Time and again, research has shown that 35–50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first. When a customer is ready to talk details and set up a purchase, they’re less likely to wait for responses from multiple companies. The early bird gets the worm, and late-comers miss out.
Many companies support a surprisingly large number of lead-generation channels that allow for damaging lag time. It’s such a simple tweak—tightening the timeline on customer inquries—but it can have a massive impact on the bottom line. I’m not afraid to dig into basic business practices and kick people out of their comfort zones if it means creating solid lead gen pipelines and increasing revenue.
Launch Raven was brought on at a B2B engineering firm where we quickly identified a key problem in customer acquisition strategy. Careful analysis of the company’s main lead-tracking data revealed a key lead channel was being neglected, and rep response times were woefully slow. Nearly 40% of client queries flowing through this channel were slipping through the cracks because the business development team allowed them to roll to the next business day or later without responding.
At the time that we began working with this firm, no one else was looking for leaks. No one in-house ever saw these inbound leads because there was no system in place to catch them systematically. A key reason for this is that along with great leads comes a lot of junk, and the sales team didn’t have time to sift through the junk to find the gems.
The company policy was that immediate reply was optional, but we recognized that quick-turn customer connection could create a massive influx of new revenue.
A simple problem demands a simple solution: We set to work changing team dynamics and expectations to align with customer needs. We knew that increasing lead gen was as simple as narrowing the gap between customer contact and vendor response, so we set about making that a priority for everyone on the business development team.
But I love to step into an existing system, hone in on the issues, and make effective changes. So I dug in.
We sourced technology to drive improvements across the business, including a cutting-edge lead-tracking system that improved lead generation by capturing and analyzing previously missed leads.
We shifted the business development team's schedule to ensure there was always someone present and ready to respond to customer queries. This led to a whopping 75% increase in qualified leads that marketing could pass along to the sales team for follow-up.
We also wanted to understand what was driving these incoming leads, so I set up a system to track each source, and was able to discover which channels were driving the most effective leads. I was also able to uncover numerous issues with the response system’s logistics and setup, and by correcting each issue, we were able to capitalize on those valuable leads instead of losing them through holes in our lead capture system. This also enabled us to understand which marketing strategies were driving customer outreach and generating solid leads.
We championed a change in corporate culture and a shift toward stellar customer service. I emphasized to my team that by dawdling in their responses, the were giving our competitors an advantage. I reminded them that when a potential customer contacts us, they are very possibly contacting our competitors as well, and they are interested in learning about our solutions right away, not tomorrow or a week from tomorrow. Once they saw that establishing a relationship as soon as possible gave them a tangible advantage, they quickly adopted more agile response practices.
The changes we created revolutionized the company’s business model and opened previously plugged revenue streams. Our keen use of analytics to find kinks in the pipeline proved transformative. With our technological, scheduling, tracking, and philosophical changes in place, the company:
Increased qualified leads by 75%, resulting in strongest sales pipeline in company’s 17-year history
Initiated retention strategies in internal processes to develop customer loyalty and repeat business
Analyzed user behaviors and conversion paths, which led to deeper customer understanding and the ability to forge stronger connection
Sometimes it’s hard to see simple issues when you’re in the thick of them. Our team can be objective enough to see system malfunctions, and invested enough to convince key players that sea change will lead to better bookings. This nimbleness allows us to analyze metrics with incredible clarity and devise strategies with growth in mind.