Monthly Archives: April 2006

Don’t Forget Lead=Customer

When we talk about lead management or sales management solutions we often talk in terms of “leads,” but we shouldn’t forget that each lead represents a customer. This is especially important considering that each lead typically contains private, sensitive customer data often related to financial transaction. When selecting a lead management solution make sure you add security to the selection matrix.

This solution will be the critical linkage between your customer and the systems that are delivering their products and services. Nothing damages your competitive advantage quicker than breaking a client’s trust in your ability to protect their privacy. My experience building technology solutions in the government, telecommunications, and banking industries has baked in this focus on security.

It should be an equal part of your DNA when selecting a lead management tool.

Increasing Conversion with the Numbers

It is probably just the fantasy baseball juice running through my veins and the player stats rolling around in my head, but I have been thinking more about the concept of analyzing and LISTENING to the numbers in managing your marketing and sales efforts.

Let’s use a quick baseball analogy for simplicity. In baseball we are playing for wins. So, as any Moneyballreader (BTW, for you fantasy baseball junkies Fantasylandis another must read) can tell you that is about increasing created runs by increasing your probability to get on base.

Now let’s loosely apply that to thinking about a similarly “Art of Winning an Unfair Game”–converting marketing generated leads. The current state of the art is that organizations must rely on the athleticism of their sales force to adjust to all of the different lead types and customer needs thrown at them and try to walk them into a finite set of products or services they can retain in their human brain. Now imagine if you could look at their historical performance and identify their sweetspots. This would allow you to route to them only the pitches (I mean leads) that they are likely to hit out of the park.

This is the principle behind the icoSales conversion engine, but it is often hard for lenders to understand what you don’t have to do when you implement a conversion engine. When you use the numbers you don’t have to: (1) prioritize leads at the organizational level, you are maximizing priorities at the individual level, (2) organize product or marketing specific teams, and (3) send your “best leads” to your “best loan officers” because both terms are relative to each other.

Conversion Rates

Robbin Steif briefly discusses one of the most critical, but least understood of Web marketing metrics in What’s a good web conversion rate?

Conversion is about meeting the customer’s expectation. i believe this is particularly important in the Web channel. The 1-6% conversion range that he speaks of is also curiously close to what lead generators and aggregators will quote for conversion on their purchased leads. Why the consistency? Could they be higher?

Briefly the answers:

    (1) because they both require the customer to do all of the work (generally) after the inquiry is generated (marketing’s job). Either they need to self fulfill their order or they have to go to the competitor who is more responsive, get on the telephone, or go to the retail outlet to ultimately satisfy their buying need.
    (2) Yes! You have to appropriate get every inquiry to the right sales process based on what you already know works (you don’t track or keep this data? Shame on you.). This may be that you route that request for tuition financing for a Masters degree at the University of Phoenix to a student loan counselor or Collegiate Funding Services or Citibank because it is a complex transaction or you route that simple request to enroll in a Strayer University class to the enrollment system and send the customer an email receipt.

It’s all about meeting expectations–be responsive and handle the transaction with the appropriate level of sales process and you will push your Web conversions into the double digits.

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