How are you generating new leads for your business? For most businesses the answer is advertising, but is your advertising strategy designed to really deliver leads to prospective customers? A quarter of digital ads now offer a click-to-call option and this drives around 108 billion calls to US businesses each year – that’s a call directly triggered by your ad. Web search results on mobile devices drive another 40 billion calls. In total, calls influence over $1 trillion in US consumer spending.
Once you have a prospective customer on the phone, someone who was interested enough in your ad to click the call button, what do you do? Phone agents can up-sell and cross-sell ten to fifteen times more and 30% faster than just serving the customer some information about your products. Talking to a real person not only helps to secure that initial sale, it can ensure that the customer buys more. It starts a relationship with your brand.
To achieve this you need to think strategically about the sales and lead generation process. You need to map the entire journey of the customer so you can determine when and where they should see the ads and what action should be triggered. You need to map the right consumer profile so those ads are only served to consumers that are more likely to click the call button, and you need to use predictive marketing analytics across all these processes to create a system of behavioral targeting.
Your contact center also needs detailed planning if you really want to leverage those clicks. Dynamic agent scripting, call routing, information security, an omnichannel platform, and a workplace culture that means the agents come to the job wanting to help callers. Add to this a great team of sales specialists that are trained in sales processes, but also have knowledge of the products they are selling and you have a recipe for success.
Once you have a strategy for your ads and a great contact center you need to think about some of the best practices that can help you to avoid wasting a good lead. Think for example about that initial conversation with the customer. It sounds great to have an off-script friendly agent just ad-libbing a conversation, but that isn’t going to help you convert a caller into a customer.
But you don’t want agents to sound like robots. Allow them to be warm and friendly, but at the same time ensure that they have a few key questions that can trigger specific actions – either you know the caller is not right for the product, it could be good for them, or it might be good for them at a future date – in which case you need to keep their details on a list of future prospects.
This is an important point. Maybe you are selling a financial product to the over 65s. Your sales team will have a natural tendency to focus only on those who qualify for the product today – that’s what earns their commission right? But by training (and rewarding) them to nurture the over 60s into a list to be used for future sales you can build a healthy future pipeline at the same time as making sales to those who qualify immediately. You just need to ensure the sales team knows that it is their job to build business for the future as well as closing sales today.
This approach can lead to a lead nurturing strategy where the inbound sales team hands the details of future prospects to a different team that follows up at a later date with an outbound call. If the first sales contact does their job well then the information available to the outbound sales team should be extremely rich – when the consumer called, why they called, which product they were interested in, why they liked this product… this should no longer be a cold call, it should feel like the company is following up on a request from the consumer.
This holistic approach is far more successful for generating leads now and in the future than the more traditional sales approach of focusing only on hot prospects. Some contact centers advise agents to get off the phone as soon as possible if they are talking to a consumer that is not ready to commit immediately. This is entirely wrong. That person took the trouble to call because they were thinking about making a purchase – they are interested. If you use the hard sell playbook then many people will be turned off. Insisting that a purchase is required immediately destroys trust and does not build consumer relationships.
When a caller is not sure about making a commitment immediately, the agent needs to explore their needs. Why did they call? What is it about the product that attracts them? If they don’t want to make an immediate purchase then would it help for us to follow up with more information or just to get back in touch after the caller has had some time to think? By adopting this friendly and helpful approach the agent should be able to introduce many more callers to the lead nurturing team. This approach builds long-term trusting consumer relationships in addition to sales.
There is nothing quite like a one-on-one conversation for companies that want to sell. When your ad strategy is creating interest in your products these conversations can be the difference between fantastic long-term customer relationships and customer disappointment. By strategically planning how to handle these interactions you can ensure a dramatic increase in leads generated and conversions to sales.
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