Once a site is set up to start producing sales leads and has traffic to actually get them, there tends to be an over-zealousness that takes place. Impatience can also play a factor in getting that transition off on the wrong foot. When making a web lead into a sales lead, be respectful of what the person has requested and never look to put them on the spot.
All the wonderful things about web tracking and analytics can become a liability when transitioning from web lead to sales prospect. Here is what tends to happen when someone is overly excited about their site’s lead. The lead information is delivered to the sales person quickly (because the web is immediate). With analytic information at their fingertips many people look to show how efficient they are. They call the lead and say, “I saw you downloaded our whitepaper 15 minutes ago, I thought that you might have some questions now that you’ve had time to read it!” The immediate reaction to this is generally suspicion as “big brother” is obviously watching. It also presumes that the person has nothing else to do than immediately read the material. It starts things off poorly, it hints that the sales person is desperate and shows disrespect for their time.
So in the above example, what is an appropriate reaction? First of all, is there a reason to contact the person at all? Some leads are just a cursory investigation. Many times it’s not a good use of time to follow up right away. Did they request more information? Most of the time, the answer is no. It’s jumping the gun to get the sale. If you’ve put some effort into your site and its ability to convert, have faith. Your information is on the whitepaper, they have an opportunity to join your newsletter on the thank you page, and you’ve confirmed and delivered the download so they can respond immediately if they have questions. Right? If not, sales isn’t the issue, you’ve still got conversion work to do. If so, let the process work. Don’t be impatient. Leave the lead alone for at least a couple hours. If there is a legitimate reason to contact them, then do it. Make sure it’s in the requested manner and not to try and impress them by revealing that you know what they did on the site. Site activity gives no real insight into their needs, wants, or desires. You’ll get there, that’s the selling process, don’t jump the gun by believing your marketing has done that for you.
Marketing is not selling and selling is not marketing. A site designed to generate leads is marketing. Your goal is to engage visitors not get them to buy. Ideally, as they get more engaged, they will respond, and be an easier and more profitable sale.
Of course, this is not an advocacy for never being proactive with leads. Many businesses, online and otherwise, have died waiting for the phone to ring with orders. Some people need that extra effort, but that’s usually reserved for information junkies that float around the site consistently. Most leads will give an opportunity for a continual engagement. Trust in that engagement and it will only strengthen the bond when it’s time to move into the sales process. If you rush into selling them it will cast a negative light on the interaction and will make the sales process that much harder in overcoming a bad first impression.