Are You Missing Good Leads While You Sleep?

Successful entrepreneurs are known for putting in long days but with the 24/7 world of ecommerce, social media, etc., there’s a good chance even the hardest-working small business owners are missing opportunities to pursue leads for new customers.

While you sleep, potential customers are shopping around, looking at your website or possibly attempting some type of contact with your business.

“Nearly a quarter of local business leads (23 percent) come in after hours through email, forms, chats and phone calls,” according to data collected by ReachLocal, which makes marketing automation, analytics and lead management software. 

And, according to the digital marketing company, 50 percent of consumers will choose to do business with the company that responds to them first.

“Many businesses struggle to quickly respond to new contacts, especially when they come in after hours,” said Josh Siegel, SVP and general manager of software and presence products at ReachLocal, in a press release about its software ReachEdge.

Funneling Leads

While gathering leads is crucial, it’s often converting them into new customers that can prove tricky – getting them through the “funnel” after lead data is collected.

In the 4-tier funnel diagram often used to illustrate the traditional sales process, leads are at the top, before the rungs of Opportunities, Proposals and New Customer, explains Barbara Krasnoff in her PC magazine article reviewing the best lead management software for 2019.

“Dealing with the leads at the top of the funnel can be a difficult matter, especially for smaller businesses,” she writes. “A lead that expresses interest and then is neglected can be an opportunity lost.

“When you are a single salesperson dealing with dozens or even hundreds of leads, it is impossible to track and follow up on them without some help. That's where lead management is critical to the process.”

Lead management software can help small businesses follow up on the data they’ve acquired through purchased lists, web forms, events, tracked web cookies, social networks, etc., Krasnoff adds.

Optimizing Your Website

An optimized website can work your leads while you sleep, says Luis Congdo, CEO of Thriving Launch, a digital marketing consulting company, like a 24/7 salesperson.

“This sales rep works for you while you sleep, play, serve clients, spend time with family or work in the business – every single hour and second of the day your site can be growing your business,” he wrote in a blog for Entrepreneur.

A high-performing website should be doing stuff a well-trained salesperson would do, like attracting leads, inviting potential clients to see your products, conversing with them, setting appointments and closing sales, Congdo says.

“It's a tireless worker that never sleeps, works all year round and serves as another pillar of your business success,” he writes.

The consultant recommends you identify and enable tools that will help collect data from every person visiting your site, such as Facebook Pixel. People aren’t spending that much time on your site so it’s good to have a mechanism in place to gather contacts for you at any hour. (He cited research from the Nielsen Norman Group, which indicated the average visit to a page is less than a minute.)

Other ways to gather leads are through apps that pull names from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter when people comment about your product or "like" one of your posts. There are other apps that use partners or third-party apps to handle social networking data.

Using Pipelines

While closely related to customer relationship management (CRM) software, lead management solutions focus on the sales pipeline, Krasnoff says.

“One way to track your leads is the use of pipelines,” she writes. “A pipeline specifies the steps needed to turn a lead into a contact and (hopefully) a customer. Pipelines can be very simple, reminding you what the next step should be and enabling you to tick off each step along the way.”