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5 Signs You Have a Great Website Form Lead, and What To Do Next When you're following up on tons of form leads from your website, they all start to look the same. However, if you look for these five attributes, you'll quickly zero-in on the most promising leads.

By Brad Shorr

This story originally appeared on PR Newswire's Small Business PR Toolkit

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When you're following up on tons of form leads from your website, they all start to look the same. However, if you look for these five attributes, you'll quickly zero-in on the most promising leads.

1. Explicit request for a response

When a submission includes a message similar to one of these, the prospect has more than a casual interest:

  • Please contact me by the end of the week.
  • Please contact me via phone.

Warning: the absence of such a message does not preclude an inquiry from being hot. In B2B, some savvy buyers avoid prompting a response to test the supplier's follow-up ability.

2. Has a budget

If your form has a field for budget-related information, congratulations: you've established an excellent filter for separating legitimate leads from possible fishing expeditions. If prospects do not have a budget for your product/service, they are not in the market … yet.

Of course, preliminary inquiries -- such as ones without budgets -- are worth following up on. However, inquiries where a budget has been allocated should take precedence, going to the most skilled and experienced personnel for follow-up.

3. Is credit worthy

When an inquiring organization or individual has strong credit, odds are the inquiry is serious. And equally important, the prospect has the ability to pay for your product/service. Many organizations waste time tracking down leads from fly-by-night operations; and even if a sale is made, the result is usually a collection problem or write-off.

Consider adding an inquiry form field for credit information, or alternatively, putting form leads through a preliminary credit check before passing them on to the sales department. This may save your sales team a great deal of time, and prevent your company from absorbing losses.

4. Is submitted by a decision-maker

Always look for job titles in form submissions. When you see titles like CEO, CFO (C-anything, really), President, VP, Director, etc. -- your website has caught the attention of a person able to pull the trigger on a purchase. Fast, effective follow-up will determine whether the person is ready and willing.

Form submissions from decision-makers are worth priority follow-up, even if the substance of the inquiry is vague or misaligned with your product/service offering. Even if the specific inquiry is a dead end, establishing a relationship with a high-level decision maker will prove valuable for future sales efforts.

5. Has made previous contact

Cold, first-time inquiries tend to have lower close rates than inquiries from prospects that have made contact in the past. So, a form field that asks, "Have you purchased from us, or considered purchasing from us in the past?" is a useful filter.

In the absence of that, or in addition, cross-check form submissions with your CRM and billing database to see if the individual or organization has history with your firm. If so, the lead should be prioritized. In addition, any previous billing or sales information will help sales customize its response and anticipate probable objections.

Bottom line: Getting the right form information on form leads saves time, improves close rates and prevents losses. A system for processing website form leads can never be put on autopilot; companies that do so almost always end up circling the airport until they run out of fuel.

Brad Shorr

Director of Content Strategy, Straight North

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