It’s impossible to deny that there have been considerable changes in the process of obtaining and access to the information in the 21st century.
The primary data carrier has become the Internet, which revolutionized our path to its acquisition.
The world has accelerated.
According to the Central Statistical Office, in 2018, 74% of Poles (28 million people) use the Internet in Poland.
We are continually bombarded with hundreds of messages and various kind of information every day. Our brains, however, are not adapted to process such large volume of data, so we try to filter messages, news, and notifications that reach us, whereas the giants of the digital industry deliberately focus on content personalization.
We often forget what we were doing online two days ago (remember this sentence - it will be crucial in the further part of the article).
On the other hand, the internet is making you lazier. Almost all the information we seek is available to us in an affordable "instant" form.
For example, after entering the word "digital marketing," Google finds 1 470,000,000 results in 0.40 s.
We are getting used to such a pace and expect the same in every segment of online life, including purchases or inquiries.
From the business point of view, no matter whether you run an online store, marketing agency or sell an innovative tool as a SaaS, the key to success is a quick response when the user requests additional information about your service, tool or product offer and saves by filling the contact form, sending an e-mail or call.
Lead Management comes with help here along with the LRT indicator - Lead Response Time, which helps you to optimize the sales process and increase the chance of sales by 10x.
However, let's start with the general concept of managing leads.
What is Lead Management?
Hundreds of articles and blog posts refer to the topic of lead generation.
The subject is often discussed and reproduced.
Marketers focus on the most expensive and the most demanding part of the customer's lifecycle, which is the lead acquisition, forgetting about an equally important stage of managing already acquired contacts.
Lead management is a process of managing leads, people who within your marketing ecosystem leave their data to obtain information about your service, product or in case of inbound marketing - downloading reports, e-books or other materials distributed by you.
The concept of lead management comes from multi-channel marketing activities. New contacts are added continuously to the database (CRM); this stage is called lead generation.
The next stage is the qualification of contacts, i.e., the assessment of the lead’s value in terms of sales.
This is a critical step in the whole process, because some of them are ready to buy a product, service or consultation, whereas some require further marketing and some never finalize the transaction.
Contacts, which gets evaluated as ready for sale (according to the methodology actively promoted by HubSpot) we define as SQL - Sales Qualified Leads in CallPage.
They are transferred directly to the sales department and are ready for contact from the salesmen.
Users who, according to our criteria, will not yet be interested in purchasing the goods we provide are MQL - Marketing Qualified Leads.
Working with such contacts looks completely different. It is essential to implement the Lead Nurturing process – i.e., the education of a potential client. Our task here is to communicate with the user, build a need in our product/service, and then transfer to the sales department.
The last most satisfying stage is contact from the merchant and closing the deal.
Where can errors appear?
The first, fundamental problem is the lack of a standard definition of SQL in the marketing and sales departments. Such a situation leads to inefficient sales process and frustration from both traders and marketers.
The solution, in this case, is to determine the qualifications of a user, who is ready to buy. For example, Marketing Manager, who runs a website with monthly traffic of more than 10,000 visits - because these criteria match your business model.
The definition must be refreshed once in a while.
The second major mistake is that contacts are usually transferred to the sales department too late or the sales department is late to contact the customer. This is the point where the Response Time comes in.
Lead Response Time is the average time it takes for a sales representative to follow-up with a lead that requested a contact. We are going to represent the main arguments why Lead Response Time is so important.
First of all, waiting or lack of contact irritate users.
As we mentioned previously, we live in an instant generation - we expect immediate information. A few years ago, in the US one flash mob took place, during which customers of restaurants who weren’t serviced for more than thirty minutes - posted a photo on Twitter, which presented the ketchup message "I waited 30 minutes, I was not served".
This situation can be transferred to the digital world in a 1: 1 ratio. If you complete the form on the website and you do not receive any response, you will be frustrated.
It is altogether a different case if the waiter informed you about the high occupancy due to the high quality of served meals and suggested something to drink.
Similarly, it is enough to notify potential customer with an automatic message after the contact form filled, which indicates when the contact is expected from our side.
The second reason why Lead Response Time is so important is that chance to close the deal decreases every minute.
The longer the response time is, the lower the chance to close the deal.
Because id you contact the lead immediately, you are both on the same page and you know what the customers were viewing at the moment.
Moreover, a potential client will remember you!
Let's go back to the sentence from the introduction, "We often forget what we were doing online two days ago."
In case we contact potential customer again in a few days after the contact request was submitted, there is a great chance he will not remember your company and what he was looking for last Wednesday.
Harvard Business Review
Harvard Business Review spent three years in the United States researching three thousand companies, which is quite a significant amount.
During the survey, sales activities of fifteen thousand different leads were studied.
The results of the study were the data regarding the best day for contacting leads, the best hour for conducting sales talks, but the real disclosure turned out to be a record regarding the impact of the response time on the sales opportunity.
Warning! Contact in the first five minutes after the lead has left the inquiry has a 10 times greater chance to sell. Yes, it's not a mistake, but just an outcome of studies of a top-notch business publishing company.
So here the question arises, how to get closer to those desired 5 minutes?
- The first step is pretending to be a mysterious client by setting up a fake account and trying to reach your company’s staff via all possible channels of contact (contact forms, Facebook, email, etc.).
I encourage you to set up a cyclical event in your calendar: "LRT," during which you will check what the average response time in your company is.
- Take care of the frequency of measuring this metric. Which tools are best to use to measure and control the Lead Response Time regularly?
The one is CRM, which most of us are already using. It is enough to add a supplementary metric based on 2-time slots (adding contacts to the system and first contact), and our statistics are ready.
Another way is to add LRT column in a report. It is a bit simpler but requires a more considerable amount of work in Excel.
- Notifications. At the moment when you receive an inquiry, your phone, company channel on Slack or Skype gets an automatic notification.
People responsible for sales can react immediately.
- A solution for smaller companies that are not able to handle all queries is callbacks that automate the process of the first contact.
There is also the "wow" effect because you contact a potential customer in a few seconds, not minutes or days :)
- Usage of information on Lead Response Time on your website. Inform your clients what the expected response time in contact forms, emails, (no need to do it in Messenger as Facebook takes care of it) is, and you will notice that the conversion rate on your pages will start to grow.
The topic of Lead Management and Lead Response Time is very broad.
If you want to learn more about it, about top practices and some useful tricks, once again, I invite you to a free online training!