It’s still human effort, not silicon chips, that converts an enquiry into a sale

It’s still human effort, not silicon chips, that converts an enquiry into a sale

Author | Probir Ghosh | Monday, Jan 21,2008 7:22 AM

It’s still human effort, not silicon chips, that converts an enquiry into a sale

On the Internet, while it is your TG that decides whether or not to look at your site or e-mail, only the most interested buyer will actually make an enquiry. How do you generate leads from the rest? And why do you need to?

Because most markets in India are large in absolute terms, marketers on the Internet are usually happy to pursue only the targets that come big and ‘hot’, and avoid taking the trouble to warm them up. Commonsense and market experience both agree that this can turn out to be terribly short-sighted.

Today’s undisputed market leaders, especially in the B2B environment, may find sooner than later, that neglect of lukewarm trade enquiries could bite back in the increasingly globalised Indian marketplace. The Internet is global anyway, and imports are getting easier by the year. Neglecting a lead because it could take time to get an order may just let in a competitor where there was none before.

No research data? Try market intelligence

There is very little public sharing of case-based information in the country. But one ca ask around: the need for proactive lead generation is no less important now over the Net, than it was when sales reps and engineers had to do it with couponed ads, direct mail, printed catalogues and so on.

In fact, software now makes it much easier and more economical to track, study and develop leads on the Net. We can now reconnect even with those who have logged in to our site and exited without making an enquiry or placing an order. Other software can help analyse and make sense of the data thus collected.

So, there is nothing but shortsightedness or lazy minds to prevent online marketers from either generating a lead or following it up to build the kind of lifecycle value that direct marketers have learned to pursue. Because, at the end of the day, it’s still human effort – not silicon chips and telecom signals – that converts an enquiry into a sale. Here is how:

The sell starts before the pitch

It might be through a website, an e-mail, a phone call, a blog or chat, or any other channel of contact. Targets may not be ready for a pitch, only researching options. Build relationships of trust by helping them structure their research, locate statistics, set parameters. In the process, assess their short and long term needs and sales value to you.

Explore all marketing angles

Unless you know every marketing tactic being used, there will be a tendency to limit your moves to just the one that produced the initial lead. That can blinker your approach. The more flexible your tactics the better you will know which sales drives have worked, which marketing plans have most contributed to volumes, and which have yielded leads of the highest quality. And finally, which have had the biggest impact on which distribution channel.

Keep your sales team in the loop

Working with your sales team will help set benchmarks to anticipate what kind of prospects will give you the best leads, and when they are likely to be ‘hot’ for a sales call. It is at this stage that demographic and behavioural information become key – their company size, value, location; what sites and pages they visit and search, what kind of data and papers they download.

Monitor, fine-tune, monitor, fine-tune, monitor…

In the Web 2.0 era, it’s the buyers who call the shots on what sites they visit, what they buy and how and when. So, monitor them online to get your timing right for every tactic. Watch what they do – not what they say – to gauge their real level of interest. Equip sales with detailed information about them: how often they buy; what activities they most respond to; and what they buy.

Anticipate and prepare guiding scripts, even e-mail formats that would best help sales make the pitch to a prospect. Work with sales to fine-tune the pitch: besides keeping them friendly, the collaborative spirit will help adjust the pitch to the market environment as it exists (not as you or sales imagined it), and develop fresh tactics if the first effort does not result in a hit.

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