3 ways you can leverage cloud communications to supercharge your sales

November 30, 2011
Written by
Dan Kaplan
Opinions expressed by Twilio contributors are their own

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The world of sales has changed dramatically over past couple of years. Leads come in from multiple sources, at all times of day, from more informed customers. With this new set of challenges, here are three key ways that your business can use cloud communications to dramatically boost lead conversions, give your sales team more information about inbound prospects and increase call efficiency.

1. Decrease response time with automated voice and SMS notifications

Want to turn more leads into customers? Then you need to reach them more quickly. As one study showed, the odds of successfully connecting to a lead decreases by over 10X within the 1st hour after the lead fills out an online form.

Today’s sales force is usually spread across multiple timezones (or even continents) with a lot on their plate. It’s easy for inbound leads to get stuck in email in-boxes or in the CRM. Using Twilio for voice and SMS notifications, it is easy to have every new lead trigger a text message or voice call to the appropriate sales person.

Say a prospect comes to your website and downloads a white paper. With voice or SMS notifications, the salesperson (or sales team) would get a call that says, “Chip Hanna just downloaded a white paper, press 1 to call him now” or a simple text message with the lead’s phone number.

With automated notifications, you not only increase the odds of successful contact with leads, but increase the likelihood of qualifying and converting them, as well.  According to this MIT study, when you contact a lead within five minutes, your odds of qualifying them are 21X higher than if you wait even 30 minutes.

2. Learn more about your phone leads with call tracking

It’s great when leads call you, but most of the time, your sales reps lack context. Did the lead find you in the yellow pages? Did they click an ad in Facebook? Did they come from a search engine? If so, what keywords did they use to find you?  When you use a call tracking solution, your reps can instantly determine the source of an inbound phone call.

With call tracking, you assign unique phone numbers to each of your ad campaigns and point these numbers to your main phone line. When a call comes in from one of these numbers, the call tracking solution informs your reps which campaign or search keywords generated the lead. With this data in hand, reps get a deeper understanding of the leads’ interests and can customize their pitches accordingly.

As an added bonus, a call tracking solution enables you to analyze which campaigns are generating the most qualified leads for your business and optimize your spending. If your newspaper ads are generating 30% less calls than the Yellow Pages, maybe it’s time to re-investigate.

You can even use call tracking to close the loop between offline and online communication. Using Google analytics (or any other analytics platform for your website), you can track how your marketing efforts are resulting in phone calls. Read this call tracking solution tutorial to learn more.

3. Increase call efficiency with cloud IVR

If you receive a high volume of incoming phone calls, it may be time to consider using an Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) to automate routine phone interactions, pre-qualify leads and route inbound calls. An IVR is the software that answers calls with automated messages: “Press 1 for Office Hours…Press 2 for Sales…” etc.

IVR, when used correctly, is a great way to increase call efficiency. While most legacy IVR solutions are difficult to program and manage, a cloud IVR from Twilio lets you build, integrate and deploy IVR in a record time.

Extra Credit

For those ready to take on cloud communications to the fullest extent, you could easily combine these services.

Using call tracking and text notification, you could combine the information for the text alert to the sales person to read something like, “Chip Hanna was searching for your brand in Google and filled out the form. Call him at 555-555-5555 now.”

You could also combine call tracking and IVRs, by presenting different options for users, based upon their context. Someone could be searching for new cars and when they call, they could get an IVR that directs them to the correct brand, instead of asking them if they want maintenance (since they, obviously, aren’t interested in maintenance – they were searching for new cars).

The possibilities are endless.

Guest blogger Chip Hanna is the interactive account director at the Balcom Agency, a full service marketing agency based in Fort Worth, Texas.