The Website has been optimized, the catalog records are updated, the SEA campaigns are running, say - the building blocks of success are all defined.
Many companies are now faced with the same problem: in addition to the increase of specific requests that can be handled directly by the sales department, many "soft" leads are being generated, which also carry potential for business, but unfortunately also require a certain amount of work for sales recovery.
This can be, for example, website visitors, who search for information about products or services in advance of a planned project, who want to explore potential providers, but who do not want to make any specific request yet.
Lead potential vs. distribution costs
Within the web tracking system such prospects are often visible as they intensively look at the product pages, or download whitepapers and brochures.
The problem of the web tracking data lies in the fact that no individuals but only companies (or technically: the firewalls) are visible and that the apparent behavior does not allow any conclusions about the business potential or their time planning horizon.
Thus, companies are facing a dilemma: of course they would like to take advantage of the business potential contained in the soft leads, but on the other hand sales people (especially in the B2B Sales Engineers) are too expensive to be entrusted with lengthy research tasks.
An interesting option is to have these soft leads to be pre-qualified by a call center services provider.
A good side effect is the possibility to also have other soft leads, which are being generated e.g. by Online Catalogs such as IHS GlobalSpec, being qualified as well.
Outsourcing Lead qualification: initial qualification with or without analysis of the business potential
Different forms of qualification are possible:
The simplest solution is to only identify the responsible decision-maker for a specific topic.
The next level would be to engage in a short conversation with this contact person and to ask him some pre-defined analysis questions to illuminate the concrete business potential of this lead.
Increasing the accuracy of the potential analysis this can be done following the call-mail-call method that consists of the following three steps:
After the identification of the contact person and a short conversation, information is sent (in electronic form by e-mail or also by postal mail - the latter could also contain an "eye-catcher" in form of a small incentive).
This is followed by another call to confirm the receipt and to engage in a more concrete discussion to determine the business potential. If a potential business opportunity comes up, the contact should be immediately forwarded to the sales department. Alternatively, a direct appointment with a sales representative can also be made.
Correct scenario and detailed project planning
Which scenario should be chosen depends, of course, on different factors:
- What kinds of products or services are being sold?
- What is the level of complexity?
- At what level are the decision makers located?
- How much are the average investment volumes?
If these questions are answered, a detailed project planning of the outbound campaign (= outbound calls go to the customer, as opposed to inbound = answering customer calls, e.g. hotline) must take place. In all projects, the following parameters always have to be clarified:
- How many soft leads are being generated? -> Address volume
- How long will the project run? -> Single action or ongoing project?
- Which prospects should be called, at what priority? -> Process to approve the calling lists by the customer, optionally with segmentation (A, B and C customers)
- When to phone? -> Availability of contact
- Intensity at which the prospect should be called? -> Frequency of call attempts, if possible individually segmented
- How to deal with intercepted call (e.g. by the switchboard)? -> End of call attempts or possibly retry after waiting time
- How will the success of the campaign be measured? -> Determine the success rates of various parameters, such as successful calls / hour, call results, obtained information, etc.
- What questions for potential analysis are being presented? -> Development of the questionnaire in cooperation with the sales department
For the determination of the campaign success it is necessary to perform a preliminary pilot project with a small data base. Thus, certain parameters can be determined in advance to make realistic target agreements.
A practical example - lead qualification and potential analysis in the real estate industry
The effective world group offers its customers a comprehensive service in all aspects of online communication. Due to the above problems with the increase of the lead volume through online advertising, the product portfolio has now been expanded to include a service for lead qualification.
The service effective.potentials includes the planning and implementation of telephone campaigns for lead qualification, potential analysis, and information delivery via an in-house call center.
As one of the first of its kind, an ongoing project is carried out with a client in the real estate industry. A list of new website visitors is being extracted from the web tracking system on a weekly basis and then being sent to the customer for approval and prioritization.
Upon return, the call center carries out a telephone investigation to identify the contact person in charge and to then engage in a brief analysis of the business potential using a short, pre-defined questionnaire.
The call is performed as part of the customer’s sales department so that even its own telephone number is being transmitted during the call. This avoids confusion and eliminates problems with call backs.
As success parameters serve the number of net contacts and the ratio of project costs to turnover.
After approximately one year of campaign, the project shows a very positive development: turnover has exceeded campaign costs many times over.
Due to this success, two additional, time-limited projects have now been carried out, and there are plans for further campaigns with other regional reference.
Can an external employee really take sales tasks?
The arguments against outsourcing of lead qualification are always the same:
- Our products/services are very complicated, what if someone has detailed questions?
- In sales, it takes experience to recognize business potential.
- Our customers might think we are unprofessional if being addressed by a call center.
Of course, a call center employee will never have the same detailed knowledge as an employee of the sales department.
But if provided with a good briefing, a call center employee is fully capable to qualify a lead and to provide basic counseling for a prospect.
By the appearance of the employee as part of the sales team, the necessary professional framework is guaranteed.
And the recognition of the sales potential is indeed based on questions from a questionnaire that should be created in cooperation with the sales department in order to ensure the maximum transfer of experience.
Very important is the choice of a professional call center service provider, specializing in the B2B business and that ideally already has access to knowledge about the products or services concerned.
Ideal for companies with high-value products and services or with a small sales team for foreign markets
Now who is eligible for lead qualification by a call center? Generally speaking, anyone whose salespeople are too expensive or too busy to deal with relatively vague sales opportunities.
This is often the case with highly complex products or services, but can also occur in companies with a small sales team and/or strong seasonal fluctuations in demand.
Also, if the international sales team is very small (e.g. smaller countries with a single sales person), pre-qualification through a call center makes perfect sense.
Important here is that the call center service provider has not only the necessary infrastructure and the language skills, but also possesses the cultural competence for a successful telephone campaign in the target market.
Sounds interesting – Is it suitable for me?
To find out how lead qualification can help your company, just contact our sales team.
On the basis of various parameters such as target markets, lead generation, cost per lead, etc. we would offer the optimal solution for your project.
You reach your contact Mr. Andreas Schueler by calling +49 621 17893-140 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave us your name and number and we will call you back as soon as possible.
 The number of net contacts is the number of successfully completed calls. A call is considered successfully completed when a final interview result was achieved (talked to the desired contact person: there is interest, interest later, no interest). Other important parameters are the number of gross contacts, consisting of number of net contacts and the number of futile call attempts (contact person not reached), and the success rate, defined as (net contacts/gross contacts) x100%. Depending on the type of campaign also other parameters such as the number of spontaneous abortions (hang-ups within 10 seconds) can be used as parameters for success. go back