Commentary by Robert Cowes, President of SmartTouch Interactive.
We share this article on our News Blog as a reference point from a third party consultant that writes for the National Association of builders. She states the need to be smart and measure all Internet performance and how critical it is to have a CRM Software in place, especially one with a strong e-mail marketing platform, this is excactly the foundation of Smarttouch™CRM.
Sales and Marketing: Measure All Aspects to Maximize Your Internet Sales and Marketing Performance
From musicians to athletes, superstar performers understand that success is driven by numbers — the number of dress rehearsals, the speed of a lap around the track, the distance jumped from point A to point B.
Sales performance is no different. Top performing sales teams are led by sales managers and business owners who quantify performance, set goals and regularly review results.
The rise of Internet marketing adds a new dynamic to measuring sales performance. Some sales managers shy away from quantifying Internet performance because they don’t know what to measure. Others back away because they fear their own lack of Internet knowledge will become apparent, and some simply don’t have the right tools in place or won’t make the time.
Ounces, Minutes, Square Footage — What Should You Measure?
The beauty of Internet sales and marketing performance is that it is highly track-able. So, as managers and owners, you have the ability to measure many different aspects of your sales and marketing performance.
The first and most important measurement to track is your website’s performance. Commonly called “website analytic” reports, this data gives valuable insight into whether your website is working for you or against you.
The easiest and most affordable (as in free) website analytic program is Google Analytics, which will send automatic website performance reports via e-mail on a schedule of your choosing. I recommend reviewing the reports monthly. Like in-person walk-in traffic numbers, website visitor numbers are the foundation for assessing all your Internet sales and marketing performance.
Once you identify the average number of unique website visitors you have per month, the next step is to identify how many of those visitors convert into an electronic lead — an online registration, e-mail, live chat or phone call generated by the website. High performing websites convert 1%-to-2% of their unique monthly visitors into e-leads.
It’s Five O’Clock — Do You Know Where Your e-Leads Are?
How fast, how often and how many times does your sales team follow up on your e-leads? They can never be too fast with their follow-up, only too slow. The best way to measure your team’s e-lead responsiveness is through e-mystery shopping.
To do this, simply pose as an “A+” e-lead by providing detailed information via e-mail or online on pricing, a move-in timeframe and a phone number with a best time you can be reached. Then, record the type, quantity, quality and speed of your sales agent’s follow-up.
You do need to do this. If you don’t measure your sales team’s e-lead responsiveness, you’re just wasting time and money building a killer website and marketing it on the search engines. If you want your website to be effective, your team must have the training and mechanics in place to follow-up on your e-leads.
E-Mails Don’t Sell Homes, People Do
E-mail alone rarely sells a home. People do — because buyers buy from people they like and trust.
Consequently, when determining your sales team’s effectiveness, the final area you need to measure is your sales agents’ conversion rate of e-leads to in-person appointments and the conversion rate of kept e-lead appointments to sales.
You need to determine if your agents are only continually conversing with their e-lead prospects or if they are setting appointments with them because at some point, they need to actually meet their electronic prospect in person and give them compelling reasons to say yes.
Not only should your salespeople be appointment-setting machines, they should be closing machines as well. So determine the percentage of the e-lead appointments that result in a signed purchase agreement. Well-trained and highly skilled sales agents convert about 25% of their e-leads into appointments and, of the appointments that show up, easily 30% should complete a purchase agreement.
Why Use a Hammer When the Job Calls for a Nail Gun?
Whether building a house or selling one, most people need the right tool to do their job effectively. When it comes to tracking Internet sales and marketing performance, customer relationship management (CRM) software is the preferred tool.
Think of CRM software as an electronic Rolodex on steroids. It far outperforms the tools we’ve used in the past — Excel spreadsheets, paper printouts, Post-It Notes, etc. — because CRM software automates the measurement process, making it easy and efficient, while the old tools require manual data entry and manual calculations.
When searching for a web-based CRM program, choose one with a strong e-mail marketing platform. Its set-up may take some time, but after that it should run on auto-pilot with only minor periodic updates and maintenance.
Be the Captain of Your Internet Ship
The biggest mistake sales managers and business owners make after creating their website is not minding their Internet store. Like every other facet of your business, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you want your Internet sales to soar, start operating by the (measured) numbers.
Meredith Oliver, MIRM, MCSP is the founder and president of Meredith Communications, a sales training and e-marketing consulting company based in Orlando that delivers marketing services to builders and developers nationwide. For more information, e-mail Oliver, call her at 321-285-1660 or visit her website, www.CreatingWow.com.
This article originally appeared on the NAHB Sales and Marketing Channel.