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Archive for April, 2011

Four Links in the Chain of Speed to Contact

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Buying leads from online lead providers is a great way to get leads. When you are using lead management software, it is possible to get a lead on the phone within a minute of their submission of an online inquiry. In order to get your speed to contact down to one minute though, you need to be using a lead management software provider that is integrated with the lead source and can receive leads by having them posted directly to the system. If you are distributing leads by email, you are pretty much out of the game in terms of speed to contact. In terms of getting the quickest possible speed to contact, it also helps to use a solution that has an integrated lead dialer. In order to be the first person on the phone with the lead, every link in the chain has to be faster than the competition. The links in the lead contact chain are as follows.

A prospect submits an inquiry on a lead provider website

At this stage, the lead data passes from the lead to the lead provider.

When this event occurs, the lead provider has to be able to handle this inquiry instantly. The best providers of lead management software are partnered with the lead providers who handle their inquiries with the greatest efficiency. Lots of companies generate leads, but only those who handle the inquiries best are recommended by a good lead management software provider.

The lead provider posts the lead data to the lead management system

At this stage, the lead data passes from the lead provider to the lead management system.

When this occurs, the leads must be received by the lead management system in real time, using http/xml posts. When the first two links in this chain are set up to work as described above, the lead can go from the lead provider to the lead management system in seconds.

The lead management system distributes lead to a user

At this stage, the lead data in the lead management system is passed to a sales rep.

Once the lead is posted to the lead management system, there must be rules in place that govern lead distribution. The lead management system must be able to determine who is able to take a lead, as well as which types of leads are best matched with which sales reps. When you are using a lead management system, this intelligent lead distribution occurs within seconds.

The first three links in the chain of speed to contact will get the lead data from the lead to a sales rep in under a minute. But without the final link in the chain, there is really no guarantee that the sales rep will call the lead as soon as the lead is received.

The lead management system automatically initiates a call between lead and user

This final link in the speed to contact chain is the one that makes some lead management solutions better than others. With an integrated lead dialer it’s possible to remove all doubt that the lead will be called immediately upon entering the system. By using a distribution method known as Shotgun Connect, it is possible to make all of your sales reps phones ring when a new leads come in, and those reps who are able to pick up the phone win the leads and are connected to lead immediately.

With these four links in the speed to contact chain in place, online inquiries from prospects can be turned into phone calls automatically. With this chain intact, when the lead clicks the submit button, they’re effectively calling the phone number of the sales rep on your staff who is most likely to be able to close them.

Recording Sales Calls

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Recording sales calls can lead to some valuable insights. When recording sales calls, a sales manager or business owner can learn a lot about what his sales team is doing. The data and the recordings paint a pretty clear picture about the behavior sales reps. Using a lead management system with an integrated lead dialer will enable you to record all the call made to prospects from sales reps.

Access to this data is what helps companies develop best practices. When you know for instance that six call attempts is the ideal number, you can adjust your sales strategy accordingly. Not only does it help you adjust your sales strategy as you start to see elements of your winning formula come into focus, but it becomes clear who isn’t working leads in a way that. Capturing data in easy to read reports helps everyone’s performance improve.

That’s just the data, though. With call recording, it’s possible to get a look at what makes successful sellers so successful. Listening to recorded sales calls has many benefits. It can help you make sure that your brand is being represented appropriately; it can help you develop sales scripts when you discover language and sales approaches that are working. It provides a window into what works.

Seeing what works is the first step in creating a repeatable and enforceable sales process that leads to the highest possible ROI. There is a lot to learn from both successes and failures. A lead management solution with an integrated dialer will help make sense of all of the data that is generated by your sales team.

But Don’t Take Our Word For It

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Week after week, this blog seeks to address challenges facing B2C sales teams and sales managers. More often than not the solutions to these challenges are found in some aspect of lead management software. The strengths of lead management software include how to contact leads more quickly; how to segment leads into campaigns to track the effectiveness of marketing efforts; how to automate lead prioritization and lead follow-up so every lead is contacted quickly and consistently; the benefits of partnering with a Software as a Service provider, etc.

Usually the point of these posts is to describe how certain product features address specific sales challenges and how sales teams can benefit from the plug and play best practices around which lead management software is built.  Normally posts on this blog go into detail about how lead management software can help you close more deals.

But in this article, hear from people who are users of lead management software and are experiencing the results.

Blown Away

Production up 300%

Keeps Agents on Task

Helped Me Evaluate My Marketing Strategy

Peace of Mind for the Business Owner

One Year Later: Success Quantified!

Pull Distribution Rocks! Look at Our Qualification Rate

Now I Know Which Lead Providers Are Good

Increased Close Ratio

Incredible ROI Thanks to Leads360

Read the full list of testimonials here

Lead management software is the single best suite of tools for contacting leads quickly and nurturing them until they close.

More Time Spent Selling Means More Sales

Friday, April 8th, 2011

An important part of helping sales reps, agents, or enrollment counselors be as productive as they can is reducing clutter. The most helpful sales managers or small business owners simplify the steps his reps have to take to get selling. Conversely, managers and owners who bog down their reps with busy work do so at the expense of their teams performance and ultimately the company’s bottom line.

Every job has administrative tedium associated with it. Sales is no exception. Leads cost money to generate or buy, and reps have to account for how they are working with this resource. It is necessary step to keep reps honest and enforce company policies. One challenge however is how to deal with the fact that this type of work increases proportionately with the amount of leads a sales rep is charged with working.

Technology has made it easier to move ever greater numbers of leads through a sales reps funnel. This has been a boon for many companies. But the higher number of leads has resulted in ever greater amounts of administrative work for sales reps. At a certain point a tipping point is reached where even the most effective sales reps begin to be slowed by the administrative burden.

There’s a great quote that the true test of a person’s calling is the love of its drudgery. No one loves drudgery, but in the service of doing work that a person really loves, it can be borne, even enjoyed. It’s a nice idea, and it may even be true, but it was uttered in a time before lead management software.  The simple fact is that lead management software eliminates a majority of the administrative drudgery that must be tackled by a sales rep.

Here’s a brief and incomplete list of administrative tasks that are mitigated by lead management software.

  • Logging activity on a lead – Emails, phone calls, reminders, notes of any kind are logged automatically. They are accessible from within the lead form and in reports
  • Deciding which lead to contact next – Lead prioritization based on proven best practices puts the lead most in need of contact at the top of your list
  • Always looking for new leads – When a new lead becomes available, an intelligent dialer rings the phones of all available agents, so a new leads get a guaranteed, immediate phone response
  • Sending Follow-up emails after a message is left or a contact is made – Automatic email campaigns trigger emails based on where a lead is in the sales cycle
  • Keying phone numbers into the phone – An integrated lead dialer makes it possible to connect with leads on the phone with the click of a button
  • Lead source ROI reporting – Simple reports display real time data on the return are you getting from each of your marketing campaigns

This is an incomplete list, but it is intended to get you thinking about how your sales team could function if they could focus purely on sales. That is the express mission of lead management software, to remove barriers between reps and leads; to help them connect more quickly and stay in contact until a deal closes. When reps don’t have to waste time on administrative work, they are able to focus on sales. And more time spent selling means more sales.

Happy Customers

Monday, April 4th, 2011

A lot of the writing about lead management focuses on how it helps companies by giving them the tools to close more deals. But a closed deal doesn’t isn’t only a win for a sales rep and the company that employs him. A closed deal is also a win for the consumer. Too often the successful close is framed in terms of it being a positive experience it is for the sales rep, the sales manager, the business owner. But a close means that a customer’s needs were met. A close means the customer had a positive experience. And positive customer experiences don’t just mean revenue; they strengthen your brand, they lead to word of mouth advertising. Consumers may not experience lead management software directly, but they feel it’s effects. And the effects are positive.

To wit, let’s contrast the following two scenarios. Both scenarios begin with a prospect filling out a web form asking for more information, for a quote, or to be contacted by a sales rep.

For the company 1, using lead management software, this inquiry is received and assigned to the rep correctly licensed and most experienced to deal with the prospect. The inquiry reaches the desk of a sales rep less than a minute after the consumer clicks submit. And if the lead management software has an integrated lead dialer, the sales reps phone rings and connects him to the lead. Lead management software effectively turns a web inquiry into a phone call. The consumer is contacted by a rep within a minute and they can discuss whatever deal is going to be made.

For company 2, not using lead management software, the inquiry is received some time later. If the leads are received by email, and distributed by a very responsive sales manager, the best case scenario is probably ten or fifteen minutes. If the sales manager is at lunch, or backlogged with some other work, the time just goes up from there. So when the sales rep receives this “New” lead, he gives her  a call, thinking that this is a fresh start with a new opportunity. He calls and gets a voicemail. He leaves a message but never gets a call back. The consumer hears the voicemail, receives an email but is already dealing with another company. She thinks the rep will just give up if she never responds, so she doesn’t. The rep continues leaving messages and sending emails until he finally concludes this lead isn’t going anywhere.

So if you’re not getting through to new leads, it’s probably because someone else already has. Think about that next time you’re leaving a voicemail.