Internet leads can be a fertile ground for new business. But are you making the best use of all those potential leads?

The online business resource, Forbes, posted a worrying article last month, entitled: “Why Companies Waste 71% of Internet Leads”. The article looked at more than 10,000 businesses over 5 weeks and uncovered the following statistics:

·         Average lead response time is 46 hours and 53 minutes

·         Sales rep give up after 1.3 call attempts to leads

·         A mere 27% of leads are ever contacted

These figures show that the average business is throwing money at leads they never properly chase up. The article examines how to boost conversions by 341% and maximise your investment in lead generation. It is well worth reading. Here are some ideas how to help you improve sales……….

1.       Auto respond

Think about setting up an auto-responder. This will send an email to individuals who have completed an online enquiry form, helping to keep your prospects warm. The message can also include latest offers, company news, a link to your FAQ page, etc. It can also better inform the individual about your service or product and prompt them to take certain actions. Auto-responders can also be set up which send information more regularly, weekly bulletins or a monthly newsletter for example, until the prospect is ready to buy.

2.       Use your analytics data to make better sales calls

In Google Analytics (and many other website data systems) you can track enquiries by setting up Goals, and if you are a PPC advertiser then you can put Conversion Code in place. This data can tell you which keywords and adverts lead to a sale and which pages an enquirer visited on your website. If you look in the Network sub-section within the Technology section of the Audience tab, you can see the IP addresses of visitors. Combining all of this data will let you know what information your enquirer was searching form and the page that prompted the enquiry, allowing you to make a more informed sales call.

3.       Nurture your leads

If you provide professional services or sell to businesses, it is highly likely that enquirers will not be ready to buy straight away. It is important that a system is put in place to keep these parties interested while they consider their purchase. Develop some ‘keep in touch’ campaigns that allow you to communicate regularly with enquirers and help you direct them further down the sales path. Such campaigns could include emails, telephone calls and physical items like newsletters, postcards, letters and brochures, with a mix of sales offers, industry news and company information.

Use your social assets

Get closer to your prospects by following them on social sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Here you can learn about their interests and the way they like to work, helping you to develop your relationship. Be careful not to overdo it though, as there can be a fine line between helpful supporter and relentless internet stalker.

5.       Use a sales database

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software allows you to keep on top of enquiries. Building up a database of all sales leads, grouping them up by industry or interest, assigning tasks to each one, tracking progress and much more can be easily achieved in one of the many CRM packages available. With CRM systems available for free and even those that are very popular costing just a few pounds a month, you have no excuse to continue organising your sales activity on Post-It notes and print-outs!