Monday, 16 January 2012

Positioning for Success

My hats off to Barry Baker, Director of Professional Services, Sun Media for this great information that I read on a white paper he created.

In 2007, Dr. Oldroyd of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) published a ground-breaking study which revealed that when following up on sales inquiries, the ”… immediacy of response far overshadows (other factors) in its effect on contact and qualification ratios” (Oldroyd & Elkington, 2007). Leads age rapidly, such that that the window of opportunity to successfully contact and qualify prospects diminishes within minutes. In fact, “… the odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times.” Further, “The odds of qualifying a lead increase by 21x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes.”

Prompt responses often face little competition. The reality is that many small businesses don’t respond at all! In 2010 Cobalt reported that 39% of service leads never received a response (McCann & Kahn, 2010), while more recently it was revealed that, “55% of top companies” in a variety of industries “don’t respond to web leads” ( Research and Analytics Division, 2011).

But response time is just one critical element contributing to online sales success; the content of the response is also a contributing factor. Oftentimes people overlook even seemingly obvious verbiage, such as inviting the customer to the store, or answering a Price Quote lead with a price. And with the advent of comparative shopping services online, customers have become increasingly empowered and well-informed, pressuring small business owners to provide information and engagement that was not necessary when the customer just came to the store.