The Channels of Lead Generation Are Expanding – Are They Also Weakening?

Most businesses agree that building relationships is a key component to a successful sales organization. Yet, in this ever-growing digital age, internet-driven communications are becoming more prevalent. And while an online presence is certainly an important component of the media mix, the cost of providing consumers with only an online response mechanism is too high to justify a strategy that omits immediate, live dialogue.

After all, it is well-known that interactions within the online environment are inherently impersonal and provide people with many opportunities to shop the competition, remain anonymous, and non-committal, where as a live conversation immediately starts to build trust and relationships. These less engaged communication paths include click-to-chat, web contact forms, emails, and even texting.

Regardless of the product, service, or industry, Sales Managers share one common opinion, that a live conversation is always preferred as it is a stronger, more direct path to a sale. With these live leads offering better quality, higher close rates and shorter sales cycles, it’s no surprise that given a choice, a sales professional will take the lead calling in on the phone to having to call out to or respond to an email form.

Despite the influence that digital and social media have on our communication patterns, studies show consumers still prefer to use the phone to speak with the companies that hold their money, manage their credit, provide their cable or phone service, and many other companies who provide the services and products that consumers use and research every day.

This consumer behavior emphasizes how digital communication paths should not overshadow or eliminate the option to have a live, immediate and personal conversation.  It only makes sense then that businesses should continue to include the primary channel that allows for a live interaction amidst the less engaging digital options.

A study conducted by American Express Co. found that 90% of respondents said they still want their inquiries handled by live representatives over the telephone.  And, a BIA/Kelsey & Constat Local Commerce Monitor Wave study found that 65% of businesses rate phone calls as their highest quality lead source.

Consumer preferences of having live interactions with companies, and the perception that live conversations deliver more qualified, valuable leads, demonstrates that it may be quite prudent for businesses to include a phone number in their advertising campaigns.  Doing so ensures customer satisfaction, higher customer recall, as well as improved lead generation and quality.

For more research and proof on the impact of having live conversations with consumers, you can review research studies and business case studies.

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