Five-minute marketing rule

You’ve heard the story … Web leads suck, right? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. Well, listen up as we’re about to explore some astounding realities that just could go a long way toward changing your tune to … Web leads rule!

First, let’s define a Web lead. It’s an inquiry that could come your way from one of the major Internet lead providers. Or, it could simply be an inquiry (form submission) from your website or landing page(s) — maybe an estimate or consumer guide request or possibly a sweepstakes entry. However the lead gets to you, it almost always requires a response on your part; usually it’s an effort to set an appointment. This is where things can, and often do, go bad.

Imagine going to Nordstrom on a Wednesday morning and asking to talk to a sales rep about a pair of shoes and the salesperson says they will be happy to help you Friday morning. Ridiculous, right? The fact is, the same is true for responding to inbound Web leads. Immediate service is critical to your success.

In fact, research from Harvard University and others shows Web-submitted leads convert 22 times more often when you make contact within the first five minutes. Here are some more astonishing statistics regarding Web leads:

• The odds of contacting a Web-submitted lead increase 21 times if your response is within five minutes versus 30 minutes.

• 63 percent of companies fail to respond to their Web leads within one hour (which still isn’t good), 24 percent fail to respond within one day, and 23 percent fail to respond at all.

• 25 percent of companies surveyed think they respond to their Web leads within five minutes when in reality only 5 percent actually do.

• The first company to contact a Web-submitted prospect has a 238 percent higher rate of conversion than the second. (Holy Better-Get-To-Them-First, Batman!)

The message is pretty clear. Share these realities with all your employees so they can see the importance of the five-minute rule.

How to convert more web leads

What does it take to efficiently convert more of your Web leads? Three things: speed, skills and persistence. Web leads are different than many other types of leads so let’s examine each of these three components of success.

Speed. The aforementioned stats make it very clear that how quickly you are able to respond to a Web inquiry will likely have the biggest impact on your success. Be sure you are leveraging technology (industry-specific CRM) to upload these Web submissions from your Web pages and/or lead providers into your database. Immediately alert your staff members in real time via email, text messages, alerts, etc.

Skills. In most cases, following up on a Web lead requires an outbound phone call to attempt to schedule an appointment. Now listen closely here. Too many companies simply “wing it” on this step. Get some script training for your staff on how to effectively set appointments on the phone.

Persistence. Statistics show that it often takes multiple attempts (average of five) to make contact with these Web leads (the average is one and a half attempts). Additionally, even if you make contact, many of these leads don’t convert immediately to appointments or sales. Here’s where you should rely on a “nurture marketing” program to be sure these valuable contacts don’t fall through the cracks throughout time.

Action Plan: Have a brainstorm meeting with your marketing staff to discuss this critical business strategy and lay out your plan of attack. It must include a commitment to treat your Web leads like gold.

In today’s new normal, it’s all about sales and marketing efficiency. The companies that set out to identify and execute the little things that separate themselves from their competition will be the winners. QR