By Pat Hinds,
Having sold technology products for the majority of my sales career, I like to read books that are applicable to the space. One of the great books written on selling technology products is “Crossing the Chasm” by Geoffrey A. Moore. The book outlines five main customer segments for high tech companies: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards. According to Moore, the marketer should focus on one group of customers at a time, using each group as a base for marketing to the next group.
Many of my customers are in the “early majority” stage; as a result getting new leads is not that difficult if they are spending money on marketing. The challenge they face is processing the lead from qualification to customer within the existing sales capacity. An example would be a customer that I have that receives 5 new leads a day and they have 3 sales reps fielding 8 to 9 leads a week each from the company website and telephone.
Twenty five leads a week may not sound like a lot of leads, but if you do not respond to the leads within 60 minutes the probability to connect with the prospect drops to 12%. If you have 25 leads with a 12% connect rate you will have to make 116 calls to connect with the lead, which is 38 calls per rep or about 2 hours of calling a day. In the case of this customer the sales reps make site visits to qualified leads, prepare quotes and submit the orders to operations; as a result they cannot make all qualified leads and some of these are going to the competition.
One solution to help this company to better qualify leads was to expand the data captured on the web to lead form in the CRM software allowing the administration to qualify the tire kickers from the real customers. I compared the data that we captured from web form against the information we collect over the phone and the leads generated from the web form had significantly more info than the phone lead. As a result of better information collected, the sales reps did a much better job of identifying and calling the qualified prospects and building relationships.
If you visit web sites of small and medium companies go to the contact page and you see the majority of sites collect exact same type and amount of data. In the sales 2.0 environment customers buying habits have changed and they are more comfortable with using the web in a greater capacity to facilitate the buying cycle. It is important that companies accommodate this change in behavior; consequently, company’s websites must go beyond extending the ability to communicate over the phone and include customer qualification by using web to lead forms in your CRM software.