AI: Why People Alone Won’t Solve the Lead Conversion Gap

AI: Why People Alone Won’t Solve the Lead Conversion Gap

Artificial intelligence, or AI, has given multiple industries the ability to utilize creativity and more efficiency in their workforce. Yet, people are hesitant to incorporate it in their sales funnel. The gathering of data, ability to measure and manage performance, and the automation capabilities are all more efficient than any human team could ever be.

Even better, it can be the difference between more profitable and closed deals without costing more salaries. It quite literally does the work for you.

As technology has expanded, so have the products and softwares that empower businesses to be more efficient in their processes. Sales and marketing teams around the globe have effectively implemented AI into their sales funnel and strategies in order to maintain organization and productivity. Because in reality, a human-only team will never keep up.

The Inefficiency of Humans

Sales teams have it rough. The constant phone calls, emailing, administrative tasks, presentation-building, follow-ups and appointments are not only abundant, but draining. Yet, according to Automation Hero, nearly ⅔ of these tasks don’t involve talking to prospects or customers at all and end up taking away from selling.

Harvard Business Review calls this “organizational drag” and says it costs the U.S. economy $3 trillion each year. Needless to say, salaries and time are both being wasted. Neglecting leads is, however, not an option.

In ways salespeople cannot, AI for sales can fulfill:

  • Immediate contact of leads upon generating at any hour of the day
  • Gathering data to provide optimal timing to contact leads for follow-up
  • Storing all records of previous contact and conversations with leads
  • A scripted and omnichannel approach to contacting your leads the way they want to be contacted

AI will be picking up the slack that comes with any human bandwidth and will help ensure all leads are being managed and followed up with accordingly. Technology has the capabilities of timely, accurate and more reliable services.

The Inauthenticity of AI

It’s important to note that AI isn’t the “end all be all” to the buyer-seller relationship, let alone the lead conversion process. There are several reasons why AI can’t meet every need in the lead qualification and conversion part of the sales funnel.

Without humans involved, the loss of authenticity can easily become a problem. In fact, 43% of people prefer to deal with a real-life assistant rather than a chatbot. Again, every lead matters and catering to their needs and wants means a greater likelihood of conversion and purchase.

That being said, Verse sees where AI can lack the golden “human touch” and that’s why we utilize human assistants to standby – intervening where AI would not be able to.

With AI only:

AI: “Are you looking for home insurance or just car insurance at this time?”

Lead: “Home insurance, as well. We lost our home last year to a tornado. It’s important we have that.”

AI: “Great! How many square feet is your home?”

With humans on standby:

AI: “Are you looking for home insurance or just car insurance at this time?”

Lead: “Home insurance, as well. We lost our home last year to a tornado. It’s important we have that.”

Human assistant, after manually taking over: “Wow, I am so sorry to hear that happened to your family. We definitely want to make sure you don’t have to fear the loss of assets ever again. Would you mind telling me the square footage of the home you are wanting to insure?”

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how Verse can help.

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Where AI would have negated to validate the consumers fears or emotions, a human assistant on standby can quickly adjust the context of the response. Immediately, a lead can tell they are talking to someone who is real and affirming and that further establishes a trust with the brand and company in and of itself.

Tech + Human = Superhuman

With the average sales representative salary standing at $61,000 a year, hiring more ISAs, or inside sales agents, isn’t a cost-effective solution nor is it efficient enough. But, with both AI and the human touch through a lead conversational platform like Verse, all leads can be contacted, catered to, validated, qualified, and converted without sales feeling spread thin. Instead, sales can focus on the appointments with high-quality leads that Verse books for them.

Humans alone are inefficient. AI alone is inauthentic. Together, they are invincible.

To learn more about how you can convert more leads using a lead conversion platform, book a demo with one of our team members!

Need help converting more of your leads into appointments?

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how we can help.

5 things your team CAN’T stop doing no matter what

5 things your team CAN’T stop doing no matter what

In a time where shifts and changes are inevitable or necessary, it’s important to come back to the foundation of what’s important in order to keep your business running and growing. Consumers are intuitive in the buying process and desire a comfortable experience with your sales teams.

With that being said, there are five things you cannot stop doing no matter what, unless you want to see leads and potential customers fall through the cracks:

Can’t stop responding to your inbound leads.

Your leads, whether they come in during the work week or in the middle of the night, should always have a timely response. Why? Not only do 50% of leads end up purchasing from the business who responds first, but you are 21x more likely to close a deal when you answer within the first five minutes after a lead fills out an inquiry.

Is it likely your sales team will be ready to answer that 3AM lead? No. But there are options. Hiring a lead conversion platform, like Verse, will ensure every lead is accounted for, including the ones coming in after-hours, on weekends, and during holidays.

%

of leads purchase from the first business to respond

times more likely to close if you respond in 5 minutes

%

chance of talking to a lead with 6 or more attempts

Hiring a lead conversion platform, like Verse, will ensure every lead is accounted for, including the ones coming in after-hours, on weekends, and during holidays.

Can’t stop following up.

So a lead hasn’t converted to an appointment yet? The fortune is in the follow up. Contacting a lead three times gives you an 81% chance of getting a hold of your leads and six times gives you an even better chance at 93%.

You can use lead data to help gauge the consistency of follow-up, give insight as to when might be the best time to contact, and effectively help you create an effective schedule for following up with your leads. Make sure you’re being realistic with your bandwidth and ability to capitalize on said schedule.

Every lead is an opportunity which means you can’t neglect to follow up with them– even the seemingly stale ones!

Can’t stop answering people.

Your potential customers are calling and yet, 75% of them say it’s difficult to get a hold of an agent or salesperson. Even more so 67% of them will give up on them out of frustration.

Your customers are trying to do business with you. Part of the struggles around communicating with high-intent leads come from a lack of bandwidth of your sales team. There’s an inability to be there for consumers because of other tasks at hand.

Your leads want to talk. Make sure you’re not dropping the ball (and the opportunity for business and relationships).

Can’t let levels of service drop.

While much of the world around us is changing, consumers are not. In a world of Amazon Prime 2-Day shipping, people are still the same consumers who not only appreciate but want instant gratification, excellent service, and comfort.

In fact, a lack of service or the inability to meet consumers on their terms can often deter a consumer from ever purchasing at all. 33% of consumers say it only takes one bad customer service incident to switch to another competitor. And once your customer service reputation is damaged, you’ll find it very difficult to win an opportunity to prove them wrong again.

Can’t stop caring!

Have you ever been on the phone with a salesperson or agent and realized how clear it is they don’t care about your business? Have you ever felt treated like any other customer?

Business and even selling are way less about money and “what can you do for me” and much more about relationships and connection. Your consumers are paying attention. They are intuitive and can tell by tone, language, and body language how much you care about them and their needs.

33% of customers who abandoned a business relationship last year did so because personalization was lacking. –Accenture

So be there for your prospects, go the extra mile, and research ways to connect with your demographic on a personal level. But more importantly, don’t stop caring about them or they will certainly stop caring about your business.

To learn more about how you can turn every lead into an opportunity, book a demo and see how our lead conversion platform works!

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how Verse can help.

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Forbes: The Lead Conversion Gap Every Company Struggles With

Forbes: The Lead Conversion Gap Every Company Struggles With

Excerpt from: Forbes.com

The general relationship between sales and marketing teams has always proven to be challenging. Marketing teams work hard to drive leads but are often frustrated with sales teams not engaging those prospects quickly enough or not following up to nurture them as needed. Sales teams are equally frustrated by high volumes of low-quality leads they have to chase down, sift through and scramble to respond to 24/7, which is unrealistic. Clearly, there is a “gap” in the marketing and sales funnel, leading to a huge number of missed opportunities, lost time and money.

Over the last 10 years, there’s been a massive shift in how consumers prefer to communicate with businesses.   We live in a world of apps, bots and buttons, and people have become accustomed to engaging on their own time and terms. Yet many businesses have failed to adapt. For example, 89% of consumers prefer to engage with a business by text; yet businesses are still calling prospects that don’t answer the phone.

Though the challenges of optimizing your lead conversion may be great, the opportunities are even greater. Here are a few pieces of advice for sales and marketing teams that may create an instant lift to your business.

Offer SMS Communication

Getting a prospect to pick up the phone or open your email campaigns is a shot in the dark. Consumers are tired of robocalls and spam emails, making these forms of contact ineffective on their own.

Read the rest for free at Forbes.com

The 3 Myths of Speed-To-Lead

The 3 Myths of Speed-To-Lead

Believe it or not, speed-to-lead is the biggest driver of lead conversion after a lead is generated. Yet, 1 in 2 businesses still fail to respond to their leads in 24 hours, despite the fact a prospect is 21x more likely to purchase when contacted in the first five minutes. Even knowing those statistics, many companies have no idea how to solve this problem and may spend more time and money trying to make it to the “golden window” every time. 

Even in their best efforts, many teams are still missing that window. No one could expect a sales team to be available on weekends, holidays, or even in the middle of the night when a lead fills out an inquiry. It’s unrealistic and unmanageable. 

There are many misconceptions revolving around speed-to-lead and despite all of them, there are solutions and answers as to how speed-to-lead not only works, but why it is an essential piece to a business’ sales funnel.

“It’s weird and invasive to contact leads that quickly.”

This is a commonly heard phrase from any B2C sales teams. While you might wait to call after the first date, the rules for business are different. Think of it like this: if you aren’t contacting your lead first, don’t you think your competition might beat you to it? The reality is 50% of leads go to the business who responds first.

According to InsideSales Lead Management Study, there are three main reasons why it’s actually beneficial to contact a lead immediately upon filling out an inquiry:

  1. Top-of-mind awareness — if a lead has just filled out an inquiry, contacting them immediately ensures that your company is still at the forefront of their thoughts. A consumer will be much more likely to forget about a company the longer time goes on.
  2. “Wow!” factor — While you might think it’s strange or invasive to contact a lead so quickly, most consumers are like any of us– they love instant gratification. A consumer’s needs being met so quickly by a sales team isn’t a “weird” response, it’s a “wow!” result.
  3. Presence detection — Should a lead fill out an inquiry, they are more than likely to be sitting next to their laptop or phone. If you miss the five minute window, the chances of catching them at an available or attainable time decreases dramatically.

“We should just hire more salespeople to handle speed-to-lead.”

While it seems like a simple-enough solution, this idea still falls short. No matter how many you hire, humans are human and the bandwidth they must have in order to be available 24/7 is unrealistic and unattainable. 

Not to mention, it’s expensive. Salaries seem like an easy way to fulfill needed roles or unresolved problems, but it actually may be a “work smarter, not harder” solution that will ultimately save your business time and money.

Hiring a lead conversion company, like Verse, can be a more cost-effective solution than just regular ISAs. Verse stands as a 24/7 modern contact center, where your leads get contacted immediately, before being qualified and converted to appointments for your sales team. This ultimately lets sales focus on the closing of deals instead of chasing down the leads themselves. And, the bonus is sales will only get qualified leads from Verse. That’s a lot less time and money spent on salaries and sifting through leads that will never buy.

Need help converting more of your leads into appointments?

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how we can help.

“I try calling right away, but most of the calls still go to voicemail.”

Just less than a couple decades ago, calling was the preferred method of communication. In fact, if you were to text someone, they used to get super offended and some still even got charged 10c per text. 

The world has changed significantly as social media and texting provided consumers with instant gratification through quick and convenient communication. And as text took the front seat, calling now has a much bigger problem attached to it with the high volumes of Robocalls and spam coming through nearly everyone’s telephones. No wonder most people got rid of landlines– the constant ringing became annoying!

This shift in consumers behavior has required businesses to adapt to the needs and schedules of the consumers. While it might seem a little unconventional to text a lead, Verse knows there are still people who would prefer to talk on the phone, which is why we created an omnichannel approach to cater to all kinds of consumers. We start with a text message in the first five minutes, asking them how they would prefer to communicate:

“Hi, this is Alex from Capital Mortgage. I saw you just filled out an inquiry online and had a few questions to ask you about your inquiry. Would you like me to call you or would you prefer to text?”

The consumer is immediately made more comfortable because they now know they can communicate on their own terms and timeline. With 89% of consumers preferring text communication, Verse can capitalize on all of your leads and make sure every one of them gets the buying experience they desire.

%

of consumers prefer text communication

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how Verse can help.

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Mortgage and the Reward of Digital Storefronts

Mortgage and the Reward of Digital Storefronts

Mortgage and Their Digital Storefronts

In light of recent events, businesses were scrambling to adjust their emphasis on digital storefronts. We all knew digital was important, but now more than ever digital storefronts are not just important, they are vital.

As the economy has been deeply impacted by COVID-19, interest rates dropped and leads came pouring in for refinancing of their mortgage loans. Along with that, a growing number of people took interest in home buying due to the low interest rates.

Mortgage received a significant influx of leads throughout March and April specifically and the scramble of contacting leads quickly and after hours became increasingly unattainable. It’s important to look through the lens of the consumers by imagining how people would behave in, say, a retail storefront: they want to “shop” or look around before speaking with a representative that can meet their needs and answer their questions.

For mortgage, those two elements for their digital storefront revolve around:

  • The website — consumers can research and “shop” before filling out an inquiry
  • Contacting the lead — consumers can be catered to and cared for in the buying process, even outside of normal business hours

“A website should be designed as such that a visitor (can) go to the cart with confidence and not to your contact page with confusion.”

Amit Kalantri

Content and Conciseness is Key

More than 50% of all loan applications in the past two years included some online or digital component. A website is one of the most important elements to any company’s brand and product. It’s where consumers can go to figure out more about who you are and what you can do for them. For mortgage, your website is where they will do their research and hopefully, fill out an inquiry or application.

This part of a mortgage lender’s brand is vital. Why should a consumer apply for a loan through you versus the competition?

In order for your website to gain organic traffic and high quality leads, you need:

  • A mobile-friendly platform – While 67% of those with home loans say they would have felt comfortable completing a home loan application online, 51% of searchers are more probable to purchase from a mobile optimized website. Everything should load quickly, read easily, and should generally be easy enough for all demographics to use.
  • A blog – 92% of recent mortgage borrowers did online research before even speaking to a lender. Although a blog does require consistency and relevancy, it’s a huge way to get ahead of the competition. Consistent content is an indirect way to establish credibility and trust with the consumer, even if it is just a weekly post.
  • Video – After watching a brand’s video, 80% of consumers purchased a product. A video gives the consumer insight on your company and mission with more visual representation and opportunity for connection. There should be at least one video on your homepage or somewhere obvious on your website. Be sure to include a call-to-action button under the video.

%

of mortgage borrowers did online research before speaking to a lender

Need help converting more leads into opportunities?

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how we can help.

Contacting Leads After Hours

Leads are incredibly important and costly. According to Econsultancy, for every $92 spent on acquiring leads digitally, only $1 was spent on converting them. For investing that amount of money in acquiring leads, the conversion investment is extremely low and is likely a contributing factor to the loss of potential business.

As leads are filling out forms on your website, mortgage lenders are doing their best to contact them quickly. Since the likelihood of purchase decreases as a lead goes uncontacted, the need for a digital storefront is apparent. Especially since 40% of leads come in after hours, on weekends and during holidays.

Leads may not necessarily notice the lack of contact right away, however, time that goes on without contacting the lead is time another business can be putting effort toward gaining your lead’s attention. Not to mention, 75% of consumers say it is difficult to get a hold of sales teams, putting even more pressure on lenders to step away from their life outside of work.

Ultimately, a lead conversion platform such as Verse should be able to relieve lenders from this pressure. Not only do they serve as a representative from your company 24/7, but they nurture and qualify your leads so you can take advantage of your time and invest it in the leads who will most likely purchase. This kind of digital storefront is advantageous for a lender’s reputation and will separate your customer service from other lenders.

The value in hosting a digital storefront stems from the value you provide for a consumer. If a consumer has to do less work and is ultimately satisfied in their engagement with the lender, lenders will see a notable difference in the generation and conversion of their leads. This can ultimately lead to better prioritization of the two things businesses wish they had more of– time and money. To learn more about how you can benefit from a lead conversion platform, check out The Lead Conversion Gap.

Talk to a Verse Lead Conversion Specialist to see how Verse can help.

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