Speed-To-Lead is the Key Component to Increase Revenue and Grow Franchise Systems, Especially in Franchise Digital Marketing
by Hillary Lyon, Director of Franchise Success
Are you frustrated with the lead process and feel you are losing prospects to a black hole? Are you having trouble closing the sale or not getting the desired conversion rate? Sales professionals and business owners often complain about lead quality. However, the real issue is lead response time. Speed-to-lead is the time it takes to contact a lead, measured from the moment they opt-in. For example, if a customer submits a request for an estimate and a sales agent calls them 4 hours later, the speed is 4 hours. Lessening this time is critical in franchise digital marketing.
The rate of business is constantly evolving, and time is a finite resource valued above money. We have seen that people will pay extra for expedited processes to avoid lines or for superior customer service. In digital marketing, the speed at which you contact the lead can make the difference between closing a sale and losing a lead entirely. Lightning-fast response time is your competitive advantage in today’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) market or if you are providing professional services. By using forms and other methods on your landing pages, you can accurately measure the time it takes to contact the prospective customer. Unless you have a sophisticated tracking or reporting system, it is a challenge to understand lead generation and attributed sources. Often even with these tools, a clear picture or history of lead generation still may not be illustrated.
Our world is built upon convenience and instant gratification, so the lead will go cold the longer it takes to connect with them. Even worse, the sale could have already gone to your competitor. Speed-to-lead goes beyond leaks in your sales pipeline. How we make buying decisions has changed, we can find more information and conduct research online. One can use a website to inform the user, provide downloadable content with information, and connect with the buyer. Depending on how they navigate a site, their interactions, and behaviors — a lead can be prioritized. For example, if they fill out a form to request an estimate or they call you directly, they want to move forward now. To meet their expectations, you must deliver right away, so response time is paramount.
According to Search Engine Journal, a quarter of searches result in users choosing the first option. So, one out of four prospects will go with the first company they connect with. Therefore, being the first vendor to contact the lead every time is essential, resulting in more sales and growth. If someone is trying to book a professional service at their home or residence, they are typically busy and have a small window to find a provider. Even if you have the highest quality leads, sales success often depends on how quickly you make contact. Since we are all busy, every minute matters. Calling a lead within the first minute boosts the conversion rate by 391 percent. If you call after one minute, the close rate drops by almost two-thirds. There was a Lead Response Management study that examined response times in correlation to conversion rates. It found that the goal should be to always respond within five minutes. Prospects are 100 times more likely to be responsive than when waiting an hour or more for a reply. They also found that the sales team is 21 times more likely to qualify a lead when they reach out within five minutes. A Harvard Business Review study illustrates that this is because online leads do not last long. They found that when a prospect isn’t called within the first day, the chance of qualifying the lead drops by 6,000 percent! Their findings also reported that only 37 percent of businesses respond to leads within one hour. Even worse, 24 percent took more than 24 hours, and 23 percent were non-responsive. Therefore speed-to-lead is a huge opportunity to capitalize on leads and beat your competitors.
5 ways to improve speed-to-lead:
- Optimize your landing pages, use conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies to encourage capturing customer information as a lead.
a. Have a clear Call to Action (CTA)
b. Understand engagement and the user journey
c. Target high quality leads on all channels and drive traffic to conversion
d. Optimize estimate and lead forms
e. Close the uncertainty gap with information to gain trust
- Use lead data and reporting to help collect and analyze performance.
a. Understand demographics of your ideal customers
b. Track your KPIs to understand response time- success rate, average lead response time, number of leads, conversions and interactions
c. CRM integration to understand customer journey and pain points
d. Look for improvements and close gaps
- Route leads within a workflow and automate prioritizing them.
a. Pre-qualify leads and determine priority
b. Route to best individual or call center
c. CRM integration to tell the whole story
- Leverage technology, chatbots, email automation, SMS, and self-service downloadable documents.
a. Design automated workflows
b. Answer before they ask, have FAQs and train
c. Create a booking tool or estimate form to automatically schedule appointments and integrate with CRM and necessary systems
d. Use SMS and chatbots to increase response time and likeliness of the sale, ideally in first minute and less than 5 minutes
e. Drip campaigns and automation of follow-through
f. Many doing own research, provide downloadable PDFs and information which also captures lead data and initiates drip campaign
g. Purchase lists and market to new prospects on multiple channels
h. Seasonal campaigns to reach the local market and geographic location of your business and service area
i. Offer a fast pass or high priority VIP type service
- Track your speed to lead to find drop-off and continually improve the process.
a. Identify bottlenecks in the process
b. Develop strategies to improve lead response time
c. Find the pattern of drop-off to streamline
Admittedly, this is a lot to consider and manage — ChoiceLocal is here to help. We have proven strategies and approaches to help grow your business and franchise system. We are the top-performing agency in franchise digital marketing and the only one backed by a guarantee. Our digital marketing strategies are driving growth across more than 50 franchise systems, and we are adding new franchise systems every month. We drive growth for franchisees with new customers, job applicants, and help the brand with franchise development. ChoiceLocal averages 282 percent growth across our franchise partners in new customer inquiries and job applicants. Our Mission is simple: Help Others. Schedule a 15-minute discovery call today to find out how we can help grow your franchise system with excellent customer service and support. Our team will provide a Complimentary Growth Strategy and we would enjoy partnering to help exceed your goals.
ChoiceLocal is a franchise marketing agency dedicated to leading a purpose-driven business as the first and only franchise marketing agency with a money-back guarantee. This has led to successful partnerships with more than 50 franchise brands and a spot on the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies. Our core values are driven not only by the digital marketing work that is done but reflected in each person that becomes a teammate; we volunteer in our local communities every quarter and make a difference to those around us. Named a top workplace for four years straight, ChoiceLocal is dedicated to making the lives of everyone we are involved with better.