Integrating Web Inquiries into your Sales Lead Management System
By Mark Friedman Partner, Cerius Consulting Group A recent study conducted by Performark found that nearly half of Website inquiries were never answered, this, in spite of the fact the companies had paid to advertise their Web address in full-page ads. What’s worse, of the 30 percent of the company websites offering downloadable materials, only 25 percent of them attempted to gather qualifying data about the site visitors. Aside from potentially costing your company a lot of revenue and profits, poor Web design also creates a very disappointing first impression of your company. After spending the money to drive interested people to your Website, you certainly don’t want to drop the ball on initiating your Sales Lead Management program. The following steps will help you take full advantage of the visitors to your Website and ensure your sales lead management system is immediately implemented with little or no manual intervention. 1. Offer valuable information or a compelling offer that will be of great interest to a prospect. The key is to offer something of interest to your potential clients, preferably something they can’t get anywhere else. Here are a couple of examples. One of our Technical Recruiting clients offered a White Paper entitled Industry, Occupational and Demographic Trends through 2008. Another client offers a free subscription for access to a sub-set of a large proprietary database. What about a compelling offer for products or services from your company? 2. Require the visitor register to download the information or receive the offer and include several mandatory qualification questions. Both your Sales and Marketing departments have requirements regarding the type of information that should be requested from a Web site visitor. Marketing is attempting to find out where a visitor heard about the company and other market dynamics. Sales must know if there is an immediate need they can satisfy, whether a budget has been established, etc. For it to work successfully, Sales and Marketing must agree on the questions asked and also how they are prioritized. Sales should be realistic about the minimum elements required to identify an account as a qualified sales lead. Marketing should understand the ways and sources available to gather the marketing data they need. Once these questions have been prioritized, we suggest that the company experiment with the number of mandatory questions their Web visitors will answer in order to receive the information offered. Website statistics will indicate the percentage of visitors who don’t complete the form. The goal is to capture as much high-priority information from as many visitors as possible. Each industry and company has different dynamics regarding their Web visitor experience and tolerance; different offers and information have different response metrics.
Experiment, track your data and remember, as soon as you find a combination that works, it will probably change after a while, so keep tracking! 3. Create an automated process to determine the lead quality Let’s be honest, not every visitor who lands on your web site looking for information will be a qualified lead. Once the sales qualification criteria have been established, whenever possible provide a drop-down menu from which to select and agree upon a standard measure of a lead’s quality. We often look at two main components: Revenue potential of the opportunity or company The Decision Timeframe Depending on the answers to these two questions, most companies can quickly judge the quality of the lead. 4. Create an automated process to determine the ultimate sales lead owner. This can be a bit tricky if a company hasn’t given this issue a lot of thought. Companies often arrange their sales organization hierarchically by geography and sometimes by product. There are many ways to organize a sales team; frequently there is a field sales group and an inside sales and channel sales group. You get the picture. It is important to document which sales person will ultimately be responsible for workng the lead and contacting the interested party. The better the Business Rules are identified, the easier it is to use the computer to automatically assign the lead. One of our clients identified four levels of logic before they were able to identify their ultimate lead owner; but once they did, the program was able to assign it automatically. As part of the process, it’s important to ensure that each management level within the organization has visibility to which sales lead has been assigned to a sales rep in their group. Additionally, after all this is done, design a procedure for those accounts where the ultimate lead owner isn’t identified, so that you can identify them in your system and manually assign the lead owner.
5. Create an automated response process This process should incorporate Business Rules based on the answers from the Registration form. These rules should include: Produce Interest Company Type (end user, consultant, etc.) Lead Quality (to determine response type & information to be included) The goal should be to send a customized email response back immediately or to fulfill the request through the mail within 24 hours if necessary. Additionally, based on the Lead Quality a company may decide to send a full literature pack through the mail or they may
send an email with the requested information as an attachment. This will enable the company to reduce expenses while still responding very quickly.
6. Automatically import into your existing Sales Force Automation (SFA)/Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. All of the registration form, lead quality and lead owner information must be imported and routed to the ultimate lead owner. A procedure within this software that notifies the owner that they have a new lead should be developed. Some software can be programmed to send an email; some can automatically create a task that will appear when the sales rep logs into the system. The net result is that the lead owner can act very quickly to a new lead.
Success Story By following the steps above, your company can effectively manage the visitor traffic to your Website and immediately provide sales with the best-qualified leads. Sales results and sales productivity will increase. Additionally, the prospects initial experience and impression of your company will be enhanced. In a recent engagement, one of our clients, utilizing several different sales partners, was generating in excess of 150 Web leads per day. These leads were not managed very efficiently, contributing to a significant lack of productivity in the inside sales group. Working with Cerius Consulting Group Group, the client made some minor changes to their Web forms and started collecting relevant sales qualification information consistently from each source. This information was sent to a database, where the lead quality and ultimate lead owner was determined. Once determined, every 60 seconds, the records were imported directly to a sales rep’s calling list. Since the Lead Quality was already identified, they could prioritize their calling and could refer to all the information from the registration form. The result was a significant increase in calling productivity and sales closes. The last time we checked in, the client was generating more than 200 Web leads a day and easily handled the increase with their existing staff. And sales were up over 40%