There comes a point when you lose interest in a career you spent a lifetime building, or just letting go of that dream project because you’re not feeling it anymore. What happened to your dream of being a pilot or an astronaut or a firefighter when you were a kid? There’s a lot of reasons people lose interest and motivation as life happens around them, and in the world of marketing, that is called lead mismanagement.
Businesses try so hard to generate leads, or prospects, in order to grow their revenue and sustain their brand. But getting these leads is an entirely different thing from keeping them. When you get an inquiry from a potential customer, how do you handle them and how do you keep them interested? This is where it gets complicated because nurturing customer relationships takes more than just giving them an automated reply.
A study revealed that 48% of salespeople quit after the first contact, while 90% quit at the fourth. This means only 10% are especially persistent, which is very rewarding considering that 80% of sales are made after the fifth contact. Why does this happen? Maybe the one in charge of lead generation was looking at the wrong person, or maybe because the lead isn’t fully ready yet, as in it is not ready to make a sale. Whatever it is, persistence is key. But other than that, there are other things that marketers can do in order to manage their leads properly, keep them interested, and who knows, maybe they will even become loyal customers.
Don’t keep them waiting
People are becoming increasingly impatient. They don’t like waiting, and they definitely take it personally when they are ignored.
A study from Autodeal about car dealership response time showed that dealers who responded in 6 hours or less achieved an average 40% improvement in conversion rate. And as response time shortens, the probability of making a sale improves. In fact, dealers responding in an hour or less are 48% more likely to close a sale. This only goes to show that the quality of your response is as important as the time you took to respond.
Customer response time shows how a company values its customers. If the customers feel they are being neglected, they will surely bring their business elsewhere. Poor response time means poor customer service, and ultimately will cost a company its customers and revenue.
Track your leads
How the leads were generated is a fairly important question. It is only by knowing where they came from will you have an idea of where they’re going.
There are many ways to source these leads, such as inbound marketing, organic search, paid ads, referrals, etc. If you know how they were generated, it will be a bit easier for you to know what will work for them. For example, if you know that a lead was generated out of a paid ad on promos and discounts, you’ll know which leads to tap the next time you have similar activities. They probably aren’t ready to make a sale on the first contact, but they are likely to be thinking about it.
Pass the lead to the proper person
In managing a team, it doesn’t matter how talented or how skilled an employee is. If you put him in a position that is not fit for him, all his skills and talents are put to waste. Such is the case in lead management. If you assign the lead to someone ill-equipped to manage and nurture it, let’s just say you risk losing potential customers and profit.
This is where lead distribution comes in. Well-distributed leads increase the probability of converting these leads. Remember that each lead is different, and it needs a special team or person to handle it. In short, you have to play the matchmaker. For starters, you can match based on skills, geography or location, or niche and expertise.
Once distributed, track the progress and outcomes of the assigned leads. No one is expected to perfect the process all at once; monitoring and constant collaboration is necessary so you’ll know both strong points and weak points that you can use later on.
Nurture your leads, don’t give up too easily
Just like in life, some things take a little more time than others. But do you give up on a dream just because of a temporary setback?
You need to nurture those dreams. In marketing, you need to nurture leads that takes a while to be sales-ready. A study by SiriusDecisions found that 80% of those marketers consider to be bad leads go on to make a purchase within two years.
Another study by Autodeal also showed that failure to nurture high funnel leads, or customers who are still canvassing from different dealers, are having a negative impact on conversion rate. This is because opportunities are being missed, and that marketers and salespeople gave up too easily.
What you need to do is to discover opportunities in bad leads, and continue fostering a healthy customer relationship by moving your leads along the sales process, giving them relevant content, and maintaining a connection.
Measure success (or failure)
Technology has made it so easy to measure how successful (or unsuccessful) a digital marketing campaign is. All your efforts will go to waste if you don’t monitor and measure, and ultimately understand what these algorithms are all about. Remember that in a quickly evolving virtual world the room for improvement just keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Leads are prospects, and they deserve to be treated like a valued customer. You have to engage them and bring them in, you have to make them want to stay, and you want to make them want to come back. You have to take care of them. While strategies can be quite mechanical and impersonal, the usual values of a great sales person or marketer should pay off: persistence, creativity, and genuine care.