Converting leads into customers is part art, part science. But in truth, companies need to put more emphasis on the science part.
Driving more sales shouldn’t be left up to chance. In a landscape where consumers are inundated with options and outreach, it’s the teams that develop a comprehensive, data-driven approach to engaging their leads that will be best positioned to win.
Start building your own winning strategy today. Dive into the details of lead response management, understand what makes it so important, and explore six best practices that can serve as the foundation of your own successful sales process.
The Importance of Lead Response Management
Lead response management is the combination of tools, practices, and processes an organization implements and coordinates to respond to—and ultimately convert—its leads.
In simpler terms, lead response management is everything you do to close a sale once a lead enters your pipeline. Put like that, it sounds pretty important, right?
Here are a few reasons why, in today’s day and age especially, you need to get a handle on your approach to lead response management.
The Life of (Most) Leads Isn’t Long
Lead gen and sales in the 2020s moves at a lightning pace. Prospects can opt in through myriad channels. Leads you purchase also come flooding into your pipeline.
And they can all opt out, go for a competitor, or simply move onto something just as quickly as they came.
Lead response management, then, dictates your ability to strike while the iron’s hot—to get to leads while your offerings (and their interest in them) are still fresh on their mind.
Persistent Follow-Up Drives Results
Many online leads, in particular, might not last for long. But—and this is crucial—some of them do.
Your job, or the job of your lead response management approach, is to make sure you still close as many of these leads as possible.
Because to drive growth, you need to efficiently extract value from your pipeline wherever it’s possible. And that requires not just a fast response but a persistent one.
Repeatable Processes Are Key to Repeating Success
There’s a purpose behind calling this “lead response management” instead of simply “what we do to contact our leads.” It’s about treating your sales approach like a cohesive practice or process, rather than an almost random series of actions and responses. By actually possessing a process in the first place, you give yourself something to perfect.
It’s just like expert consultant Jason Cutter says: The best way to improve your sales process is by actually having a sales process. By tracking, contacting, and following up with leads in a systematic, repeatable way you’re opening the door to successes that can be repeated. And that’s how you grow your business.
6 Lead Response Management Best Practices
So, how do you go about building that ideal process that you can rinse and repeat on the path to growth?
Our biggest advice is to improve what you have, and then continue to make it better and better. Get started by building your process around these six foundational lead response management best practices.
1. Get There Fast
As we alluded to above, in an age where most leads don’t last for long, speed is paramount. Call this lead response time or speed to lead—whatever you call it, the timing is critical.
For most outbound lead generation and sales teams, speeding up your response times comes down to having the right software. You need dialer software at the center of your tech stack that prioritizes your freshest leads, connecting your reps with them as soon as they enter your pipeline.
The numbers on this don’t lie: after just five minutes, you’re 21 times less likely to qualify a lead than when you call just an hour later. And you’ll be 100 times less likely to even make contact with them.
2. Offer a Personalized Experience
While speed will be key to contacting all of your leads, you can’t rely on a one-size-fits-all approach once you get them on the line.
“[Leads] want someone to give them a proper analysis and diagnosis, then a prescription of what is best,” says Jason Cutter. “They want a sales professional to help them figure out what works for them in particular. They want personalization.”
High-volume contact centers won’t be able to understand every lead’s full life story, of course. Still, there are plenty of ways to tailor your sales approach to each individual lead. After all, in our digital age, we wind up with huge amounts of data about our leads.
Each touchpoint or interaction a lead has with your brand generates yet more data. You need to use it to your advantage.
Make room for personalized details in your scripts. Reference past contacts. Move away from the cookie-cutter approach to sales with the help of all that data.
Beyond this, there’s no better way to get personal than to ask questions. Give leads an opportunity to inform you of their contact preferences, as well as their needs, desires, and pain points, and your talented sales agents should be able to deliver a personalized experience that drives more sales.
3. Use a Variety of Channels
Any up-to-date lead response management approach needs to take into account that phone calls are only one channel – and many leads prefer alternatives. That’s not to say phone sales, both outbound and blended, aren’t still hugely important. They are.
But so are text messages, email, chat, and social media. Incorporate more channels into your lead response strategy and you’ll only create more opportunities for your leads to actually respond.
4. Use Those Channels Together
Simply expanding the number of channels you use won’t quite cut it, though. Once again, we have to emphasize that lead response management is about building a cohesive practice. That means creating a sales process that’s more than the sum of its parts. And to do that, you don’t need multichannel outreach, you need omnichannel.
Your contact center software should allow you to utilize your channels in tandem with one another. For example, if a call doesn’t connect, a well-timed text or email follow-up can encourage a callback or help set up an appointment at a time that’s convenient for your lead.
Rather than bombard your leads with contact attempts, use a coordinated, omnichannel blend to deliver a convenient, fluid experience. After all, there’s a difference between persistence and aggression. This will go a long way to supporting TCPA compliance in your contact center as well.
5. Leverage Automation and AI
Luckily, implementing an omnichannel strategy doesn’t have to mean relying on guesswork. To repeat the most effective blend of outreach and reach leads at the right time, there are tools available to help.
Look for a contact center solution that integrates easily with the rest of your tech stack and can feed off lead management and CRM data. Perhaps more importantly, however, your solution should also allow you to set automated, rules-based cadences that trigger contact attempts in different channels as a lead moves through the pipeline.
With the right workflow automation tools, you can set and forget the initiation of outreach—enabling your agents to focus on delivering the winning experiences we described above.
Meanwhile, there are also AI-driven solutions emerging to make scaling and automating your omnichannel outreach even easier. Convoso’s Voso.ai is an intelligent virtual agent software that uses conversational AI to automate text and voice communications, streamlining the way you follow up with your leads.
Voso.ai engages leads via SMS to confirm interest, schedule appointments and callbacks, send reminders, and more. Then, it can even hold fluent, life-like conversations over the phone in order to qualify leads, gather basic information, and transfer them to live agents.
6. Respond to Your Data
The lead response management best practices we’ve covered here will help you build a process that you can replicate even as you add leads, create new campaigns, and grow your business.
But to continue to make improvements, you don’t just need repeatable lead response management, you need responsive lead response management.
Ultimately, the decisions that you make—and the changes you introduce to your sales process—need to be based on hard data. This requires, first and foremost, having reporting tools that offer granular insights and unlock transparency into your operation.
Those analytics along with a flexible mindset to pivot are what will bring in the responsive quality you need.
You won’t always get lead responses right, but with an optimization-oriented attitude and the right tools at your team’s disposal, you’ll be able to effectively improve your organization’s approach. And that’s what lead response management is all about, isn’t it?