One of the hardest parts of sales and marketing is qualifying leads and making sure your sales team is only spending time with leads who are likely to become customers.
If they spend too much time talking to people who will never actually pay money to your company, then it's time wasted and money lost.
Not only that, but those hot leads might disappear in the time it takes a salesperson to qualify the person they're talking to as irrelevant.
The secret is to qualify leads before they get to your sales team.
In marketing this has become popularly known as "inbound marketing".
The process of creating content that attracts an audience to your business, then pushing them further down a sales funnel to the point you're sure they're interested in buying, and then having sales reach out.
And it's a strategy that works well.
But what about when a potential lead calls you out of the blue asking to talk to sales?
You've not qualified them. You have no idea if they're relevant.
But you can't turn them away because they might be a good prospect for you.
One thing many businesses (if not all businesses) fail to see, is that a virtual receptionist is the ideal barrier between cold leads and your sales team, and that a virtual receptionist can actually prove to be a useful lead qualifier.
Why a lot of lead qualification ruins your business
Understanding the quality of leads coming into your business, and picking out the best ones, means your sales teams can spend more time on higher quality leads and turn them into paying customers.
If a lead comes to you through your website, the process is a bit easier.
You can use a chatbot to get some basic information. Or you can try and obtain their details by creating relevant content and asking for their email address and some lead qualifying information in exchange.
When someone calls you though, it's different.
If you don't know whether they're a good lead, do you really want to pass them to the sales team and take them away from potentially closing business to deal with someone who's not an ideal prospect?
But with a virtual receptionist you can get the information you need to qualify a lead, before you think about passing them over to sales.
Using a virtual receptionist as a lead qualifier
No business will qualify leads in exactly the same way, but for the most part, they'll gather the same information during the initial stage.
Usually this information will include:
- size of the company
- annual turnover
- number of clients
Asking your sales team to gather this information is a waste of their time.
There's no guarantee the prospect will meet your requirements for a customer, and that's time wasted for the sales team.
You could gain most of this information through your website and marketing.
But if you've got a virtual assistant, you could use them to qualify leads.
All you need to do is pass them your qualifying questions and they can be a screen between your sales team and those low quality leads you want to avoid.
Your virtual receptionist can take the responses, pass them to the sales team and let them decide whether the lead is worth following up with.
If you trust your virtual receptionist, you could even give them a lead scoring template and - depending on the responses to your lead questions - your virtual receptionist can automatically book meetings for your sales team with high value prospects.
With a meeting booked, your virtual receptionist can then pass over the information to the sales team so they can prep for the sales call.
What would this lead qualification process look like?
Give your virtual receptionist a list of lead qualification questions and the answers that represent a good lead.
Your virtual receptionist will take a prospect through the questions and notes their responses.
Then it can go one of two ways.
- The information can be passed to your sales team.
- Your virtual receptionist can automatically book a meeting between the prospect and sales team if they meet your minimum lead quality score.
Whichever process you decide to use, you'll be able to screen out low quality leads and give your sales team more time to focus on closing business.
Cost effective lead management
You could, obviously, have a full time member of staff dealing with incoming enquiries, or have your sales team just deal with them.
But hiring full time staff is expensive. And you have to deal with all the work and admin that goes along with having employees. Things like holidays, sick days, pension contributions. Even covering when they're on a break or go to make a cup of tea.
But with a virtual receptionist, you get the lead management function you want, while only paying for the time you're using. It's more cost effective, more efficient, and overall more beneficial to your sales team and business.
Or, you could just keep forcing your sales team to deal with low quality leads instead of closing real deals.
Copyright 2021. Featured post made possible by Andy Mcgregor, Face For Business