The big problem many businesses, of any size, face is that while you are trying to lock down more sales, there is just too much to keep track of. New leads are coming in from every direction from different platforms. You can’t seem to respond quick enough to keep leads interested in you. It can all be too much! But how are you supposed to keep track of everything?
Lead generation is a crucial aspect of any business, but all too often, the hard work you put into acquiring new leads is wasted because you aren’t able to follow-up quickly enough (or at all). Whether it's a lack of resources, organization, or simply a lack of attention, failing to follow up with leads in a timely manner can cause you lose out on potential customers and revenue.
In this blog post, we'll explore why you might be losing leads due to how you follow-up and discuss strategies for avoiding this common pitfall. We'll offer tips for staying on top of your lead generation efforts.
Problem 1: Slow or no response
Why response time matters
How quickly you respond to new inquiries is important for small businesses because it can impact your bottom line. When a potential customer reaches out to a business, they are raising their hand, saying, tell me more about what you have to offer.
In today's fast-paced world, customers are used to getting quick responses. If a business cannot meet this expectation, it can lead to frustration and a negative perception of the company.
If the business is slow to respond (or, in some cases, doesn’t respond at all), we all know what a potential customer will do: they will move on to your competitor, and you will lose the opportunity to have a new customer. On the other hand, if your business can effectively respond to the new lead, it can turn that interest into a sale. You could even create a loyal repeat customer.
The ideal response time depends on your product and service, but it is safe to say that if you are following up with new clients in a timely manner, you will increase your conversion rate.
How quickly should you respond?
According to research done by Convolo.ai, the best response time to a new inquiry is 5 minutes or less. That may seem extreme, but put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How many times have you become agitated waiting around for an answer while searching for a product or service?
A few other interesting findings about response times include:
- Leads contacted within an hour are 7x more likely to become customers
- 77% of buyers give preference to companies that respond quickly
- 40% of all sales go to the vendor that responds within 5 minutes
- 59% of companies take longer than 24 hours to respond to a lead
- 33% of leads are never followed up with
- 95% of leads are never contacted after the first attempt
Problem 2: Inquiries are coming from a wide range of channels
It doesn’t cut it to just answer the phone or your emails anymore.
New inquiries are coming from so many different channels - emails and forms, texts and SMS, phone calls and voicemail, website chat, Google Business Messages, Facebook messages, Instagram direct messages, reviews in third-party sites, and the list goes on.
The problem with leads coming in from every different direction is that it can be challenging to handle. It requires you and your team to keep track of multiple communication platforms and ensure that leads are not slipping through the cracks. Afterall, it's easy for them to get lost in the shuffle. This can result in a significant loss of potential revenue for your business.
In some cases, business owners don’t even know that potential customers are using these channels to reach out, so they miss out on opportunities. Also, manually tracking leads across multiple channels is time-consuming, and you’re likely to make errors.
You are also expected to track the effectiveness of different channels. You’ll need to look at which channels are generating the most qualified leads or which ones are resulting in the highest conversion rates.
To overcome these challenges, businesses should consider investing in lead management software that integrates with all the different channels, where leads can be tracked, you can follow up with leads and even automatize your responses and segment your leads list easily. Additionally, to make the most of each lead, businesses should make sure to track communications and engagements and use the data to improve your lead generation and conversion efforts.
Problem 3: Customers' communication preferences have changed
One of the trends we have seen over the past few years is that people expect to talk with you on their terms. One main reason for this change is the shift in technology and the expectation that communication should be easy.
Recent research shows that 48% of people prefer to communicate via text with a company, especially early on in the awareness stage of the buyer journey. This makes a lot of sense because calling someone and asking for information is a step that not everyone is ready to take. But a quick text - we can all do that! Especially when the business texts back (this can be an automated system), we feel that instant gratification.
Communication preferences are up to the customer or lead. It used to be a phone call, but people often respond better to an email or text. We sometimes play telephone tag for days or even weeks or get no response from our emails, but you send one single text, and boom, we have an answer in seconds.
For others, communication through social media is preferred. Over 135 million people use Facebook Messenger, so there is a good chance that some of your customers are in that group.
And if you cater to an international audience, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world and is used in over 150 countries. Allowing your potential clients to communicate with you directly over an app signals to your customers that you want to make it easy to do business.
There are several advantages of using SMS (Short Message Service) texting with leads and customers for small businesses:
- Reach: SMS allows businesses to reach their customers directly on their mobile devices, which is a channel that is likely to be frequently checked.
- Speed: SMS is a fast and immediate way to communicate with customers, which is useful for time-sensitive information such as appointment reminders or special offers.
- Personalization: SMS allows for the personalization of messages, which can be used to increase customer engagement and loyalty.
- Cost-effectiveness: SMS is generally less expensive than other forms of communication, such as phone calls or direct mail.
- Tracking: SMS can be tracked. Metrics such as open and click-through rates can be measured, which can be used to optimize messaging and improve ROI.
- Convenience: Texting allows for an easy, fast and non-intrusive way of communicating.
- Automation: SMS campaigns can be automated using text message marketing software; this can save time and effort for small business owners.
So if their preferred method of communication is SMS text, and you don’t offer that option, your potential customer will probably gravitate towards a competitor that does allow texting as a form of communication. You want to make this process as smooth as possible.
How quickly you respond to new customer inquiries will greatly affect how many leads you convert into clients. Even small improvements in your response time can improve your profitability without spending more money on your marketing and advertising. Investing in the right technology, such as a simple Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, will allow you to respond faster, close more deals and improve your bottom line.
Make it easy for new leads and customers to communicate with your business by paying attention to their communications preferences. Again, technology can help you tie all these channels together in one central place, saving you time and increasing your profits.
Close more deals by automating with LeadFlow
Whether you have a large sales team or you are a solopreneur following up with all the new inquiries and keeping up communications can be difficult. However, as you saw, not following up with new inquiries means you are losing business to the competition. LeadFlow CRM provides businesses and sales teams with an all-in-one sales and marketing platform that allows you to close more sales without worrying about all the technical details of CRM implementation.
Posted: January 24, 2023