A virtual receptionist is a great addition to your “digital front of house”, providing professionalism to your call management.
But virtual receptionists can do much more than get callers to the right people or take messages.
In reality, you’re potentially leaving money on the table by only using them in this capacity.
Virtual receptionists also make a brilliant addition to your sales function, providing a highly valuable service, transforming the way your sales process works.
This service is: lead qualification.
Qualifying leads is the most time consuming and difficult part of a sales team’s day-to-day job according to research by HubSpot.
The reason is that not every call to your sales team is sales ready.
Often, they’re early-stage leads still looking for information or doing research into products, services or providers.
These callers are still valuable in the long run, but they’re not necessarily best speaking to sales.
Instead, they could be diverted towards a useful piece of content on your website or given sales collateral to help with their research.
But the only way to know this is by talking to them.
This is where your virtual receptionist comes in.
How virtual receptionists work for lead qualification
Lead qualification will work slightly differently depending on the business, but the process is largely the same.
Determine whether the prospect is a good fit as a customer (if you target £100k turnover businesses you’re not going to work with a £20k company, for example).
And then figure out where in the buyers’ journey the lead is.
Much of this can be done proactively on your website, through inbound marketing using forms.
But for cold leads who call you, you’ll need a process to determine who they need to speak with.
With a virtual receptionist, this lead qualification process is simple:
1 – You hand your lead qualification questions to your virtual receptionist
2 – They run through the questions with the caller
3 – Depending on the responses, they can pass the caller through to sales, or direct them to a more appropriate person or resource
With time, and after you’ve developed more trust in your virtual receptionist, you could also allow them to directly book sales meetings for your team and provide detailed call notes so your sales team is fully prepared to deal with the call.
This will take time to develop, but using a virtual receptionist to handle lead qualification questions is an easy way to start streamlining your sales process and freeing your team up to deal with hotter leads.
Why you should use a virtual receptionist for sales
You might be thinking you’ve got a sales team for a reason and part of that reason is to qualify leads and deal with cold calls.
And there can still be an element of that.
But there can be a number of benefits to allowing your virtual receptionist to screen cold leads before they go through to sales:
1. Free up your sales team’s time
Many sales teams say they spend too much time on leads who aren’t ready to buy, spending just 15% of their time engaging sales-ready prospects.
By qualifying leads before they get to your sales team you can spend more time with legitimate sales-ready leads and grow your revenue.
2. Prioritise sales leads
Just because a lead isn’t ready to buy now, doesn’t mean they won’t be a few months down the line.
By using your virtual receptionist you can still get all the information you need to add a lead to your CRM and sales funnels, and monitor the progress of the sale through to completion.
3. Don’t miss leads
Missing a business call is always a risk of lost revenue.
If you have a small sales team that’s constantly active, there’s a chance they may miss calls when they do come in – even if they are ready to buy.
With your virtual receptionist handling business calls for you, you can qualify a lead immediately and then either pass an urgent message through to sales, or book a meeting directly on the call.
Don’t let your virtual receptionist go to waste
Hiring a virtual receptionist helps ensure you never have to worry about missing an incoming business call.
They add a professional voice to your business without the expense and admin of hiring a full or part-time member of staff.
But beyond call management a virtual receptionist can add more value that can help your company grow and thrive.
From lead qualification, to blocking spam calls to removing your business from sales lists, it’s critical you take a complete view of your virtual receptionist service and ensure it’s not going to waste.