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7 Tips For Successful Lead Follow-upA Guest Post By: Robert Krekstein<br />Telemarketing services are continuing to grow in popularity given the low cost and high return, and for most companies Tele resources are fully utilized in an outbound calling capacity. The companies that are able to create a sustainable responder generation program will see higher conversions and sales. <br />However, it is difficult for companies to gain inbound responders in large volumes, and too many companies do not have an optimal responder program in place to drive whatever responders they receive to an eventual sale. In my 20 years of marketing, sales and Telemarketing experience I have created many “Tele Web” programs, and here are the top reasons they succeed. <br />1. Speed is essential for the follow up <br />Obviously the critical success factor for any responder program is the speed to which we call the prospect. There are 3rd party companies that boast the “Immediate warm transfer” of a prospect searching your web site, but this is not always the case, and can be costly. The key is to reach the prospect within 48 hours. You will see a diminishing return on every call made outside of 48 hours, and after 7 days you will see a 60-70% drop in leads generated. The within 48 hour timeframe will guarantee that the prospect remembers your site and the material he/she viewed. You will also diminish the chances that a competitor has called the prospect and is “first at the table” for purchasing discussions.<br />2. The Representative must specifically address the content that was viewed <br />Each person that searches the web has a specific purpose. According to my colleague, Michael Brenner “it is important to understand the human element: these are real people with real pains. The search term used and the content found are big clues.” It is essential that the follow up call not only reference the specific piece of content that they viewed but immediately direct the discussion to the reason for this search, and the broader needs and pains of their company. It is very likely that the prospect has viewed several sites and looked at multiple pieces of content, so even if they cannot recall your specific piece, you want to be sure you can have a business discussion around multiple issues that he/she might be having. The Representative also needs to have the specific piece of content available in case the prospect would like it re-sent. The business discussion we have with our prospects can be incredibly valuable to our business as we want to be sure that we not only gain leads from these calls but also gain valuable business intelligence about the company, the contact, and the current needs, so that we can further nurture the prospect, or discuss solutions or services we offer that were not viewed.<br />3. Representatives must be prepared for the follow up call, and have additional assets ready<br />Training our representatives for the call is an integral part of the success of any program. We cannot assume that the prospect only wants to discuss the one piece of content they viewed, or that is their only need and pain. The follow up discussion should be focused on the company as a whole and not simply the one responder. One responder can lead us to several opportunities within the company if the discussion we have is centered around the needs and pains of the company and not only one product or service. The representative needs to have many assets at the ready, as people like to view products or services in various ways. Some people prefer whitepapers, demo’s, trial offers, benchmarking studies, so we must be sure we have these ready as it will aid us in increasing our lead count and subsequent ROI. Train your Representatives in your product or service portfolio, and how to map the prospect to it, and you will see a quick increase in the success of your responder program.<br />4. Create a proper nurture program for all responders in the information phase<br />We should never assume that all responders are looking to buy something from us today. Proper sales training will teach you that you need to begin discussions with a prospect “Before” they have actually realized all of their pains and needs, and the implication it has on the company as a whole (SPIN selling methodology). You must create a specific and robust nurture program to ensure that all responders that are not immediate leads are not discarded. If our representative makes a valuable call then they gain several pieces of business intelligence about the company and the contact. This information should be utilized for further nurture and discussion with the prospect so when they are ready to begin a sales cycle you are the first company they engage with.<br />5. Clear and concise goal setting and reporting metrics to understand the Tele results<br />This is very important to anyone that cares about budget and ROI. We can never simply look at sales and determine success or failure of any Tele Web program. We need to begin by setting realistic goals for our volume of responders, leads generated and subsequent pipeline and revenue. This can be accomplished by implementing a “testing phase” to the program to gauge the value of different web sites, different content, different Vendors, and the follow up calling approach. Make certain you choose the pilot program that best meets all of your goals, as the goals are fully dependant on your product and the marketplace. Whatever Vendor you use for your pilot programs make certain they offer full detailed reporting to you, so that you are provided full visibility into each responder from inception of response to sale. These reports are incredibly valuable as the numbers will dictate the future of your program as well as allow you to constantly decrease costs and increase ROI.<br />6. Continually optimize the content / sites<br />The web is constantly changing, and you need to be able to change with it. Every week you should be receiving an update on the various web sites and pieces of content you have out there. This weekly report will show you the volume of responders and where they came from in a stack ranking. Do not be afraid to change the bottom 20% of your content frequently. This will allow you to always have the most interesting collateral on the web for your prospects to view, and will serve to increase your volume and decrease your cost per responder. Remember the more specific you are with your web content and placements, the more difficult it is to bring in a large volume of prospects. We can never dictate what people will be interested in, and that is why changing the content is so important.<br />7. Create the optimal Tele program for the responders<br />Let’s face it, cost can be everything, and every dollar spent is a dollar taken off of the overall profit. This is clear when we set up our Tele follow-up program. We have many options for our responder phone call as we can choose an outside Vendor to make the calls for us, or utilize an “In House” group to handle it. There are many pros and cons to each, and the true determining factor is your company structure and the product or service you sell. If we have an internal sales force that will make sure to follow all the “Best Practices” for the responder call, then clearly that is the most cost effective approach. Many times we find that large companies have “Bag Carriers” that are more concerned with closing current business, and hunting Elephants, than calling a responder. In this case a Vendor is the correct choice, as the Vendor can utilize their existing infrastructure and tele expertise to provide you with a large ROI. Either way make certain that you investigate both choices very carefully, as this can certainly determine success or failure of any Tele Web program you create.<br />