Owners and managers often don’t realize that their company is losing valuable telephone sales leads. They think that if they haven’t heard about any problems, they don’t have them. This can be a dangerous assumption. Here we profile one business owner who knew he was losing leads, and the steps he took to improve lead capture rate.
Why Are Sales Calls Abandoned Before Reaching Live Answering?
I recently spoke with a business owner who had spent a lot of money on marketing but wasn’t getting the response rate he had hoped for. We did some investigating, and he was shocked to discover that 45% of his sales calls were abandoned before they got live answering. Reasons for that included:
- A confusing telephone menu system.
- Customers frequently ended the call because navigation resulted in voicemail.
- Calls to competitors because scheduling appointments was tedious for customers who had to wait for a callback.
- No consistent process for qualifying prospects, so salespeople spent time pursuing prospects they would never close.
- An inability to tell which marketing campaigns were the most effective because each lead was not being tracked accurately.
Partnering with an effective lead call center may be an option to consider if you are facing similar challenges.
The Benefits of Process Planning Before Marketing
The bottom line was that he had spent a fortune on marketing with few sales returns and no idea which campaigns had brought in those sales. The owner began to realize the importance of planning his processes before launching his next marketing campaign. This included:
- Reviewing what callers would hear when the phone system picked up and actually walking through any menu options. The decision was made that any caller who chose “sales” was routed directly to live answering from a staff member without making any additional menu choices.
- Assigning sales calls to specific extensions and creating an overflow path to an outsourced call center when staff members were tied up or when calls were received after-hours (due to calls from their website and prospects from other time zones).
- Creating a lead form that everyone (including the outsourced call center) uses consistently. The first two questions determine if a prospect is even qualified for appointment scheduling. If a prospect does qualify, they are scheduled immediately. The outsourced call center does this as well by accessing an online appointment book.
- The source of every lead is also tracked, and all leads (including those taken by the outsourced call center) are entered into a web-enabled contact management package that controls future prospect touches and provides sales pipeline reporting.
These changes made a dramatic improvement. Their abandoned call rate dropped to almost zero, appointment scheduling is up 30% and tracking is helping him make more cost effective marketing decisions.
You can’t improve what you can’t measure. Successful marketing campaigns include mapping out telephone answering processes in advance, actually testing them and creating systems of accountability.
What have you done to improve your lead capture rate?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.