As part of my role as a freelance product developer I often have to research and enquire about products for my clients.
There’s generally four ways to do this in the connected world we live in……..
- Complete one of the contact forms on a site
- Call someone on the ‘Contact Us‘ bit of a website
- e-mail ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘
- Message someone via Linkedin and other SM platforms
So this is my very recent experience.
I pick whichever method, depending on the urgency or the number of contacts I feel I need to make, (sometimes how friendly their site looks too)
In the last three weeks I contacted six companies, that may give me information about their products, prices and development etc. Only two responded proactively. One turned out to be a worthwhile conversation, both ways.
That got me thinking., as well as frustrated……
Firstly, why did you put a ‘Contact Me’ form on your pages if no one is ever going to reply to me? Who in your organisation is responsible for monitoring the enquiries coming in through that form?
Some forms ask you specific details so they can give you a price for their various widgets. Why are you bothering if no one ever comes back to the enquirer?
Similarly, sending an email to there @sales…. seems to be met with the same lack of response.
Then there’s the option of phoning them directly using the number on the site. When I recently rang a very well known company, firstly I spoke to a ‘gatekeeper’. After explaining my reason for contacting them I was put through to an internal sales colleague who wasn’t really full of the joys of spring but everyone has a bad day. However all they could do was give me the number of the Sales Manager. So I had to ring them, no offer of taking my number and them ringing me back. I could have insisted, (noted I need to write a blog about this), as this is clearly their preferred option. Nothing like putting the onus on the potential customer!!!!
I haven’t to this day, rang them.
Lastly contacting someone on Linkedin quite often has a positive outcome (I’m not promoting said platform but it’s what it’s for). Most of the time people respond as it shows your interest and it may lead to a sale. I certainly respond if it happens to me, you never know what the outcome will be.
A frustrating situation all round and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels like this.
So what to do about it?
Firstly, who is responsible in your organisation for ensuring ‘Contact From’ leads, @sales leads and phone calls are properly monitored?
Is it a company KPI? If not, it damn well should be. KPI’s hold people to account. Clearly it should be discussed and actioned within any sales team worth their salt. If there’s a decline in traffic or sales leads fall off a cliff, ASK WHY!!!!
Also, more importantly, a KPI should be in place to account for the replies and outcomes.
There’s also a big part missing in most companies attitude to this form of sales opportunity……… TRAINING…
Make it part and parcel of the daily grind of sales targets and discussion, by ensuring everyone in the team, including the front of house staff, is aware of the importance in the first point of contact. You could have lost a £1 million account, you just never know.
Attention Sales Management!!!!!
What’s happening in your business? Are Contact Form/eMail requests being monitored? Who by? What are the replies? How do you respond?
Who is responsible for your website? Surely if you insisit a Contact Form is on the site, it needs to be part of your sales ammunition!!!!
Do you actually need one, controversial I know, but who decided? Someone perhaps just thought it’d be ‘nice’!!!
But ultimately the MD or CEO is responsible for the whole |Sales/Marketing operation. So if you’re one and reading this, it’s up to you to fix it…
Important to remember!!
All this is well and good but in todays commercial climate it’s more important then ever to spend time understanding your sales audience! Who exactly are they? Its not about you any more, it’s about the customer and the story they recognise.
I don’t want to know if you’ve got a brand new super fast machine. I want you to understand my issue and come along and solve it..
It works as that’s how I operate……
I’m sorry to say but the old ways of selling are dead.
Its all about…
Know, Like, Trust.
If you’re not sure what this means, think about it and explore the internet for the Post Covid business world.
This of course is another topic in another Blog………….