Critical Success Factors For Online Lead Intake
The individuals that interact with online clients via lead intake at professional service companies need to understand how these online opportunities might differ from traditional walk-ins or phone calls. Before the advancement of the Internet as a common consumer tool for research and communication, there were only two principle ways in which a prospective client would make contact with your business: walk-in traffic (face to face) or incoming telephone calls (phone to phone). Now business professionals must also be proficient in digital communications including email (keyboard to keyboard) and social (keyboard to community).
Today’s Internet represents a powerful unique way for clients to both investigate options and perform research before making a critical final engagement decision. The marketing strategy, the communication platforms, and the vital skills and abilities required to satisfy and inform these clients are uniquely different from the traditional traffic channels.
What Are The Critical Success Factors For Internet Lead Intake?
The responsibilities and skill set required for successfully processing, intaking and closing an online engagement opportunity requires specialized training, abilities and mindset because and online lead generation IS a different process. Let’s look at some of the differences from traditional traffic compared to modern traffic channels.
The following chart compares the differences in focus in building customer value between the traditional intake and online intake:
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- Focus is on identifying client needs, selecting the right service or product, making a value / benefit presentation, gaining a closing commitment, negotiation and closing on the product or service
- Face to face
- You control the flow of information
- You control the pace of the process – who does what when
- Buying commitment required in exchange for pricing disclosure
- Emphasis on building value in service or product
- The opportunity is NOW: Go for close
- One and done, get ready for the next opportunity
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- Focus is on confirming the client needs, engaging the client / customer in an exchange of information, validating the value / benefit that your service or product offers, and closing on an in person appointment
- Keyboard to Keyboard
- Customer controls the flow of information
- Customer controls the pace of the process – who does what when
- Up-front pricing disclosed to build customer trust
- Emphasis on building value in the business relationship
- The opportunity is indefinite: Go for an appointment
- Success requires tracking and follow-up
What Does A Successful Lead Intake Process Look Like?
The most effective managers of Internet leads will need to have core competencies in three important areas:
- Must be comfortable with information technology, it changes rapidly.
- Embrace multiple communication platforms. Be fluent with how your leads want to communicate with your business.
- Capable of learning and utilizing lead management applications.
2. Online Lead Process Management:
- Can organize multiple engagement activities at once to accomplish business objectives.
- Understands how to arrange information and files in a useful manner utilizing technology.
- Knows what steps in the process to measure and how to measure it.
- Good at figuring out priorities in getting things done.
- Does not get overwhelmed by multiple engagement and administrative tasks.
- Breaks down engagement activities into the process steps.
- Focuses on outcomes that drive success.
3. Online Engagement Skills:
- Assumes client / customer has previously completed some research online.
- Has excellent communication skills that engages the client / customer, validates customer research, builds trust and secures in person appointments.
- Is able to write a digital communication that is clear, concise and gets a message across that provides value to the client / customer. Understands basic digital protocol for email, social media, and other digital platforms as it pertains to your business.
- Patient working within each client’s / customer’s information agenda while maintaining a focused results oriented engagement plan.
- Understands the business’ services or products and can easily answer basic related questions in a way that projects professionalism and increases client trust and confidence levels.
- Drives engagement forward to the desired business objectives: set an appointment.
The digital environment is extremely dynamic and the business engagement process does vary from traditional brick and mortar client acquisition methods. Success is measured differently, because the business objectives align closely to the client objectives with a focus on outcomes; in most cases setting an appointment becomes the priority rather than closing a client.
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To recap a successful lead generation intake process, it is critically important to review and know these key concepts:
- The engagement strategy, the communication tools, and the skill and ability required to successfully handle inbound leads are uniquely different from the traditional role for walk-in traffic.
- The most prosperous people in these lead intake positions understand the responsibilities and skill sets required for successfully processing and engaging the online opportunity and recognize that it requires specialized training to maintain a competitive edge.
- Everyone interacting with an online lead makes a unique contribution to the clients’ experience and perception of the brand value.
- The online lead intake process has a distinctly different focus than a traditional engagement process in building customer value and provides validation to the customers’ decision.
- The lead intake team that handles online queries will need to have competencies in three important areas; technology, online lead process management, and online engagement skills.
A seasoned digital marketing professional with over 20 years of expertise in digital marketing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, brand development, conversion optimization, lead generation, web development and data analytics. He is a strategic digital marketing thought leader in a multitude of business verticals including automotive, education, financial services, legal marketing and professional services.