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Archive for December, 2011

Inspiration from our sales team to yours

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

December 29, 2020 — Motivation and inspiration for selling can come from many places. To give you some fresh material for the “inspirational” section of your sales portal or even better, your Leads360 homepage message (hint, hint :-)), we conducted a poll of our sales team asking them for motivational sayings, quotes, movie lines, or whatever else they could think of that might inspire them. So from our sales team to yours – happy New Year and happy selling in 2012!!!

  • “We’re adding a little something to this month’s sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired.” -Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
  • “Chance favors the prepared mind.” – Louis Pasteur
  • “Whether You Think You Can or Can’t, You’re Right”-Henry Ford
  • “What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” - Wayne Gretzky
  • “Big team little me.” – author unknown
  • “Forecheck, Backcheck, Paycheck!” - Gil Perreault
  • “Patience; this is the greatest business asset. Wait for the right time to make your moves.” – J. Paul Getty
  • “Only one thing counts in this world: get them to sign on the line which is dotted.” -Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
  • “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • “Show me the money” - Jerry Maguire
  • “Sell, sell, sell, my kids need money for college.” - David Villarama
  • “The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.” - Steven Wright
  • “Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.” - James Baldwin
  • “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein
  • “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense” – Matt Wolcott @Leads360!
  • “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” — Author Unknown
  • “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”- William Jennings Bryan
  • “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

Lead Management: Marketing vs. Sales

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

December 21, 2020 — Managing leads is a multistage process. While the concept of managing leads has been around for a while, there is still some disagreement about what lead management is. For example, you could read one article about lead management that is written entirely from a marketing perspective. From the marketing perspective, lead management looks a lot more like demand generation and marketing automation. Marketers who are interested in lead management will look for different features than a Sales Manger would look for.

So it is useful to draw a distinction between marketing lead management and sales lead management. Lead management from a marketing perspective may very well involve generating the leads. Or it may involve buying them. In any case, Marketing has its own area of responsibility around leads that has very little in common with how Sales is responsible for leads.

A Google search for “Lead Management” may return Marketing Automation and Demand Generation solutions that have features for Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Email Marketing, Lead Scoring, more. These solutions are designed to help marketing teams generate and score leads. But also returned by a “Lead Management” Google search will be Sales Lead Management solutions. These solutions will have features like Lead Dialers, Lead Distribution, Lead Prioritization, and more. These features help sales teams contact, qualify, and close more leads.

When looking for business software, it is important to be crystal clear on which part of the process you seek to improve. Not every solution that calls itself Lead Management solves the same problem. If the problem you are trying to solve is that you do not have enough leads, and your marketing efforts are not panning out, then a marketing automation and demand generation solution may be right for you. But if your issue is not a lack of leads, but too few of them are being converted by your sales team, than a sales lead management solution like Leads360 is the solution for you.

Nothing beats a first impression

Friday, December 16th, 2011

December 16, 2020 – I was talking to one of our customers in the mortgage industry this week who reminded me just how important the first touch point with a customer is.

She highlighted the turmoil in the mortgage industry the past few years, essentially undergoing one of the largest regulatory over-hauls in 40 years since the labor and wage turmoil. Large lenders are now subject to laws, rules and regulations in all the states they do business. This of course creates complexity for the lender but also for the consumer, with increasing stacks of paperwork required for submitting a loan.

Amidst this heavily regulated climate, exemplary customer service is critical, the end goal being to create a lender-for-life relationship, and it all starts with that first touch point.

If a customer is on hold for 10 minutes or pressing buttons to try to get on the line with a loan officer, the experience could lead to an abandoned call. Or if the call connects a customer looking for a Veteran Loan with a loan officer lacking product expertise, again the customer may lose confidence in doing business with your organization.

In any consumer industry, achieving call-back times of less than one minute and connecting incoming calls to the right customer service rep quickly is easier said than done, and requires sophisticated business rules and automation to help take the guess work out of the equation.

Leads360 and Dial-IQ intelligently routes calls based on attributes assigned to the customer service agent and the incoming lead to make sure when a customer is contacted by a loan officer it’s a good match. Leads360 and Dial-IQ together offer an intelligent way to handle leads with sophisticated skill-based routing, lead prioritization, lead nurturing, scripting and more built right into the system. To learn more visit www.leads360.com.

Sales Messaging and Cross-Channel Communication

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

December 8, 2020 — How do sales organizations get their message out to prospects? There are a lot of ways to get the message out these days. Clearly, the best way to reach a prospect is on the phone. That’s where the real work of understanding a prospects needs begins. The first phone call is where the real conversation starts and all of the other ways we communicate with prospects are really just ways to add value and build trust so the prospect will want to get on the phone. These other ways of communicating include Twitter, Facebook, email, SMS, direct mail, and more.

Sending emails has the benefit of keeping your name in front of prospects. But increasingly, emails that seek to do nothing more than maintain brand visibility are having the opposite effect in the prospects inbox. Indiscriminant email blasts that offer no valuable information are rightly viewed by prospects as spam. Marketing emails must be sent at strategic intervals and contain useful information.

The same is true of SMS messages. Since marketing SMS messages are less common than marketing emails they are more likely to be read.  But they are also more likely to be seen as an intrusion, so it is even more critical that they contain something useful. And at 160 characters, that can be a challenge.

But the real challenge is to coordinate all of your attempts to reach a prospect into a single strategy that is based on proven best practices. Emails and text messages need to be sent at strategic intervals. Phone contact attempts and voicemails need to be executed at a schedule in accordance with proven best practices. Using a lead management solution it is possible to weave all of your communication attempts into a single contact program. And the best part is that all emails and SMS messages are sent automatically. Prioritization of calls is also done automatically and can be configured to work in conjunction with the emails and SMS messages.

Leads are automatically prioritized to the top of the call list when they are due for a call. Lead logs give the sales reps a heads up that an email or SMS has been recently sent and user scripts can reference specific content in the emails. This cross-channel communication approach enables sales reps to convey to prospects that they are being contacted by someone who is paying attention to their individual case. Not being spammed and randomly receiving phone calls.

HARP 2.0 Provides Opportunity for Lenders to Demonstrate Value

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

December 8, 2020 — Building trust as a go-to lender for all a customer’s finance needs is of utmost importance in the mortgage and banking industry. What is more, buyers today proactively educate themselves on what is available to them, so if a seller is not visible to them during these critical decision making moments they risk losing existing and new customers. One of the most effective ways our more successful clients build trust is by providing timely news and information on laws passed, current interest rates, or any bit of information to demonstrate they have their customer’s best interest in mind.

The expanded Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP 2.0) is a powerful opportunity for lenders to demonstrate their value and build or earn customer trust. With a well managed marketing, nurture campaign, lenders can attract and retain customers.

Fool-Proof Your HARP 2.0 Sales Effort
Qualify and focus on the right opportunities: Start with the first critical phase of sales, quickly identify, qualify and focus on the right opportunities. This might include mining your Loan Origination Software for existing customers that may qualify for refinance under HARP 2.0, you’ll also want to mine your Leads360 database for aged leads that may not have qualified before but are eligible under HARP 2.0.

Stay top of mind: With a potential three plus months between December 1st and when lenders will begin processing HARP 2.0 applications, it is important to stay top-of-mind. Lenders will need to capture, track and nurture a large number of direct mail leads, web leads and sourced leads, with fool proof automation. With Leads360, administrators can include drip emails and even text messaging to go out based on the status of the lead so the lead is never left untouched for too long.

Prioritize and close loans: In addition to nurturing, sales-process workflow is critical to ensure priority leads are called first and new leads don’t go un-touched for too long. Leads360 enterprise edition has built in sales process workflow that can be customized to meet specific needs.

Today Leads360 published a toolkit based on best practices of some of our largest customers in the mortgage industry. You can download the toolkit here.

3 Tips for Effective Text Messaging in Higher Ed Enrollment

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

December 7, 2020 — Recent Noel Levitz research found a growing number of students are beginning their school search via their mobile device and express a desire to be reached about enrollment and admissions via text messaging. The willingness to engage via text message only increases once the student has applied and deposited, according to a 2011 Bob Johnson Consulting study which found the following among high interest students (1) inquiries opting for text updates grew 35.8% between 2010 and 2011 and (2) deposits opting for text updates grew 43.1% between 2010 and 2011

These findings point to the importance of effective text messaging in the recruitment and enrollment process. To learn more about how early adaptors are using text messaging, we posted this question to a few higher education message boards: “Do you use text messaging in the enrollment process, if so how, and are prospective students receptive?” The post generated a lively discussion, below are a few of the key takeaways.

  • Establish relationship first: A student said “A less intrusive way to make this campaign effective is to only send warm texts and not cold texts. What do I mean? Establishing a relationship with a student first and let them choose the method of communication they are comfortable with.” Another LinkedIn group member noted “students are very receptive [to text messages], however, I only use this option when I have already talked to a student on the phone”
  • Let prospects opt in: One LinkedIn group member commented: “If you do like to text your prospects, ensure they like communicating that way and are using mobile devices. I have used text messaging in the enrollment process, retention efforts, to provide encouragement, and even job leads. The students are delighted…plus is saves their minutes.” Another commenter mirrored this sentiment: “I use text messaging and Facebook to communicate with our students. It seems the Y generation is more receptive to communicating via text and/or social media… My goal is to tear down barriers, raise their comfort level, and have them physically meet with me.”
  • Thoughtfully integrate: One student stressed “My android phone already receives ads that come straight to my phone … As a student, my preference would be to NOT get a barrage of text messages to my phone, but every once in a while a good reminder ‘in my opinion’ wouldn’t hurt.” Leads360’s SMS feature does just that – sending reminders at key points in the enrollment process. Example text messages might include: “looking forward to seeing you at 3 PM for the campus tour”, “I see it’s been a week since you got the application, reply if you have any questions.” We know prospects only want to get texts at the right times.
  • It is clear SMS has potential to change the way post-secondary schools approach prospects. Leads360 automated text messaging is designed to send automated texts during the enrollment phase, nurturing prospects without any specific effort from the admission counselor or enrollment manager. To learn more click here.

Working Weekend Leads Could Give you a Leg Up

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Find out how to maximize your weekend lead buys

Dec. 6, 2011 — In today’s competitive mortgage environment, working nontraditional work hours may give you a leg up on your competitors. A new study from Leads360 and QuinStreet found weekend leads perform better than weekday leads in certain key metrics.

As the mortgage industry evolves, lenders will need to adapt to meet the needs of busy consumers. Many consumers have more time on the weekend to catch up on their to-do lists and are less likely to be distracted by day-to-day responsibilities. So while it may seem like a hassle to work weekends, the opportunity may be worth it.

Are you maximizing your weekend lead buys? Attend our FREE webinar sponsored by Leads360 and QuinStreet to see how you stack up vs. your competitors on weekend leads purchased and how to properly contact and manage weekend leads based on research findings. Click here to register for this FREE webinar on Wednesday, December 14, 2020 from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM PST!

2011: The Year of the Cloud

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

This press release from the International Data Corporation out today makes the case that cloud computing, along with mobile computing, social networking, and big data analytics technologies, have all seen an increase IT spending this year. According to research spending in these areas is increasing by 18% yearly. It is predicted that 80% of all IT spending will be in these areas by 2020.

A year ago, “Cloud Computing” and “Software as a Service” were ideas that needed a little more explanation. But now, they have become mainstream to the point where legacy systems, based on building and maintaining in-house IT infrastructure are beginning to feel the heat. Or in the words of Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst, who led the study: “The incumbents are facing a huge transition.”

The reasons for companies switching to Software as a Service are many. Some of the reasons were explored in an earlier post on this blog. But the bottom line is: It is cheaper and easier to implement a SaaS platform in almost every case. Another reason why SaaS is the chosen solution for businesses of all sizes is that increasingly, business problems have almost purely technological solutions. Using Software as a Service gives companies the ability to leverage turnkey solutions to common challenges.

One great example of Software as a Service is Lead Management Software. A lead management system with an integrated lead dialer such as the one offered by Leads360 solves the problem of how to contact leads as quickly as possible after they have submitted an online inquiry. When this speed-to-contact solution was developed as part of the lead management platform and made available to clients, lead contact rates for clients were boosted significantly. The advantages enjoyed by the companies who quickly reach prospects are well documented.

This is just one example of how a cloud computing solution benefits its customers by creating features that solve business problems. Software as a Service providers only succeed when their customers succeed, so consider SaaS not only a cheaper and easier version of in-house IT infrastructure; consider it also as a business partner with vested interest in your success.