The business model of a sales funnel shows leads that enter at the top and filter down to become customers at the bottom. The simple logic of this model suggests that to grow what comes through at the bottom as customers, you need to increase the leads that you fill into the top.
“Effective Web marketing that produces leads through quote request forms and phone calls is a proven way to pour more into your funnel,” says Kevin Hourigan, the president and CEO of Web design, Web development and Internet marketing agency Bayshore Solutions. “However, without the right processes and people in place to effectively turn those leads into customers, just turning up the volume on inbound leads can create more chaos than clients.”
Smart Business spoke with Hourigan about how to keep your sales funnel free from roadblocks and improve performance in filtering leads to customers.
What’s wrong with a huge increase in leads?
There are two situations where more leads might not be a good thing: if the leads are unqualified and will never become customers, and if there are more leads than your current structure can handle.
As marketing attracts a population of leads, each business has a certain percentage that will ‘filter out’ for qualification reasons. The challenge lies in keeping the filtering out from being due to reasons like: ‘they never got back to me,’ or ‘they couldn’t answer my questions about the product or service.’
In today’s world of readily available online information, customers are accustomed to getting the information they need quickly. If they can’t get it quickly and conveniently from you, they won’t wait. They’ll move on to your competition.
Why is an immediate response so important?
Numerous studies have shown that the quicker a business can respond to a Web form inquiry, the more likely they are to win that potential client’s business. This is a key aspect in a top performing sales funnel.
If you can immediately reach an online inquirer, impress them, and then set up the next step (an appointment for a face-to-face meeting, an appointment for a detailed project scope discussion call, offering a proposal, etc.), then in many cases you could eliminate your competition.
If you are able to sufficiently impress the inquirer that you are capable and competent as well as establish rapport, then you can interrupt their shopping mode and foster a feeling of: ‘maybe I don’t need to continue shopping right now,’ in your potential customer.
If you don’t provide as immediate a response as possible to your online inquiries, chances are a competitor will. You invest time, money and effort into the SEO, focused messaging and marketing that generates this lead. You don’t want to let a competitor beat you to the pivotally important first contact.