Converting Enquirers into Purchasers
Enquiries and leads can be hard to generate. Hard-earned budget is spent on advertising, encouraging people to visit your website or give you a call. Many companies focus on generating new enquiries but don’t convert many of those leads to sales. Imagine how much more successful your micro-business could be if it converted more of those enquiries into sales.
Doing this requires a Lead Management Process. At its most basic, this is simply a system for recording enquiries received and highlighting when they should be chased up or moved to the next step in the purchase process.
There are three key things needed for an effective lead management process; a database, a method for recording sources and progress, and a willingness to contact those leads which haven’t yet purchased.
Using the Database
The database should record both the enquirer’s contact details and any communication with them. Many companies refer to this type of database as a CRM system, or Customer Relationship Management. Other may refer to it as a Sales Management system. The principles are the same regardless of the name given to it.
It should be capable of highlighting which leads are due for a further contact and what the result of previous contacts were. This is most likely to be in the form of a diary, calendar or reminder system.
Recording the source of the lead will prove valuable for determining which forms of marketing provide the most valuable leads, i.e. those most likely to become sales.
How to Contact Leads
Every company and micro-business will have their own preferred way of doing this. Depending on the circumstances, the micro-business as a whole or individual sales staff will have to decide whether the lead should be phoned, visited in person, emailed or written to. Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages.
For example, sending out an email or letter can feel very impersonal, especially if it has a template format. However, it is a quick and easy way to keep in contact. Calling or visiting is likely to be more effective but the lead may begin to feel pressurised and it takes more effort as well as costing more.
There is no right answer and every micro-business has to establish the most effective format for themselves.
A key aspect in the choice of database is the ability to provide reports. Most systems, like Sage ACT!, Salesforce or Goldmine, should be capable of doing this. The reports should indicate how successful the organisation is in converting leads. You could, for example, track the number of new leads generated on a monthly basis together with a conversion rate (the percentage of enquirers that became purchasers) and the average time taken to convert.
This data will be invaluable in identifying which activities are most effective and whether or not you are getting better at it.
If you’re not sure about databases or need more information, read Micro-businesses and Databases for guidance.