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Getting to the Close: Qualifying Online Sales Leads Before They Go Cold

According to a recent article in Chief Marketer, Using Call Centers to Qualify Online Leads, "An increasing number of Internet advertisers are turning to call centers to verify and generate leads, drive inbound calls and increase incremental revenues from existing programs. Those looking to promote themselves on a cost-per-action basis are finding new ways to leverage telemarketing. They are using it to support and extend what they're doing on the Web and with traditional media."

While online lead generation is, and will remain, an important tool for marketers and sales teams, the unique role of the contact center remains a critical component in taking those leads and turning them into viable sales opportunities. DialAmerica Dialogue

Online sales lead channels (e.g., email and social media) can only take a lead so far. The technology supporting them, as dynamic as it may be, cannot replace a live, highly-trained contact center agent. But, together they can be very complementary and extremely effective.

Using data collected from the Internet such as demographic information, contact information and / or a request for additional information and providing it to their contact centers "can provide an efficient way to quickly engage consumers and generate more valuable leads through further qualifications and warm transfers of ready customers."

Additionally, online sales leads can go 'cold' very quickly. According to research published in the Harvard Business Review, most companies are not responding nearly fast enough. "Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer."

A contact center agent with a diverse set of skills, including client sensitivity, brand emersion, up-selling, multi-channel operations and quality assurance, can quickly connect with leads and deliver a high caliber conversation that can effectively qualify it and move it through the sales pipeline.

The 'high touch' value the phone provides is one of the main reasons why call center agents can monetize and make the maximum use of a brief window of opportunity, whether it's a customer service call, a customer who has said no to a primary program or one who has completed a transaction and has agreed to be transferred to an additional opportunity.

Bottom line, a well-defined and managed sales lead generation program that leverages Internet channels along with an integrated contact center solution can deliver the quality and quantity of sales-ready leads that will get you to the close.

We hope you found this month’s Dialogue informative.

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