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5 min read

Handling Inbound Leads - 6 Tips for Maximizing Every Opportunity

By Lauren Hawkins

If you're a business owner or marketing director, then you know one of the best feelings during your work day is receiving a phone call or email from someone that needs the services you provide. One of the worst feelings is realizing you missed that call or email, and discovering that the lead already committed to working with someone else.  Read on for tips and advice around how to minimize the bad feelings, and maximize the good feelings.     

Clear Areas of Responsibility

It's important to frame this discussion around what your marketing agency is responsible for,  where their job ends (to a large degree), and where your job begins.

Some areas a digital marketing agency can be responsible for include:

Areas a business owner/marketing director can be responsible for (with some aid from your agency) include:

  • Ensuring your speed-to-lead is as quick as humanly possible
  • Ensuring your internal team is ready to handle different types of inbound leads driven to you by your marketing agency (with some advice from your marketing agency!)
  • Ensuring a consistent lead intake process across multiple locations
  • Putting thought to how you'll nurture inbound leads that may not be ready to convert into a paying customer
  • Tracking individual sales team member & staff sales metrics
  • Working with your marketing agency on data surrounding what types of leads converted into new customers, so that rendered services can be better optimized for more leads - it's one big feedback loop!

The Takeaway:


A point is reached where a marketing agency has much less control over final outcomes. Valuing the advice your agency gives you for these situations and reporting back on final outcomes makes for a great marketing relationship that will result in more leads and more new customers!

Inbound Lead Tip #1 - Speed-to-Lead

How fast you respond to every single lead is possibly the most important factor in winning or losing that new customer.

The majority of consumers choose the business that first responds to their phone call, email, or text, with various studies placing this between a range of 50%-78% of all consumers behaving this way.

According to the Harvard Business Review, only 37% of companies respond to a lead within one hour or less.

If we put these two stats together, only 37% of companies may have a shot at winning the business of 50%-78% of all consumers. The other 63% aren't even in the running.

Are you a part of the 37%, or the 63%?

We often provide recommendations to clients for enhancing speed-to-lead, like introductions to HLM Partners that specialize in lead response, making your sales team accessible (like the "Schedule With..." buttons on our contact page), and integrating with our lead-tracking Footprint Dashboard, among other business-specific recommendations.

The Takeaway:


Every lead needs to be responded to as fast as humanly possible, every single time.

Inbound Lead Tip #2 - Handling Different Types of Leads

Much like what's discussed in this blog post for Paid Ad campaigns, you also need to think about how your internal team is best structured to handle different kinds of leads.

  • Leads via Website Forms
    • When someone submits a form on your website, who do those leads go to? One central person always available to immediately respond? Do they go to multiple people?
    • Are you asking the right questions on your forms that your team members need to know, balancing that with not giving the lead too much 'homework' that would discourage completion?
    • Is there immediate feedback provided to the lead, such as an automated email response thanking them for reaching out and what they can expect next?
    • Once submitting a website form, are leads redirected to a thank-you page, similar to the one we use after submitting a request via our contact page (go ahead, try it out!)
  • Leads via Inbound Phone Calls
    • Who on your team is answering the phones? Once dedicated person, or does it round-robin to different people?
    • What happens to a phone call if it goes unanswered? Does it roll over to someone else?
    • If a lead has to leave a voicemail - who has access to that message?
    • Do you have any automated texting solutions, like the kind that some HLM Partners provide?

The Takeaway:


Now that we know speed-to-lead is vital, ensure that you have a plan for how your team will respond to different lead types in the fastest manner possible, every time. Also communicate what the next step will be.

Inbound Lead Tip #3 - Handling Leads Across Multiple Locations

If you have multiple locations that all provide the same services, then give some thought to whether you'll centralize your lead intake process or not. 

Some benefits of centralization can include a simpler, single point-of-contact for inbound lead handling if you've got one individual or a small team of people handling leads for all your locations.

This means only one main phone number and/or email address is required to be placed on your website and marketing materials, and you'll be better able to ensure consistent quality for every lead.

If you don't have people that can be dedicated to lead-handling for all locations (or if each location offers different services and has very specific needs best handled by people at those locations), then be sure to implement a consistent intake process per location.

This would need to include training provided to those handling leads so that your overall brand is represented in a consistent, quality manner regardless of location.

This can also help ensure that your close-rates for new customers stay similar between different locations. 

The Takeaway:


There's benefits and drawbacks to a centralized lead intake plan, but whichever route you choose - consistency and training is vital.

Inbound Lead Tip #4 - Nurturing Hesitant Leads

How are you handling leads that aren't quite ready to work with you?

Are they the responsibility of your sales team to follow back up with?

Do you have email marketing solutions that email leads occasionally, providing helpful info, an offer, or news about something upcoming to help them choose you when the time is right?

Do you have a centralized place to store all leads of all kinds, so that you can leverage lead nurturing methods? This can be something like CRM or EMR software (Salesforce, ServiceTitan, MangoMint, etc.), or something as simple as a spreadsheet!

HLM's own Footprint Dashboard is also an excellent tool for keeping all of your leads from all physical locations via all sources (website, phone calls, Google ads, social media, etc.), organized in one place.   

The Takeaway:


There can be many ways to nurture leads, but the first step is to capture lead info so that you can stay organized. HLM's Footprint Dashboard can help with this! 

Inbound Lead Tip #5 - Tracking Individual's Sales Metrics

Do you know which of your salespeople are the most successful? Do you know which salesperson closes what type of business the most often? Does one salesperson excel at bringing in brand-new customers, while another is better at selling more or different services to existing customers?

Do you know which salesperson is responding to leads the quickest on average?

Let's say you don't have a dedicated sales team. Is the person responsible for handling your leads as trained as they could be on how to convert a lead, or at least guide that lead successfully to the next step?

What's that person's ratio of total leads handled versus the amount that convert into a paying customer?

If you have technicians that are encouraged to inform customers about additional services and offerings - do you know which are the best at completing those upsells?

Are you encouraging this by providing incentives or contests between your technicians?

Tracking data like the examples above can help you identify and reward top performers, as well as provide training or other solutions for those that find these sorts of things more challenging than others.

The Takeaway:


Once you have your lead intake process established, look at the data and know the people involved. This can help you place the right people in the right positions to maximize the opportunity that every new lead brings

Inbound Lead Tip #6 - Report Back To Your Agency!

Once you have a robust lead intake process established, you'll then have more data around which leads resulted in new business, and for which of your services. 

This information can help your marketing agency tremendously by learning which leads you value over others, which ones are the most profitable, which ones are challenging and why, which locations are under-performing, and so much more.

Whether you're working with HLM or another agency, make sure that you're providing as much insight to your agency as possible - and make sure that they're leveraging that info moving forward.

We can only speak for ourselves here at HLM, but we love nothing more than to help provide tangible, real-world outcomes for our clients.

Every time we're able to produce a lead through our marketing efforts, only to see a client accidentally let it fall through the cracks, we get sad. That's why we wrote this article!

If you need help with generating leads, and suggestions and recommendations for how to then handle those leads, give us a call at (888) 717-4249 to speak to someone within minutes, or book a call directly with a consultant on our contact page.


Author: Lauren Hawkins

Director of Customer Success

Lauren has been focused on creating great customer experiences in the services industry for the better part of 20 years. Understanding that purchasing decisions are often emotional, she is passionate about consulting with businesses on how to make initial connections and nurture them for continued growth. When she's not consulting you can find Lauren tending garden, catching up with friends at book club, or enjoying time on the Michigan lakes with her 2 girls and husband.

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