Sales and marketing teams need to accelerate lead response time. And the truth is email marketing does just that. Get a load of this: The modern consumer accesses products instantaneously, and they move away just as fast. If your marketing does not showcase that it fulfills a need at the exact moment your customer needs it, you are done! “Speed to lead” is everything, and email marketing is one of the best ways to ensure that your brand engages your customers immediately at an advantageous point of contact. The same can be said whether you are an admissions rep at a college or work in group ticket sales at a large venue. Before we get into the whole gamut of marketing techniques and lead response times, let’s look at a few ground statistics. Drift conducted a survey last year that showed some pretty confusing (and alarming) results:
- More than half of B2B companies aren’t following up with leads at all
- Of the surveyed companies, only 42% responded within a five-day timeframe and 58% never responded at all
- 90% of all companies surveyed didn’t respond in under five minutes
Doesn’t it seem alien that in a tech-savvy, engagement-hungry environment, marketers are passing up perfectly qualified leads? It’s because a lot of companies are still sticking to manual sales practices that build major delays in response times. For example, a lot of marketers retrieve leads from CRMs daily, instead of in real time. Internal routing practices are also wired to prioritize your business, not prospects. Sales teams (especially lesser organized, understaffed teams) are too busy generating their own leads to follow up on in-bound signals. Every minute counts when it comes to lead generation, and so does every lead itself! Not only that, but it’s important to balance the efficacy of your sales team’s response time, along with the degree of personalized outreach they can manage. Email marketing, and automated triggered emails, as well as chatbots, are a great way to capitalize on engaging with customers in that magical first five minutes of time. Email has a much larger capability than sending the typical monthly newsletter not everyone reads. Proper email marketing can accelerate your lead response time into a highly competitive space. Let’s take a look at the science of lead response time before we move into how email marketing can create new possibilities for your online campaign. A look at lead response time The modern lead tends to spoil very fast. If you catch a lead with any form of online marketing, you should look to engage them within the first 30 minutes after that initial contact. If you do not, then your ability to engage them at all is reduced by a factor of 100, according to Forbes. The same report states that if the first call is made 5 hours after the submission of a lead, the chance of making contact drops by a factor of 3,000. At the same time that leads are spoiling faster than ever, most companies are producing sales teams with slower response times to inbound leads than ever before. Companies surveyed by InsideSales took an average of 38.35 hours to send out a response – unacceptable if you consider the findings just above. 4 ways a business can reduce their lead response time organically are:
- Crank up the volume of leads dropped in the top of your sales funnel (but limit the number of leads you send to your sales team)
- Increase the speed at which they move through the funnel
- Increase the conversion rate at the bottom of the funnel
- Re-engage lapsed users
With live sales teams slowing down, email is becoming a more viable alternative by the day. Not only does email provide a platform for faster engagement, that engagement can be automated and directed in very specific ways, free of human error. Here’s how email marketing accelerates lead response time:
The number one reason to engage automation within an email campaign is simple: speed, speed, and more speed. Marketing automation allows you to send an email as soon as you create a lead, solidify the initial relationship and spend the rest of your time nurturing the lead in subsequent communications. Automation also creates the opportunity for speedier acquisitions through multichannel outreach. No matter how talented an individual may be, a live sales agent can only make one call at a time. An automated program that can send a well-written, personalized response instantaneously to many leads at once. Unlike live customer acquisition and lead generation campaigns, email campaigns can be fully automated. Computer systems do not need a break, nor do they misdial numbers, get sick, or have off days in the office because of personal problems. With the right automation system, you set your storyline and your send triggers and wait for results to analyze. Tweak, reset, and repeat until the speed of an error-free process bring you the results you have been looking for. Sales and marketing professionals find email to be the most effective tactic, and the least difficult to execute. With advances in email automation technology, it’s easy to track if an email has been opened or not, where it was opened, what type of device it was viewed on, how long the email stayed open for, whether the email was saved, forwarded, or sent to trash, and so much more.
Targeting content to a buyer profile ensures that the message in the email hits home. Emails should now be personalized by the data points that you collect in your information grabs. Scotts collects past purchase information, as well as geographical location, to send out targeted products and helpful tips to their subscribers. Groups of prospects can be targeted at once through these data points. This process allows for mass targeting that does not seem like a mass campaign. Target your new customers by location, product interest, previous purchases, or any other data point that you deem important. Despite the stereotypes, automated content is anything but impersonal. As a matter of fact, the time that you save by targeted group emailing can be used to section those groups into targeted partitions. For instance: You may have one buyer’s profile for new customers, another for repeat customers, yet another for people under age 35, still another for leads cultivated from a particular niche message board, and so on. Each group gets its own email specific to the engagement that occurred.
People prefer to engage companies through the medium they choose. You never know when your potential customer will be on his or her mobile device. They may want to access you from a laptop with a different email. Perhaps they are looking to you to answer a query on Facebook (which you should do in less than 60 minutes, according to Edison Research). New leads can be easily targeted through AdRoll or Facebook ads. Not only that, but they can be followed for remarketing purposes if you have their emails. Lead your target down the funnel more quickly when you have the means to contact them continuously. In any case, if you have the ability to aggregate communications from all of your active communications channels, then you can cull those points of contact into an acceptable lead response time. As stated before, you may want to create a new buyer profile for communications from each channel. You can then send out specialized emails for that group, saving your company the time of addressing common queries one by one while preserving the look of a natural, personalized response.
Shopping online is much different than shopping in a store. In a store, a sales associate can interact and answer questions while the shopper is on your floor. A shopper online can view pages, digest information, and leave without them speaking to one of your staff. But there’s a way to see the actions these shoppers take online. If your customer views a particular pair of shoes from your catalog, set up a coupon for that specific shoe for the next email – and do it immediately. This is a great way to incorporate an abandoned cart email strategy for retail stores. This type of data can make your emails much more personalized and targeted to individual contacts. Combining this data and segmenting contacts based on any information collected can turn your email campaigns into a revenue-generating machine.
The faster you know about the history of your leads on your website, the more informative your sales agent can be when a call does finally take place. Lead alerts are an essential tool that your company can use to become extremely quick on the draw in terms of sending a response to an interested party. The real time lead alert serves as a real-time snapshot for your sales or service teams. Our platform gives you the power to send out an email to your team based on the behavior of your prospects. Not only does this help to personalize the communication, but it also makes that communication more timely. For instance, if a customer clicks a new product link in an upsell email, your sales team can be notified to follow up quickly before the window to sell closes. Wouldn’t your sales team want to know if old leads resurface by viewing the pricing page? We’d think so. The lead alert can be an especially poignant tool if you gather the right information from your contacts. Here are some metrics you should be sure to catch:
- Web pages that the lead visited to come to the information grab
- How much time the lead spent on the previous pages and on the lead page
- Lifetime history of actions on your website and information on all visits
After you engage with your leads in a timely fashion, you’ll want to continue tracking how they engage with your emails and your content. Incorporating a scoring system into your email platform will easily show you your top performing leads. But how do you score leads? It’s simple. Many email marketing platforms, including Delivra, will give contacts a certain number of points for specific actions they take. Points for opening, clicking, or forwarding an email or even points for viewing specific pages or making a purchase. You could give out negative points for not opening an email or take all points away for an unsubscribe. In this way, you can note the prospects who have become disengaged with your brand. You can send them a follow-up email to re-entice them, or you may choose to focus on customers with a high score – the ones who seem most interested and may convert into loyal customers. You can learn more about our Engagement Scoring system here. Engage new leads faster with email marketing Every business worth their buck in B2B today, has to have email automation – there’s no two ways about it. At every important touchpoint in the customer journey, there should be an instant trigger email response that’s customized, relevant, and personal. Even if they don’t directly lead to a conversion, they might buy you a few minutes of loyalty—which is so important in today’s attention-deficit age of marketing. Add it to your repertoire as quickly as possible—these consumer trends show no signs of reversing themselves anytime soon.