Effective Inbound Response Management

Operatix Sales Methodology: Lead Qualification & Inside Sales

 

In a competitive industry like technology, companies spend millions of marketing dollars each year to drive inbound traffic and feed the funnel for the sales team. Once these leads are developed, the leads generated must be promptly identified and quickly categorized from the “hot” leads that need to be responded to by sales quickly to the “colder” leads that will be redirected to marketing for further nurturing.

There is a period of time between a prospective customer identifying themselves through different marketing channels and the sales team making contact and initiating the sales process. To ensure that the inbound sales teaScreen Shot 2015-05-11 at 2.06.01 PMm is quickly and efficiently managing the quantity of leads developed by the marketing activities, the team must implement a multi-channel integrated inbound response solution. This solution should ensure that each prospect enquiry is checked against the master database, contacted by experienced inside sales member, verified, and qualified. The lead must be characterized in the right way and distributed to the sales or marketing team to close the sale or nurture the prospect.

 

Time Frame to Call

The process of qualifying and characterizing leads begins with the first call attempt by the inbound sales team. Ideally, this process should start within the first 2 hours of a new inbound enquiry. One issue that surfaces within internal inbound sales teams is that they are not incentivize to deal with leads quickly, to that extent the team can become complacent with the time to contact a lead and wait 12 hours, days, or longer to call. At this point the lead could have moved on to a competitor or lost interested and momentum to purchase. Furthermore, this is bad from a customer experience perspective and in some instances could lead to the prospect refusing to do business with the company in the future.

What we see around clients programs is that our clients don’t tend to know in which timeframe their prospect inquiries are touched. When they do know, most of them will evaluate the timeframe between the lead appearing in their CRM queue, rather than looking at the timeframe from the actual prospect inquiry to the response. Often we have exposed a timeframe of 1 hour or more before the lead even make it to the CRM queue, because of the synchronization timeframe in between marketing tools (such as: website, marketing automation platforms, or outsourced lead generation) and the creation of the data into the CRM system.

Volume of Touches and Effectiveness

It is imperative to connect with a lead and make them feel valued and important. If the team is unable to reach the lead on the first attempt, every inbound lead in the technology industry must be reached out at least 5 to 8 times before labeling the lead as “non-reachable.”

Every lead should enter a multi-touch process (call and email follow up) if not reachable. The number of touches should depend on the volume of inquiries you receive as well as your average deal value that will substantiate, from a cost of sales perspective, the effort of going after a prospect. Based on the research we have conducted over the years, we realized that the average inbound response team will increase its chances to reach a prospect by at least 3 times more if it contacts him/her in a timeframe less than 2.5 hours from the actual inquiry.

Lead Qualification

Sales people pitching a product or service are calling your leads multiple times a day.   You need to be different and build a relationship with each lead. Developing a relationship will close more deals than the antiquated sales pitch approach of simply reading off a call script.

Make it a conversation! Take the time to get to know your leads needs wants and desires that would help you sell the product or service. The inbound lead qualification and response team must make a positive and a lasting impression on the leads, leaving them wanting to do business with your company. Begin each call striving to answer three questions to learn more about his/her needs and develop a relationship:

  • What is the need of this product or service to this individual, the team, and company?
  • What are the benefits that this individual, the team, and company will get from the product or service?
  • Who are/is the decision makers for purchasing this product?

The call is a time to collect the information you need to map out the decision making process. The Operatix Inbound response team has found that in about 37% of the cases or more the person making the inbound sales call are not the decision maker. They are individual task to look at solution for a problem, but may not be the ultimate decision maker. For more complex software solutions, we often face a multi-buyer type of environment, and understanding the decision making process as well as identifying the different stakeholders is key to improve conversion rate from inbound to close business.

Find out who the different stakeholders are that will benefit from the product or service is something that most inbound response team don’t tend to do. It can be argued that it is simply because it is easier to complain about the lead quality or argue that the lead was not generated at the right level rather than being pro-active and going the extra mile to make the most from the marketing investments and efforts.

Process for Lead Qualification

Operatix recommends a 3-step qualification process for the inbound sales team:

  1. Qualification at the Account Level –check the account and make sure it fits the necessary requirements and qualification criteria to do business before engaging time and effort in qualifying an opportunity
  2. Qualification at the Contact Level –speak with the individual (or the group of individuals) that can make a decision around the solutions. Once again from Operatix research, we see an average of around 60% of the Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) produced across the board originate from a different individual than the person who made the initial enquiry.
  3. Qualification at the Opportunity Level – Have a lead qualification method in place. Operatix qualifies each opportunity based on the BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timing)

Marketing Metric and ROI

Ones the process has gone full circle, each marketing channel’s effectiveness should be identified and ROI should be reported per lead source, from where the lead is coming through to sales being closed. This process gives the necessary statistics to reinvest smarter and more effectively in future marketing programs, building strength behind the marketing, lead generation, and sales long-term.

Operatix: Inbound Sales Success

Operatix has over 12 years of experience building, managing, and developing inside sales programs to delivers ‘C’ level lead generation, in-bound lead qualification, and market services. On average, across all programs, The Operatix team administers inbound response programs that have a record of fast-tracking the sales success of the world’s leading technology companies.

The company works within its clients’ CRM system and follows clients’ procedures in managing leads to sales quality leads (SQL), nurtures opportunities, and delivers leads when they are “sales ready.” The Operatix team has executed and delivered beyond clients’ expectations with ours lead qualification process by:

  • Increasing the return from your investment through demand creation
  • Increasing conversion of lead to pipeline by a minimum of 15%
  • Tracking ROI by source and optimize demand generation activity
  • Increasing revenue
  • Turning social media strategy into results

Operatix conversion rate from marketing qualified leads (MQL) to SQL is 63.4% and the average inbound enquiries characterized as qualified sales leads per sales represented per day are 23 leads. For more information: sales@operatix.net

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