Sales Tech Simplified: How to Successfully Follow-Up with Leads

March 2, 2017 Jennifer Wyne

In this series, we ask tech executives to describe the why and how of their solution. We call it Sales Tech Simplified.

This week I interview Gary Gerber, Senior Director, Head of Product Marketing at Conversica.

Nancy: Why does the industry need your solution?

Gary: Marketing teams invest a lot of resources obtaining leads for their companies, but Sales teams lack the resources to follow-up on every single lead in a timely manner. We recently conducted a study where we secret-shopped 538 companies in order to evaluate their lead follow-up process, and the results were remarkable: two-thirds of companies gave up after two tries and one-third of companies never responded at all! Yet based upon industry research, promptness and persistence (8-10X is the optimum amount of touches) are key factors in successful lead follow-up and conversions.

This leads to squandered opportunity and misalignment between Sales and Marketing. Who’s to blame when teams don’t make their numbers? Marketing says they have done their due diligence with the leads they brought in for the month and Sales failed to follow up thoroughly. But the Sales team will blame Marketing for low-quality leads. There just isn’t enough time in a day to filter out the good leads from the bad ones and Sales ends up cherry-picking who to follow up with…or what’s worst, not follow up at all. It is a classic handoff problem between Sales and Marketing.

Until now there has not been a technology solution capable of solving this problem, but now there is. Conversica provides an AI-powered Sales Assistant, who will reach out to every single of one of your leads, to engage and qualify them for Sales.

Nancy: What are some of the challenges your solution solves for Marketing/Sales?

Gary: Conversica aligns Sales and Marketing, creates more opportunities and optimizes productivity across the board. These are the challenges we solve:

  • You have a lot of leads but you can’t get to all of them
  • You can’t respond to leads in a timely manner and are at risk of your competitors getting to the door first
  • Sales time is spent doing basic outreach instead of high-value activities
  • You don’t have a sales development team or you don’t have enough people on the team
  • Your emails have low conversion rates
  • You don’t have enough information on your leads to engage, qualify, and convert them
  • You are nurturing a lot of leads through your marketing email automation, but you need a human touch to elevate them to the next level of the funnel

Nancy: Why should it be prioritized above other options?

Gary: Conversica is so easy to set-up and run without much monitoring. You can just point your AI Sales Assistant at your latest batch of leads (or your old “dead” ones!) and she’ll go to work. Let’s take a look at one of our customers, IBM: Prior to implementing Conversica, lead engagement at IBM was 0.03%. During the test case, lead engagement reached a staggering 26%, of which 18% qualified as hot leads. Overall, out of the roughly 6,900 leads assigned to Conversica, 54 high value opportunities were created. Combined, these opportunities represented a pipeline-revenue high of $6.5 million.

Nancy: Where does your solution fit in the Hierarchy of Revenue Needs™?

Gary: It helps with both “Knowing who to Sell to” and “Engaging with Prospects.” If you have a lot of leads and don’t know which are the most qualified, Conversica can do the heavy-lifting of surfacing those with the highest interest. Through human-like two-way conversations, Conversica’s AI-powered Sales Assistant is able to gauge each person’s intent, so she can connect them to a sales person when they’re ready to talk.

Conversica facilitates the actual engagement because the emails are sent from a Sales Assistant, an individual perceived to be human and not a company, so people are a lot more inclined to engage with her than a one-way automated email marketing from a company address. Her cadence is very non-intrusive and friendly, welcoming prospects to engage without much pressure. Also unlike automated marketing messages, every email sent by her is an open invitation to engage with a member of the sales team…and a lot of our customers consider their AI Sales Assistant to be a genuine member of their sales team!

Nancy: How mature is a typical organization’s sales stack before adding your technology?

Gary: Whether you’re considering our solution or something else, an important question to ask yourself is: What are my pain points? Where is the bottleneck that exists in my sales funnel?

Is your issue lead generation, or converting them into real opportunities, or do you need to raise the bar on converting opportunities into customers? Conversica is great for younger or smaller companies who need to leverage their limited resources. It’s also great for larger companies that drive a lot of leads… in either case, it’s better that Conversica be one of the first tools in your tool box because it’s one of the few that can increase revenue AND lower costs.

Nancy: In what ways is your solution complementary to others that might be in someone’s sales stack now or in the future?

Gary: Conversica fits well with marketing automation and CRM (and integrates directly with over forty of them!). Leads that your Marketing organization generates can automatically be put into an intelligent agent campaign. Rather than “just” generating leads, Marketing will generate appointments. And all activity will automatically be logged into the CRM.

Nancy: What are some good resources if someone wanted to learn what questions to ask, what others are doing, or purchase considerations?

Gary: We offer a lot of great resources on our site. To start, we recommend the following:

  1. Read the 2016 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up
  2. Why Won’t My Leads Convert
  3. IBM Case Study

We’ll also be doing live demos of our AI Sales Assistant next week, 3/7 and 3/8, at the Revenue Summit 2017. Book a meeting here.

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