If you look at the changes that the Internet has wrought in our world, one of the most obvious changes is the 24/7 availability of news and information. However, although many of us go online in the wee hours of the morning to search for the latest trends, we don't always translate that availability to our own jobs. The truth is that visitors to our websites want answers 24/7, and responses to their queries as fast as possible or they will move on to our competitors. While it is unreasonable for every company to have someone available 24 hours 7 days per week, most companies are missing out on over 50 percent of their leads because they do not respond quickly enough to online queries. Because of this problem, a whole industry has emerged called Lead Response Management to improve response times. Here are some of the ways that your team can improve your response times.
1. Measure Your Lead Response Time
A study by Steve Olenski published in Forbes, showed that the trust that inbound marketing is working to establish is lost when companies take too long to respond to online leads. The study showed that if companies respond to lead within the first five minutes, they are likely to contact the lead. If they wait more than 30 minutes the ability to reach the lead drops off significantly. Therefore, using a system that will alert you to new leads immediately will give you a much higher ROI than if you wait to respond until the next report. A Lead Response Management study showed that the average response time for online leads was 42 hours.
2. Assign a Quick Response Team
Assigning a person or team to respond immediately to all queries can help retain leads that would get lost if you waited. This person's job can be to make contact, get basic information, send out related information and assign the next contact to a sales person on a specific calendar date.
3. Understand the Customer's Point of View
B2B customers spend 60 percent of their time searching for information before they contact someone in sales. This fact means that it is important for you to understand where your customer is coming from, what they can find online on their own and if your sales process is meeting their needs. Take a walk in your customer's shoes to see if your team is providing what customers need before and after you contact them.
4. Meet Your Customer Where They are in the Sales Process
Research by InsideSales.com shows evidence that customers often will buy from the company that responds first. Customers that fill out a contact form are already on the path to buying. They are ready for the next step. If you can quickly determine what stage they are at, you will be more likely to get the sale because you are working on their timetable. If you make them wait to walk through your entire sales process on your timetable, they will get frustrated and may walk away.
5. Realize the Shelf Life of Online Leads
Think of online leads like fresh produce. Most fresh produce has a short shelf life. Unless you refrigerate or freeze it, produce deteriorates quickly. The same is true of online leads. Your best time to reach them is within the first 30 minutes of receiving the lead. After that time the lead deteriorates, becomes less qualified until it is no longer a qualified lead.