Businesses that have been successful using traditional marketing and sales models and methods tend to treat digital marketing efforts as an addition to what they’re already doing. Leads from the website are seen as the same as a lead from a trade show. For this reason, these businesses frequently struggle to find real success with digital marketing.
In a recent article, How to Transition from Traditional Sales Team to Digital Marketing Organization, we discussed the challenges faced by old school marketers and sellers and the keys to success in leveraging digital marketing.
When a business that relies on sales people for the majority of their revenue begins to experiment with digital marketing such as Pay per Click, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media and other means to connect with potential new customers, there is typically a lack of awareness of the fundamental differences between leads that come through the website as compared to traditional leads from referrals, trade shows, networking and even cold calls.
When a sales person meets a potential customer at a trade show, they may be in the right industry and have a need but, they probably aren’t there shopping for your product. So, as the sales dance begins, there is a lot of education of the prospect to be done.
And if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So, most traditional sales people treat leads from their website the same way they would treat someone they met at a trade show. This is why digital marketing efforts in these organizations struggle to get off the ground.
It’s crucial to understand the typical customer’s buying process in order to match the sales response to leads from all sources, digital and traditional.
In today’s world, most customers know they are empowered to learn just about anything they would like to know with a few searches on the Internet. Therefore, they’re not eager to talk to sales people while they are in the investigation and learning process. When they finally call your company or fill out the form on your site, it’s likely that they’ve already learned what your sales team is so good at helping prospects understand. They’re probably much closer to making a purchase than you think.
Sales Must #1 – Get in Touch FAST!
Getting in touch with new leads quickly is not new. What is new is the definition of “quickly”. When a customer finds your company on the Internet via a search for instance, they probably have scanned a few of your competitor’s sites as well as yours. They probably have filled out forms on your competitors sites too. So, the business that responds first wins. The good news is that your competitors probably don’t fully understand this. If you do it well, it’s likely to be a strong advantage.
The required speed of your response to a website lead will vary depending on the customer and the industry but, a for most B2B marketers, the following rule of thumb applies:
- More than 24 hours – Don’t bother. The odds are your competitor already beat you to the punch and your only chance is if the competitor just couldn’t give them what they needed.
- Within 24 hours – Passable. You’ll have trouble reaching the customer. They may be out of the office the following day. They may have filled out so many request for info that they don’t even remember the name of your business.
- 4 hours or less – OK. When you call the customer they’ll remember why they requested information, etc. It’s still on their mind.
- Within an hour – Good. In most industries, this will make you the first call the customer receives.
- Less than 15 minutes – Great! You’ll almost always beat the competition to the punch.
Understand, we’re not talking about an automated email response here. We’re talking about a phone call from a sales person. Most of your competitors will have their own automated emails going out too.