In uncertain times like those we’re facing right now, it’s more important than ever to try to shore up your firm’s cash flow position and boost sales and profits. There are many ways to go about this, such as introducing new wares, targeting new customer types, focusing on better inventory management, and increasing marketing.
However, one tactic that many entrepreneurs don’t focus on enough is sales leads and, in particular, taking these leads further to improve results. If you and your team aren’t paying close attention to how many leads you get, how many convert to sales, and if this increases, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
You can start following a few simple tips to improve the results you obtain from company leads today.
Have a Process for Ensuring Leads are Followed Up On
For starters, ensure you have a process to ensure your team follows up on all leads that come through to your business. It’s easy to get busy, after all, and forget to attend to these things or think not long has passed when it has been days or weeks.
According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, firms that follow up within an hour of receiving an online inquiry are around seven times more likely to qualify that lead than those who wait an extra hour. The piece also noted that companies that followed up within the first 60 minutes were more than 60 times more likely to qualify that lead than organizations that didn’t respond for a whole day or more.
With timelines so crucial, it’s best to utilize helpful tech tools to send you or your team reminders about following up and to create processes where inquiries are sent to those who can specifically respond ASAP to make the most of potential leads. Consumers these days won’t sit around waiting for a response, so the better you are at getting back to them fast, the more you should see your business results improve.
Keep in Touch with People after the First Communication
While the first contact is vital, so is staying in touch longer term. The phrase “recency and frequency” is good to remember. It refers to the idea that, when it comes to sales, the ventures that do best are those that communicate with shoppers around the time when they’re looking to buy (the “recency” part) and stay in touch over time to remind consumers that the business is there to help (the “frequency” part).
Shoppers typically pick whichever business happens to be top of mind for them on the day or during the week when they’re ready to commit to a purchase. As such, get into the habit of following up with leads multiple times. Having systems in place to remind you when each person was last communicated with and when to chat with them again will take a lot of the headache out of this, so you always know what stage in the sales process each person is at.
Plus, you can even use handy customer relationship management software programs to send automated emails or other messages to reduce your team’s workload. Your follow-ups can include quick check-ins to see if people found previous information helpful or if they had any questions or wanted more details. You can also educate leads on what you sell and how best to use your wares.
Use Data to Understand Shoppers Better
Lastly, it’s wise to take advantage of the plethora of data available to us now to help you understand shoppers better and, thus, how to serve them and convert more leads into buyers. Analytics tools, many of which are free or low cost, can help you track, measure, and analyze data about all of your sales processes and the results you achieve so you can keep testing and measuring over time to see if and when improvements happen.
Analytics software can illuminate you and your staff members on various factors, including where leads come from, which demographics provide the warmest leads and convert best into sales, and which shoppers purchase from you more than once. The programs can help you see at what times of the year, month, or week you get the most leads, which marketing efforts lead to a good boost in leads, and how long it takes for your team to respond to queries.
Use software to help you refine your sales process over time and better understand who buys from you and why. Cloud-based products can be accessed by workers in your office or those working remotely, too, which is helpful. Be sure, though, that any tech tools you use have good security processes built-in to protect customer data. It’s worth investing in comprehensive cloud-native application security to keep hackers at bay and all your data safe from prying eyes.
Follow these steps, and you should find that handling sales leads gets quicker and easier and your results more impressive as the months go on.