When your sales team receives an online inquiry, what does the lead experience look like? How are your reps following up? What are they saying? Every sales leader wants to create a contact strategy that yields the best results. They visualize the perfect transaction—one that delivers the optimal customer experience and shortens the distance from lead to conversion. To truly understand the lead experience your team is delivering, it’s important to keep a finger on the pulse of what your follow-up looks like. Here are three steps to consider when creating a lead experience that converts.
Step 1: Check what you expect.
Are your sales reps really following up? In a recent study by the Velocify research team, one-third of submitted inbound leads didn’t even receive a single follow-up call! (More on that and other findings on sales lead response in this post by our director of research: Is Your Sales Lead Response Strategy More James Bond Than Maxwell Smart?)
Test the buyer experience to better understand exactly how your reps are following up to online inquiries. Go through the experience yourself and submit an online inquiry. Remember to use a personal or newly generated email so that it is not recognized by any of the reps. And of course, don’t use your real name. Submit the response during normal business hours and watch what happens over the next 14 days.
Your goal will be to just track time stamps. Do not engage or respond to phone calls or emails. Create a timeline and record the times that you receive a call, voicemail, or email. When you open an email, you’ll want to track when you opened the email to see if you get a phone call soon after because that is a best practice. Of course, also note the quality of the communications you receive: length, tone, context, clarity, etc.
Step 2: Map the customer experience.
Now that you have the insight from step one, determine if this is the experience you want your customers to have when they engage on your website. Compare it to your current strategy and best practices and make improvements accordingly. As you make adjustments to your cadence, consider the four pillars of sales communication:
Communication type. If a lead submits an online inquiry, should your reps follow-up via phone or email? Should reps blend the types of communication they use? If so, what does the ideal mix look like? Is voicemail necessary?
Communication timing. Do certain times of day yield better results? Does speed matter when it comes to responding? How long should they wait between each call, voicemail, and email? (Our CEO wrote a post on this: Is There a Best Time to Make Sales Calls?)
Communication frequency. How many calls should reps make? How many emails should they send? Is there an ideal cadence for sending emails or making calls?
Communication quality. What does the ideal email look like? What are the characteristics of voicemail messages that yield better results?
If you’re able to automate any part of this process, that is ideal when it comes to reducing error, ensuring quality, and optimizing each opportunity. For example, online inquiries are from leads who are likely shopping around in that current moment. Take advantage of the interest they have explicitly expressed by prioritizing them. Follow up immediately to maintain their attention and keep them from leaving your website for a competitor. Research shows conversion rates increase by 2.14x when a buyer is called within one minute of their submitted inquiry!
The impact of speed-to-conversion is real. And with 93% of inquiries not being optimized around this best practice, testing your process regularly is critical.
Step 3: Run different test campaigns.
With your updated strategy in place, you can branch out and run different lead performance campaigns. Try submitting a lead late at night or on the weekend. Leverage the same monitoring practice in step one and track your experience on a timeline. Compare it to your current strategy and determine if it aligns with the ideal experience for your customers. Adjust accordingly.
More complex campaigns to test might include tracking a longer timeframe with different test lead variations: a lead that does not engage at all; a lead that expresses interest in the beginning, but on day 18 tells the rep they are no longer interested. See if you get put into a nurture strategy, and from there, you can monitor the nurture experience.
Meet the Author: Scott Payne is an enterprise account manager at Velocify and works remotely out of Dallas, racking up approximately 100k miles per year visiting Velocify clients. Prior to Velocify, Scott was actually a Velocify client, serving as VP of originations marketing at Nationstar Mortgage in Dallas, TX.