Commentary

Getting From Sales Lead To Response

According to a new research report, “Sales Lead Response”, written & researched by Velocify.com, every sales leader wants to create a contact strategy that delivers the best results, visualizing the optimal customer experience from lead to conversion.

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Rep activity is built around facilitating this process, says the report. Leaders consider how reps should respond to inbound inquiries and map out subsequent steps accordingly. There are four considerations that are factored into their follow-up strategy:

  • Communication Channel: If a lead submits an online inquiry, should your reps follow-up via phone or email? Should reps blend the channels 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?
  • Communication Persistence: 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?

Once leaders take these considerations and build them into their process, reps are trained and sent off into the world to close deals. The findings in this report show there are some surprising differences between how sales teams are actually responding and response best practices, says the report.

The study analyzed the inbound lead response practices of 20 companies that buy leads to see if they are taking advantage of their most valuable (and technically free) lead source: inbound leads. Five leads were submitted per company for a total of 100 leads. Industries represented include mortgage, education, insurance, and business services.

As reflected in the Lead Trends Report, nearly half of a company’s total lead volume is split between two sources: purchased and website-generated. Both sources provide high quality leads, but it’s the steps that companies take once the lead is generated that determine conversion success, notes the report.

The report says that ales leads are slipping through the cracks because reps are not even trying or giving up too soon.

  • 33% Leads that never received a call
  • 91% Leads that didn’t receive an optimal number of calls
  • 95% Leads that didn’t receive an optimal number of voicemails

Calling a lead within one minute of an inquiry more than doubles conversion rates, says the report, but only 7% of prospects received a call within one minute. It’s important to call leads sooner rather than later to yield the best results. When a lead submits an inquiry, take advantage of that moment when you have their attention by calling them within seconds. Don’t give them the opportunity to leave your website and discover your competitors, concludes the report. 

The study found that 95% of converted leads are contacted by the sixth call attempt, but only half are contacted on the first attempt. Fewer than 10% of prospects received the optimal number of calls (between five and seven).

It is important not to give up too soon, says the report, but also not to waste valuable resources calling too much. 60% of assessed companies failed to call at least one of the five prospects submitted, resulting in 33% of prospects not receiving a single call. Strike the right balance by optimizing your call strategy around proven conversion rates. The report suggests making six call attempts before moving leads to a nurture path.

Leads who are left two voicemails on six missed calls are 34% more likely to convert than leads who don’t receive any voicemails at all, but only 15% of prospects studied received two voicemails. Almost half of prospects didn’t even receive a voicemail. Of those who did, 40% received only one voicemail and 34% received too many. Research shows leaving too many voicemails before contact, as many as five or more, can actually be worse than not leaving any voicemails.

If you are following a six-call strategy, research from the Ultimate Guide to Inquiry Response suggests leaving a voicemail on your second and fourth call attempt. Leaving your first voicemail on your second call has a 31% higher conversion rate than leaving that voicemail on any other call.

Voicemail frequency can increase the chance of conversion, but reps need to leave quality messages to maximize callbacks.

  • Calls that go to voicemail* …80%
  • First-time voicemails that are never returned* …90%
  • Voicemails that need improvement …82%

*Source: RingLead blog.hubspot.com/sales

Concluding, the report suggests that when you receive an online inquiry from a lead, they have explicitly expressed interest. Take advantage of this opportunity and prioritize these leads! Research from Velocify found 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.

The complete report, accessed here, continues with additional text and tips on inbound leads.

 

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