by Peggy Emch
Published on 26 December 2014
The internet has given us the new ability to track large amounts of data over time and compare it within that tracking system. With these applications, organizations are becoming more efficient and profitable by recognizing trends and streamlining their business processes. With these benefits, nearly everybody's tracking something: Employee schedules, client appointments, attendance, inventory, time, customers, tasks, location, classroom data, or any of another hundred possibilities.
Because of this new consumer need, entrepreneurs are jumping on the opportunity to start data tracking businesses. If you're one of them, you should know that following up with leads is the key to keeping business going. This can sometimes get neglected when all the focus is on the software. But believe me, it's critical. We track time and attendance at Timesheets.com, so I know a little something about running one of these successful businesses. Lead management is huge.
There is a whole lot of competition in the world of online apps. Consumers do a simple Google search, which reveals a seemingly endless list of options relating to their need. They then browse the websites of the first and maybe second page of results. Once they've narrowed it down to a few choices, they provide their email address and phone number to finally enter the web application.
This is the moment when the SaaS company has a lead. But guess what, right about the same time, several other companies also have this same lead. While searching for the online service, the consumer just dropped his name into several hats. Which one is going to lock on to the opportunity?
It's easy to neglect leads when you're just starting out. You've got features to build and all kinds of website-related duties to attend to. But if you want to succeed, take customer service seriously and stay on top of those leads. Waiting an hour or even a half hour to make first contact can potentially lose you the sale. A fair amount of research has inspired the potential customer to leave his precious personal details on your website and, chances are, any of those three or four applications will work just fine for him. So, who's going to get the sale? Probably the first one who shows him around. This means that you, the provider, wants to get him to learn your software as quickly and thoroughly as possible. You want him to invest some time in your product so that he doesn't even bother with the others.
But don't stop there! Don't give one demo and assume you've bagged the client. Experienced marketers say that it takes on average seven "touches", or contacts, to land a deal. Some types of businesses will need more, like B2B companies selling products in excess of $10k. Some will need less, like companies selling inexpensive products that people recognize.
Touches aren't just calls. They can be emails too. Touches to a single prospect might look like this:
The actual series of contacts will vary but you can see that it is not difficult to achieve the necessary number of contacts it takes to land a sale.
Caveat: I think it's important to note that the rule of touches is changing in our research-driven, online landscape. Consumers are educating themselves and making decisions without the help of the sales person. The marketer's job is critical now more than ever to produce great emails, websites, videos, and blogs because this is where consumers will learn the most about a company.
With all these "touches" you're going to have to keep track of how many and what type you are making. At our Time and Expense Tracking company we built our own lead management software but there are a number of products designed for small businesses. Salesforce is, of course, the most well-know product. But there are many others like Zoho and SugarCRM. Don't want to spend the time and money on Lead Management software just yet? Check out these creative lead management ideas! There are plenty of do-it-yourself options for lead management.
Inevitably, the majority of your touches are going to come from your automatic emails. So you had better create good ones. This means no typos, a clear thought process, images, and further reading materials. Your emails should be professional, simple, and provide extra resources to get the client hooked on your product. We have designed and redesigned our email series several times but this last time we really paid attention to important marketing strategies in the email welcome campaign. Check out some of the examples in this blog post. They are really useful for helping you design your own.
You're never going to convert every lead but with the right sales process you will definitely convert more of them than you would if you did not follow the steps I outlined. In summary, the keys to making a sale and keeping your head above water in the big wide world of online data tracking companies are the following: