Part one of this two-part series reviewed Web site conversions and gave several examples of how the Web generates leads. This second part looks at how to close Web-based inquiries once a conversion’s taken place. The goal is to provide several strategies for integrating these leads into the sales process and to avoid common mistakes.
It is a big step for Web site visitors to move from the anonymity of reviewing a site to actually contacting your firm. Web site users are moved to action when the content on a Web site motivates them to get more information or buy. This usually happens after several Web sites are visited and researched. If your Web site does its job, it will be easy for Web leads to understand why you’re better than your competitors.
First Mistake to Avoid
The biggest mistake sales teams make is to discount the importance of a Web prospect.
Web leads are quite different from traditional leads because they have already done their homework. Tradition sales leads, who do not research online, may take more sales time and are usually not as prepared. These leads are not necessarily better qualified just because they take more time. Sales teams should spend much more time listening and understanding the Web-based prospect and less time explaining what the prospect has already read or seen on the Web.
Set-Up a System for Web Leads
The second biggest mistake companies make with Web leads is not having a structure or method for following up and therefore generating online sales. Sales people should be reporting on the status of Web leads and tracking all conversions. Sales management should know the time it takes to get back to Web leads and the process for follow-ups. Make sure your sales team is trained to effectively manage leads from the Web site and to take theses leads seriously.
Timing is Critical
The faster your sales team can respond to a Web-based lead, the more trust is built in the firm and the higher the chances of closing. Respond immediately for better results. Web users appreciate this and you can catch them with your company fresh on their mind. In fact, Web-based software allows you to respond to Web leads while they are still on your Web site!
Use E-mail as a ‘Stay-in-Touch’ Program
Many leads will need multiple contacts before they buy, and some may take a few months to become buyers. Use an e-mail ‘stay-in-touch’ program to follow up. This is especially important because your Web-based leads will soon overwhelm your ability to follow up properly. Write valuable e-mail content because important e-mails get read and junk e-mail gets deleted. All Web-based leads should go into the stay-in-touch e-mail program.
Questions to Ask the Sales and Marketing Teams
Here are a few questions to ask your teams about how Web leads are handled:
- What is our strategy for handling Web site leads?
- What are the steps in converting Web leads?
- What is our conversion rate on Web leads?
- Where do Web leads fit in our sales process?
- How do you follow up with leads and sales from the Web?
- What content areas and pages on the Web site generate leads?
- Can we use live chat on the Web site?
- What happens after the sale is closed from our Web site?
Asking your sales and marketing managers these questions will lead to greater success with Web leads.
Tom Young is CEO of Intuitive Websites, Inc., in Colorado Springs, Colo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.