If you get your marketing right, you should gain inbound inquiries to help you grow your business. Typically, inbound inquiries are a lower cost of acquisition and should convert more readily since they are theoretically ‘in the market’ for the kind of services you offer.
But that isn’t the full story. Clearly, your marketing needs to work hard if you want to drive inbound leads that are quality opportunities. Leads may arrive through PPC activity, traditional advertising, exhibitions, completion of online forms as a result of email marketing, customer referrals, or any number of other methods of other marketing.
Inbound inquiries are the lifeblood of most businesses. But often, prospects contact several potential service providers. They don’t just knock at your door. This is especially true where the inquiry is driven from an online source. The interest is for a particular type of service or product and the prospect typically fills in an online form and contacts several potential suppliers at the same time. They then wait for the various responses. The exercise, therefore, becomes a beauty parade and the type and speed of response to the initial inquiry is crucial.
Dealing with them quickly and effectively is essential. The problem though is that this doesn’t always happen. In all types of business, the day job takes over and managers are busy. Some companies don’t have dedicated sales staff and inquiries can take a back seat. Equally, despite their apparent warmth and interest, prospects aren’t always available when you call. They’re in meetings, on voicemail, away from their desk and so on.
Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily follow that an inbound lead translates quickly into a warm lead. As a consequence, those that receive the lead need to be on their game. They need to grab the lead and contact the prospect immediately. If they can’t get hold of them, persistence is key. They can’t let it slip since, in business development terms, the early bird catches the worm. Following up swiftly and consistently demonstrates your capabilities. It shows that you care. It shows that you want their business.
However, the above isn’t necessarily the real world. In our clients’ experience, there is a lot of dross when it comes to inbound. You need to sort the wheat from the chaff. It’s essential to profile the leads and build the sales pipeline. If you get a substantial number of inquiries, they need to be managed carefully to ensure that they come to fruition.
Using an agency to receive, follow up and manage the leads ensures that you don’t drop the ball and that the pipeline builds. It will ensure that sales appointments are booked with the right people. It will ensure that the qualification process is carried out correctly and that there is a constant flow of relevant new leads into the sales function. It means that the opportunity flow is maximized over time. It means that businesses identify the most profitable leads quickly and ensure none drop off at the end.
So what are the key benefits of managing the inquiry process using external support:
- No internal overhead and/or deployment of internal resource to key accounts
- The ability to deploy key staff to productive tasks
- Avoid missing key opportunities
- Instant response to incoming inquiries. Genuine opportunities can be hot-keyed direct to the most appropriate salesperson to handle them
- Profiling leads to ensure you identify the hot ones and those that are most lucrative and sift out tire kickers and low-value leads
- Avoid missing out on opportunities due to lack of effective follow-up and management
- Building the customer database for future opportunities and enrich the data for further marketing
- The organization can clearly identify the ROI for the activity over time through analysis of lead numbers and conversions against the cost.
- Maximize the effectiveness of marketing that drives the leads. Without proper follow-up, the investment is wasted.
New sales are imperative for most businesses. And organizations devote time and money to generating new leads on an ongoing basis. It would be a shame if all that energy and investment go to waste. Using an agency to fill in the gaps and manage the process, where the internal resource isn’t set up to deal with larger numbers of leads, could be the difference between a successful year hitting revenue targets and significant missed opportunities.
If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business through managing the inquiry management process via telemarketing or you’d like to book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.