better lead management with VanillaSoftLet’s start with that discussion I mentioned in my last blog about the customer who couldn’t understand why leads were being called once and then would seemingly disappear and never come up again, or only came up quite a bit later. He had warm leads posting in from several different lead sources into VanillaSoft and the system was set to route new Webleads as a priority. So leads were constantly arriving real-time into the system and then were routed out to agents automatically as a priority. This ensured that valuable leads are being followed up on while they are hot.

That part was working very well. Leads were being called on average within minutes of arriving into the system. Given the importance of the leads, the owner wanted to make sure that any not reached at the first call had a priority follow-up, so he set a result code that would automatically reroute the lead as a priority several hours later to try to set an appointment. This also worked great at first, but then he started noticing that some leads were not being called back right away, and with time the number increased. Using some of the pre-built reporting within VanillaSoft and simple math, it didn’t take long to figure out what was going on.

Approximately 100 new leads a day were coming into the system and there were 8 agents who were making calls. From the dashboard we were able to tell that the agents were making an average of 100 calls a day, so 800 total calls. About one quarter of the contacts were closed on each attempt and the rest went back into the queue, either as a callback for a specific date or as a priority to route four hours later. So on the first day they made around 170 calls to the leads. On the second day there were 100 new leads to call plus those that were still in circulation from the day before, and so it went every day.

VanillaSoft has a handy page which shows how many leads are in circulation and allows you to see the actual queue. When we looked, about a month and a half after they started, it showed that there were well over 1,500 leads queued up for priority routing. When you are only making 800 calls a day, have 1,500 leads queued up and are adding another 100 new ones every day it is obvious that you will never catch up. It makes me think of a dog chasing its own tail; no matter how hard it runs it will never catch it. There are leads that will continue to “disappear” after the first call. There are simply not enough calls being made versus the volume of leads.

What can you do if you realize you are chasing your own tail? One option is to reduce the number of new leads that you are purchasing. If you are paying for leads that you cannot effectively follow up with, then you are wasting money. If the leads are good, however, you may want to buy as many as you can. Another option is simply to increase the number of calls, either by getting more out of your existing people – adding auto dialing software for example, or looking for your weaker performers and coaching them – or by adding more sales people. The third option is to revisit your calling logic to see whether you can prioritize the calling in a better way. In VanillaSoft you can create lead routing rules that will actually treat leads differently based on their source, their age or the number of times they have been attempted. By using more intelligent routing rules you can often free up your queue and make sure that your sales people are getting back to the leads with the most potential.

As with most things in life the best approach is often a combination. It is important, however, to have a system that allows you to analyze the problem and then implement a solution.