questions best served by a more senior member of the sales team, ensure that SDRs can pass the conversation along in real-time.
  • Maintain communication. Educate your SDRs as your marketing team launches new campaigns and website experiences.
  • Offer feedback and coaching. Offer tips around timing, messaging, and personalization. Feedback is critical as you introduce new SDRs to the platform.

 

Remember, above all else, the faster you respond, the more likely you are to make a sale. 

 

Conversational marketing instantly connects you to your hottest website visitors and helps you qualify them immediately. Adopting conversational marketing makes your inbound sales process faster, increases productivity, grows your pipeline and generates more revenue.

 

Conversational marketing may be too big of a step for many companies. The important thing to remember is the need to respond faster to inquiries. The longer it takes you to respond, the odds of you turning this into a sale increases dramatically.

 

You may even want to consider dialing back your lead generation efforts to match your ability to respond sooner.