In today’s technological world, there’s the temptation to focus primarily on web, email, and marketing automation solutions to generate business. After all, people are constantly “logged on” right? However, it’s important to make sure human elements are built into your marketing and sales strategy too, particularly at the top of the sales funnel. Here’s why an actual live conversation is so important to the lead generation and qualification process, and why it should not be eliminated:
Helps establish a relationship
What company do you feel more connected to? A company in which you’ve spoken (perhaps on numerous occasions) to a representative or a company in which all of your communication has been via lead forms, emails, and social media messaging? In a competitive business environment where trust is everything, speaking with a real-live person is a way for a business decision maker to build rapport with a company. Many businesses miss the boat by only initiating phone calls once the prospect is further through the sales funnel.
The ability to talk through options
Many service-based offerings are customized today, since no two businesses are the same. Prospects want to know how a service is going to help them specifically. This is information that can’t be found in case studies, whitepapers, or other top of the funnel marketing collateral that is often presented to prospects before the sales team gets involved. This can be a turn off to many prospects. If they aren’t getting personalized attention in the early stages of the sales process, they wonder if they ever will and question whether to buy or investigate the service further. By engaging in a conversation with prospects early on, agents are able to help make the offering relevant to the prospect’s current situation and provide recommendations, making the prospect more confident and likely to move forward.
Provide additional resources and information
Prospects are likely to have many questions early in the decision-making process. No matter how thorough a business website and its corresponding marketing collateral is, it might not be enough to properly answer these questions. The ability to have a conversation with a knowledgeable person at this crucial point is what may encourage a prospect to pursue the relationship further.
To stand out from the competition
Initiating a live conversation early on in the sales process is a way to stand apart from competitors that aren’t making the investment to do so. As we mentioned, establishing a personal connection at the top of the sales funnel helps to build a relationship and trust from the get-go. Even if a prospect isn’t ready to buy immediately, that personal connection will help to keep the company top of mind when the timing is better.
Allocating some marketing and sales budget to allow for live conversations at the top of the sales funnel will help make sure you don’t miss out on important sales leads. The return on investment can be significant if you have the right internal team or outsourced partner to make contact with and be available to your customers and prospects.