A couple years we worked with a client who invested a significant budget with a branding agency to build out a beautiful new web presence. The client came to us because they weren't seeing any leads coming through the site and asked us to help them out. We did the first thing we normally do, submitted a request through their contact page and waited for a response. None came.
We then contacted them and asked where the contact form went to. No one knew.
We gained access to the site so that we see for ourselves where the forms submitted to and were shocked to find out that they didn't actually submit anywhere. The beautiful contact page (and other landing pages) were dummy forms that responded via the web with a confirmation but didn't send nor save the submissions anywhere. Yikes.
This year, we took on a client who fired their previous marketing agency for the very same issue. They went live and didn't get a lead for three months. THREE MONTHS. If the goal of your marketing is to acquire leads or sell online, how in the world do you go three months without noticing that no leads are coming through. If they don't provide us access to the reporting, we ask every single meeting how lead generation is going.
If you're not responding in time to your web requests, here's some motivation:
- You have 100 times the chance of contacting a lead if you respond within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after submission.
- You have 21 times the chance of qualifying the lead if you respond within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after submission.
We often test our clients using an alternate name and email address, submitting a request through their site to see how long the response took. More often than not, it's 1 or 2 days. But review those stats from InsideSales.com above… if you don't respond and your competitor does, who do you think received the business?
We're working with an e-commerce client where we made a request through the site. Within a few hours we received a response to our question about their product. They responded with a single sentence, no personalization, no thank-you, and – worst of all – no links for more information or an actual product page that the visitor could follow and make a purchase at.
If you're receiving a request via email or web form to your company, are you looking up to see if the person is a long-time customer or a new prospect? Can you educate them deeper on the issue at hand? Can you make a recommendation to them on additional content to check out? Or – even better – can you somehow bring them directly into the sales cycle? If they left a phone number, why not call them and see if you can close a sale over the phone? Or if it's by email, can you provide them a discount on a product or service they may be interested in?
These aren't cold leads, they're red hot leads that take the time to submit their personal information and ask you for help. You should be jumping on these opportunities to assist them and make a champion out of yourself!
One of the more widely used web form automation testing solutions out there is Selenium. With their technology, you can script a web form submission. This is something you may want to invest time and effort in, especially if you're continuously making site and technology changes. Being alerted when there's no response to a contact page or lead form submission within 5 minutes may be a strategy you want to deploy sooner rather than later!