For the first time in history, marketers in 2012 will spend more on online marketing than advertising in print magazines and newspapers. It is expected that online marketing spend by 2016 will double from that in 2011. Consequently, sales and lead generation from websites will likely grow proportionately.
If lead generation from online marketing is an important element of your sales/marketing plans, how do you ensure you get the best results? Following are 3 important elements to ensure you maximize revenue from online lead generation investments.
Speed - Who Responds and How Fast?
On the most part sales leads from online efforts come in two ways – email inquiry (online form) and phone call. For email inquiries, make sure your online form is programmed to send the inquiries to the right person and/or the right email address. Most of our customers send their online inquires to a common email address like sales@(companywebsiteaddress). Have one particular person assigned to obtain these inquiries and a back-up plan when that person is out of the office. Studies show that customers submitting an email inquiry expect an answer within 1 business day. The faster you can respond the better. The internet is all about speed and accessibility?
You’ll likely generate more phone calls than online inquiry forms, and that’s great. It gives you an opportunity to interact real time. Make sure the phone number on your website gets answered – and not by voicemail. There are many services out there to ensure your customer reaches a human being. You can also set up a “hunt group” so if the first person assigned to answer phone inquires isn’t available, the call automatically forwards to the next person in the sequence. Ask your phone service provider how to set up a “hunt group” or reach out to an answering service to make sure your sales opportunities reach a live human.
Quality - How You Respond?
Now that inquiries from your online web forms and phone calls from your website are getting to the right people, how well do they respond? First, see my previous WorkIt-Richmond article about responding to online form inquiries. Even though an inquiry might be via a web form, it’s likely you’ll ultimately interact via phone call. Additionally as stated earlier, you’ll most likely get more phone inquiries than online forms. See my previous WorkIt-Richmond article about responding to phone inquiries.
Make sure your people are prepared to discuss the details and benefits of any products and services you are specifically promoting. Customers get frustrated when they call about a particular product or service and the person answering the phone doesn’t know much about it. Prep your people to be able to share information about how your various products and services benefit the customer. You’ll make a powerful impression and likely generate more sales when your people can talk confidently and specifically about what you do.
Ongoing training of the people who interact with your customer can make a huge impact. Hold a review meeting with your people every so often and work through real phone sales experiences. Also, consider implementing a call recording feature, at least for a limited period. Listening to live exchanges between your customers and your phone sales people can be an epiphany at times, and go a long way to helping your employees excel in their jobs.
Sales – Are You Maximizing the Opportunity?
Are you giving each of your customers the opportunity to benefit the most from your products and services? At the same time, are you maximizing every sales opportunity?
A good example of this is my lawn irrigation company. I get an email about winterizing my system for say $99. It is something I do every fall so I call to schedule the appointment. Upon hearing my request, the person asks, “Would you like to take advantage of our Winter/Spring Special? For only $179 we will winterize your system this fall and come back in the spring to turn it back on and ensure everything is working right.” Well, we all lead busy lives and if that’s one less thing I need to think about – great – let’s do it. The irrigation company turns the $99 sale into $179 – an 80% increase. Sure, I may have done the spring thing anyway, but frankly I felt it was a great service to offer and I think I’m getting a deal. I love my lawn irrigation company because they make it easy – win-win for all involved.
Are your phone people prepped to seize every sales opportunity? It doesn’t take much. Here’s an easy way to do it…
1. Make a short list of each of your basic products/services – say 5 at most. Example –irrigation system winterizing.
2. Think about what could be added to or how you could enhance each that would make them more beneficial to the customer and profitable for you. Example – add on the spring turn-on/set-up.
3. Coach your people about each of these and ensure they understand how the customer benefits. Example – one less thing to think about and a $20 savings.
Don’t get sub-optimal results from your online marketing investments. Respond quickly. Make it a quality conversation. Maximize the value and benefits to the customer, and your sales performance.