Think back to when you needed to buy something from a retailer in your town. You had a need today, so you got into your car and drove to the store. You went up to the counter and there was no one in sight to help you. Finally someone approaches you, long after you started thinking about leaving to go somewhere else. You asked for the item and you were told it was not available. You leave disgruntled after making the effort to go there, waiting too long, and ultimately not getting helped.
This is the feeling potential buyers are getting when visiting many large companies’ websites according to a survey done by Velocify called The Fortune 100 Online Buyer Experience Study. Click here to download the study.
It is unbelievable that in 2014, there are still big brand companies with poor response to people who are looking to buy their products and services.
According to the study, one-third of leads submitted NEVER receive a phone call. You have a potential buyer and you don’t follow up? That’s like trying to win the lottery without ever buying a ticket. You can’t win if you don’t play. As I wrote recently about the power of the telephone - a phone call can get to your buyer faster than anything. Simply by following up with inquiries to your website you will beat the competition.
Next, the study revealed a very slow response for those who were contacted. 67% of the inquiries for this study did receive a phone call – 3-1/2 days later on average! Most of us expect a call within 24 hours, and earlier research has proven that leads coming to your website should be followed up within one minute (yep, that’s right) in order to receive the maximum success. 10% of the companies in the study called potential buyers back one full week later – that is like my retail experience mentioned above – why even bother at that point?
The final step to succeed against your huge industry counterparts is to follow-up more than they do. The study revealed that only 10% of the buyer inquiries in this study received an optimal amount of follow-up, which has been found to be 5-7 calls. This is a professionally persistent number, especially when someone has gone to your website and displayed behavior indicating interest in your products or services.
Bottom line is that 80% of the leads were ignored or they did not get enough follow-up to convert. What that means is that marketing dollars are being wasted, and the big guys are missing out on opportunities literally being handed to them.
There is fantastic news for the little guy – you can do these 3 simple things to compete and win business in a playing field of companies of any size. To review:
- Give potential buyers a way to easily reach you on your website. We use a simple system on ours created by vCita, but most any form could work for you.
- Follow up as soon as possible – no later than 20 minutes if you can. Research shows that responding to an inquiry within one hour improves your probably of converting a lead to closed business by 36%. Set yourself up to win.
- Make at least 5-7 contacts by phone or by personalized email. We love the phone and encourage you to make as many of those connections by phone, with a good tandem email message. Since you can automate the initial email response, your first contact can be automatically done instantly and we encourage that as well. Consider a human plus automated strategy for success.
If you do these three things, you will be heads above your very large industry counterparts and have a very good chance to win more business.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.