Your Lead Generation activity has worked!! Enquiries are hitting your website, which is beautifully designed and provides clear and concise company, product and contact information. However, people take you up on your invitation to "Contact us for further information".
Handling the resulting contacts is an integral part of the Marketing Pipeline. The responses you provide contribute to whether Leads progress through or exit from your pipeline.
Remember that they have taken time to compose an email or to call, so have a more than passive interest in your product or service. Any response must be timely and attempt to nurture the Lead. The challenge is to ensure that the response process minimise the number of Leads you accidentally exit and maximises qualification opportunities & intentional exits.
Example: We recently purchase a new refrigerator, but required a Left Hand Door opening. A particular manufacturer has a product portfolio which covers two different door specifications:
- Right Hand Doors – see picture.
- Reversible Doors – allows the end user to customise whether the door opens Left Handed or Right Handed.
Having found a product we liked, it was not clear from their website whether the product had the correct door, which resulted in a contact from us to clarify the specification … "I am interested in your retro refrigerator XYZ123, however from the description and picture I notice it only has a right-hand opening. Do you do a left-hand opening version?"
Despite the clear statement of interest in the product and question regarding specification, the response from the Reception Desk of the manufacturer was … "Hello, I am afraid we only offer in our range of retro refrigeration the right hand side hinge opening and unfortunately the doors are not reversible."
At this point we gave up and investigated a similar product from SMEG. We accidentally exited their pipeline.
In the current economic climate, no business, large or small can let Sales opportunities slip through their fingers and allow leads to accidentally exit their Marketing Pipeline. Even if the enquiry cannot be satisfied with an exact match, the response process should to designed, to maintain a dialogue, in order to verify the requirement and level of interest and if necessary switch sell an alternative product, if one is available.
The above manufacturer, had numerous Left Hand Door refrigerators in their portfolio, but never suggested an alternative product. Proposing alternatives, could have kept is in their pipeline a little longer and avoided us purchasing from a competitor.