In B2B marketing, there are several simple lead generation practices that can be forgotten or ignored—maybe because they are so simple. You spend all of this time creating an engaging website, implementing an SEO and digital marketing campaign to drive traffic to your website, hoping an ideal visitor will visit. Then when an ideal visitor picks up the phone to call your firm, they hit the dreaded automated answering system. Automation is a major trend in business since it can increase process efficiencies but when it comes to answering the phone…Answer It!!!
Here are some best practices and reasons why you must answer your phone at a B2B company.
Make It Someone’s Job
Yes, most office calls are solicitations and that’s the reason why most offices have opted for automation. However, there can be 2 to 3 leads a day that can come via phone—we see this with most of our B2B clients. If an actual person answers the phone, a caller is more likely to feel welcome and valued rather than with automation where a caller can get frustrated. Assign the task of answering phones to a specific person in the office who can at least give a compelling summary of what your company does and can point the caller in the right direction. This will ensure that your firm creates a credible, eager first impression.
It’s a Differentiator
If a prospect calls 3 firms—2 competitors and your firm—and 1 of the 3 has a real person answering the phone, which firm is most likely to stand out? The firm that answers the phone—making it easiest to do business with them. Each touch point a lead has with your firm is a chance to differentiate and position yourself as a thought leader. An internal person who is familiar with your service delivery will help differentiate your firm from the majority of B2B companies that have de-prioritized answering their phone.
If possible, hire a person to answer the phone who can essentially act like an inside sales rep. This person may not know all of the specifics of your product or service, but can at least deliver the elevator pitch and can follow up with thought leadership content. To guarantee this person really cares about this aspect of their job, try offering an incentive with a percentage of revenue for all sales resulting from call leads (1% to 10%, depending on type of business and call volume).
It’s a Brand Promise
The most accurate indicator of how a vendor will serve you is how they treat you in the sales process. You serve like you sell. The initial communication with a prospect is the first opportunity to showcase your firm’s thoughtfulness and personalization. If you want your ideal prospect to think of your company in its best light, be around when the phone rings.