Category: Lead Response
Don’t Invest in Marketing and Then Squander it in Weak or Nonexistent Lead Response Protocols
Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, an omnichannel 24/7 customer support company, has made it his business to understand the art of lead response. He knows what to do and what not to do, techniques his staff puts into practice each day for their lead response service clients.
“While most businesses do much better today than they did five or ten years ago, today’s buyers also expect more,” says Berkson. “Though businesses have made great progress in optimizing their lead response protocols, they still need to make more improvements.” Recent research from MarketingShepra confirms this reality with the following stats. Consider these key areas:
Six out of ten (61 percent) of business-to-business (B2B) marketers send all their new leads directly to their sales team. “With no lead verification or lead qualification, this is a mere handoff of raw data,” says Berkson. “When no quality efforts have been made, it’s no wonder salespeople fail to get excited about receiving leads.”
Slightly over half (just 56 percent) of B2B organizations take the time to verify the validity of prospect information before passing leads on to sales. Employees switch positions, leave companies, move, change email addresses, and end up with different phone numbers. Contact information can change rapidly, even overnight. “Lead verification authenticates this information, making the sales job more effective and producing more sales in less time,” explains Anthony Vesho, chief operating officer at TeleServices Direct, a worldwide provider of outsource call center services. It makes sense for verification specialists to handle this critical task, which they can handle quickly and accurately.
While lead verification is a critical first step, it’s also essential to qualify the prospects. Of the B2B leads passed on to sales, only about one fourth (27 percent) of them will be qualified. “Not all sales leads are equal,” says Berkson. “Some are simply not worth pursuing—because they haven’t been qualified.” He lists four criteria to consider.
- Does the prospect have the authority to make a purchasing decision? “There’s no point selling to someone who can’t buy,” says Berkson. The one exception is an assistant gathering information for a decision maker. Still, be careful to not waste time.
- Is there the budget to make the purchase? “If you’re not careful,” adds Berkson, “you end up making a pitch now, to end up in next year’s budget, for a possible purchase in eighteen months. And by then either the buyer or the salesperson has moved on.”
- Is this a need or a want? Needs take priority, while wants are little more than wishful thinking. Make sure the prospect needs the product or service before investing a great deal of time, effort, and money to sell it.
- What is the timeframe? Check to see if the buyer wants to act now, this quarter, this year, or sometime beyond that. If they are too future focused, the smart approach may be to move them into a lead nurturing strategy.
Unfortunately only a small fraction (2 percent) of B2B marketers have any sort of a lead nurturing process. “For prospects who aren’t primed to buy in the near future, you need to groom them so that when the time is right, they’ll buy from you,” concludes Berkson. “That’s what an informed lead response protocol is all about.”
LiveVoice understands how important every call is to your business. Contact them about customizing their flexible, premium phone support service so you can turn opportunity into profit.
Peter DeHaan, PhD, is a freelance writer, call center authority, and publisher of Connections Magazine, which covers the call center industry.