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Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008 at 11:46 am

Increasing “Qualified” Leads From Your Website

By Bryan Eisenberg
December 3rd, 2008

When you ask salespeople about their biggest gripe about marketing, they complain about not enough qualified leads. You can often tell that this is an issue just by looking at a company’s lead forms. What you’ll typically see is that the the forms ask for too much information and that can hinder conversions from visitor to lead.

Marketers are often measured by the number of leads they generate. Sales people are measured by sales. Marketers don’t want to be held accountable for sales because they aren’t actually selling. Sales people criticize “poorly qualified” web leads. This all leads to a lot of tension.

The Consequences of “Low Quality” Leads

In fact, in a survey conducted by Omniture and InsideSales.com they set up aliases, such as John@xyzcompany.com, and completed the lead or request information form of 700 different companies, several different times. Then kept track of their lead response and nurturing strategies and found:

  • Average email response time: 19 hours, 31 minutes
    *Optimum response time should be within the first hour
  • Average phone response time: 36 hours, 57 minutes
    *Optimum phone response time should be within the first five minutes
  • How many companies even responded?
    *Only 47.3 percent responded via email, and just 7.5 percent responded via phone!

Web-generated leads decrease effectiveness by over 6x in the first hour according to InsideSales.com.

Obviously, there is a huge disaster in the making. Marketers have potential customers who indicated some level of qualification to buy from your company and sales people who practically refuse to respond. In the end everyone loses out.

Five Steps to Solving the “Lead Qualification” Problem

1. Identify which sources of traffic generation are creating improved qualification rates and ideal close rates. You need to have the analytics and a CRM / sales workflow system that helps you close the loop from marketing all the way through the close of the sale.

2. Identify which offer types improved qualification rates and close rates. Understand your personas and what actually matters to them. Spend time testing and refining offers and generating additional content that you can prove matters to your prospects.

3. Improve your method of qualifying and capturing leads. Test your lead forms to find the right balance of questions that keep the quality and lead count up. Use a platform that enables you to capture web activity (pages/content viewed, tool/calculator interactions) and include that information in the customer profile for sales. This usually involves tagging content to identify its value in the sales and buying process. Content tagging is so simple when you use Persuasion Architecture.

4. Improve your method of distributing leads. Often times the delay in getting form submissions responded to is your internal process of routing leads to the appropriate sales person. This should never be a manual process considering you lose a leads effectiveness with in the first few minutes. Think about it, the last time you submitted a form on a site, when did you want the response to your inquiry. Now! So do your prospects. Use a platform that will automatically distribute leads based on the profile of the customer you have collected through their visit(s). Distribution is often based on geographic region, company size, product/service they are interested in, etc. Either you can have the prospect fill this out in a form or most of this information can be collected and gleaned by web activity.

5. Improve your lead response time. When marketing aligns with sales using effective content planning, integrating the customer buying process with the company’s sales process, distributing leads that have not been turned off by your processes (and horrendous forms), providing sales people with details that matter to them about the prospect’s interests and motivations and then distribute those leads effectively, their isn’t a salesperson who wouldn’t want to respond to that kind of “qualified” prospect right away.

Do you need help generating more qualified leads? We are here for you.

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Comments (26)

  1. Great post Bryan. We are always trying to do more with the leads that we are generating. We have consistently found that a timely response to a lead (i.e. ASAP) has had a significant impact. Particularly when following up by phone. We find that when we are talking to prospects many of the others that they had contacted don’t end up following up and if they do it is by email and not by phone. So for us a quick contact by telephone has worked to our advantage.

  2. [...] All of the SEO tips and tricks in the world won’t matter if you can’t convert those visitors to leads.  And even better – produce qualified leads.  FutureNow steps in with 5 steps to solving the “Lead Qualification” problem. [...]

  3. Leads should be handled like French Fries. Promptly on the counter. Forget slice and dice your leads qualified to death. You don’t care if a fries is longer or thicker than the other, if the one has 3 grains of salt or 10. As long as they are fresh, firm, hot and crispy. Having a process in place to get leads into the hands of the sales guy (not the outsourced call center!!!!) improves closure rates tremendous.

  4. Great article.
    My small photography business (just me) has seen a lot more customers coming from my website since I put a really simple contact form on every page together with my phone number. When I respond fast by phone to inqueries (e-mail or phone) many seem almost shocked that I get back to them at all.

  5. Bryan, thanks! Really interesting!

    I know this will sound a bit counter intuitive at the beginning but bear with me…
    From my experience, one of the most practical ways to assure a quick response time is to make sure you are getting LESS leads. The RIGHT leads. Which allows you to respond immediately.
    Many companies try to get EVERY single visitor passing by to contact them. For companies with a lot of traffic that isn’t always the right approach because sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more effort on making sure the visitor understands what he is signing in for.
    That promises that those “fewer” who contact you can get the fastest response.

  6. @Marita I love that analogy :-)

    @Tal Agreed. You often see this by companies who share very little about their product or service just so you HAVE to speak to a salesperson, instead of letting the customer make their own decision by putting the information on the website.

  7. It may well say something about my market/target audience but I never get leads or enquiries of any kind. Just sales.

  8. Hi Bryan,

    A few of us came to your Boston, MA training last year and since have been testing everything. Being a home services company, we use our sites to generate leads and constantly test the contact form to better qualify leads. Thanks!

  9. wow, what a great post, i had a client presentation this morning and one of their campaigns had over 20% conversion rates, and i found key weaknesses of their signup process with some improvement they could get even higher rates

  10. I agree with Tal. There is a lot to be said for positioning the lead with the right amount of information so that they can qualify *themselves*.

    If you try to qualify them with to many questions, it can also lead to the wrong type of lead coming through.

    I have found that long forms can land you with lots of “Methodical” prospects, and they are often not who you are looking for.

    Of course, the amount of information that you give out can be tested against your lead to sale conversion rate.

  11. Amazing article. I’m heavily busy with conversion tactics. It’s a hard life if all you want to do is code but you have to convert people too!

    It’s ok, it’s all about learning.

  12. Why not identify your website visitors by company name.
    Then you qualify them as leads by pages visited, time on pages, number of returning visits, …

  13. You can actually speed up lead distribution with the use of a lead manager. A number of them are web-based, so you can work on them 24/7. This way, you don’t only get to assign your leads promptly, but you can also monitor them anytime you like. It will also help the business if they can come up with the most ideal lead assignment scheme for the sales team.

  14. [...] to an unrelated but problem-specific article written by Brian Eisenberg over at GrokDotCom on Increasing “Qualified” Leads From Your Website, he discusses the results from a survey conducted by Omniture and InsideSales.com in which they [...]

  15. Great post, we are a home services company, so we are always trying to improve our lead quality. We have found that faster response time is the key.

  16. it is staggering how many companies have cut back so much on personnel that they can no longer service their customers basic needs. how do they actually intend to stay in business?

  17. Nice information.

  18. It’s a Nice article! I like very so much.

  19. Thanks for any Moody’s good.

  20. Bryan,
    From your experience and data, which traffic source is best for converting good clients for home appliance repair companies?

    Thank you.

  21. Great article really, I am facing the same problem right now and i hope this article will help me to get more leads from my website

  22. Very interesting article, I am going to try some of the advice given. Thanks!

  23. “Which traffic source is best for converting good clients for home appliance repair companies?”

    I would like to know this as well.

    Thanks

  24. In fact, traffic is just the beginning. It’s the easy part. The hardest part and the real influence on the marketing model is the rate at which convert the potential customer traffic or sales. Improved site conversion is the most important lever you can pull to increase its customers.

  25. One of my biggest problems with conversions I’ve found is being untargeted. So, instead of chasing keywords I’m optimizing pages that already get the majority of my traffic. I think this will be much more effective.

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Bryan Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark and Always Be Testing. You can friend him on Facebook or Twitter.

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