What foundational steps do many companies miss when collecting leads? Companies with sophisticated systems may consider these the basics, but surprisingly a large percentage of companies have not taken the time to develop a repeatable lead system that does more than just adding the name of a prospect to the list of people they have spoken too or requested information. Companies with successful lead management systems have taken the time to build an entire process that includes incremental steps to determine which stage a prospect is in, within the company’s sales cycle. Don’t fall into the thinking that your company is too small to have a lead system. Every company can benefit from and should develop a lead management system.
What is the primary reason we collect leads? To increase sales! To accomplish this, you need to convert leads into paying customers. To aid in this endeavor, I want to share these four frequently missed steps I discussed with John Uppgren, one of the nation’s top experts on lead management. Implementing these four simple steps will make your company stand out versus your competition and increase your conversion rate.
- The first step that many companies miss is walking a prospect through a series of “Non-intrusive qualifying questions that help the seller understand the situation of the prospect.” This process should be formalized and can be collected online or on the phone when prospects are requesting more information. This should also be done in face to face first meetings. These questions can help you rank the quality of the lead and help identify if they are truly in the market at this time.
- The second step that many companies miss is “Personalized communication from an advocate within the company who makes sure that their process of purchasing is consistent and of high quality.” Companies should assign a lead to one person and they become the main contact for every question that consumer has during the process. The person responsible for the lead also makes the initial contact. This contact can be by phone or via email. If you contact them over the phone, you will stand out more, since many companies are doing everything online these days. This even works for large companies with call centers. You just need to provide the extension and email address for a key contact for that lead. Personalized communication is becoming a lost art. You will benefit from reaching out to customers on a more personal level.
- The third step is providing communication guidelines. You need to make sure the consumer has a clear understanding of what they can expect in regards to communication guidelines. So communication guidelines should be delivered in this manner, “Communication to the prospect describing the ways they can contact you and the ways you will expect to contact them.” John Uppgren stresses the fact that “Whenever possible we need to increase the human touch versus digital self-serve.” It is a best practice to let the consumer know what they can expect and the steps in the sales process. There is nothing wrong with letting the consumer know at what stage during the process, that they will be expected to make the purchase. Many companies do this very successfully. It sets the expectation up front and consumers are prepared when they reach that step that you will be asking for the order.
- The fourth item most companies miss is “Personalized thank you letter.” At some point we lost the personal touch in sales and marketing process. You will absolutely stand out if you send a personalized thank you note with every purchase. Some companies take it a step further by sending a small gift with the thank you letter. Don’t underestimate the importance of a personal thank you.
Adding any or all of these four commonly missed components to your lead management system will improve your customer satisfaction, lead conversion, sales and future referrals. Another positive side of adding a personal touch to your lead management system will be the positive effect it has on your brand image.
You can learn more about John Uppgren and lead management systems by visiting the techbarn website. Look for additional pieces on lead management systems from our discussion. The first blog post in this series was, What One Question Determines If a Prospect Is a Qualified Lead or a Tire Kicker? That blog post was shared several times on many social media sites.
What other lead management tips have you found to be important when it comes to lead management success? Please share your comments below.
David Domos developed WhyBuyFromYou.com to provide content to help small businesses develop their branding, marketing and sales systems. In the past he held key leadership positions for a fortune 500 company. That company led the market in both sales and brand awareness and David was a significant contributor to its growth. David has been on the Amazon.com best seller list in their Direct Marketing, Communications and Entrepreneurship categories. He is a student of sales, marketing, branding & small business growth, continually focusing on the reason people buy. Follow him on Twitter @WhyBuyFromYou or visit www.whybuyfromyou.com.