Last month, the Tonkean team was onsite at OpsStars, a RevOps conference held each year in San Francisco. We had all kinds of interesting conversations at our booth and in our workshop about what RevOps folks hope to achieve heading into 2023 and beyond. The most common goal? Accelerating “Speed to lead.”
What is Speed to Lead?
“Speed to Lead” measures the amount of time it takes an organization to respond to a prospect and qualify them as an inbound lead. Typically, a prospect becomes a lead after they submit a trial, fill out a demo request, or contact form.
Accelerating Speed to Lead is crucial for RevOps teams for all kinds of reasons. Tactically, the faster you’re able to route new prospects, qualify them, and coordinate the most appropriate response, the more likely those leads will turn into opportunities. (78% of customers sign with the company that reaches out to them first.) The longer this takes, the less likely those leads will convert. Oft-cited research from outlets such as Harvard Business Review has found that firms that reach out to prospects within an hour are “nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead… as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later.” The disadvantages of slow response times only get more dramatic from there.
Further, inbound leads are way more expensive to obtain than outbound. Yet they also represent low-hanging fruit, in a way, since most inbound leads have already done research on your company by the time they enter your funnel, and might be comparatively eager to purchase. Perhaps most important of all: faster response times lend themselves to a better customer experience, and set up your company for long-term success.
But here’s the thing: GTM teams sometimes struggle responding to leads quickly, efficiently, and effectively today. Some of the reasons are technical. Ops teams remain bogged down by all the manual work required of managing processes across tools and systems that don’t integrate easily with each other. Further, because the ability to innovate or iterate autonomously can be limited inside most organizations to developers and IT departments, ops teams are unable to do things like try to accelerate Speed to Lead with anything like real agility. They’re constantly context-switching and waiting for approval and access from tech gatekeepers.
But ops teams are hardly helpless. There are several strategic changes ops teams can make to the way they work right now to dramatically improve not only how fast they qualify and respond to new leads but how effectively they go about all of their lead lifecycle management.
The future of lead lifecycle management.
One thing we realized at OpsStars was that most ops teams approach accelerating Speed to Lead in a kind of step-by-step manner. Most resources you find online—articles that promise you “5 Ways To Improve Speed to Lead”—do the same, offering only a variety of point solutions: route leads in accordance with geography; route leads to reps based on their strengths; etc.
Most people tend to problem-solve this way. We identify a problem, think about how to improve it, and move onto the next item on our list.
The issue is, accelerating Speed to Lead is not a task-based thing: it’s a matter of improving entire processes.
This is a matter of technical necessity. With any complicated process, changes made to one element inevitably impact other stakeholders down the line. As does inaction. From a process design and improvement perspective, you need to be thinking Big Picture. To accelerate how quickly you qualify and respond to prospects consistently, in other words, you need to augment the many different components and tasks that make up the larger, cross-functional Speed to Lead process comprehensively.
Of course, that’s not exactly a small task. From form fills, chat, lead scoring, and lead routing to properly recording and making use of data, processes related to lead lifecycle management—including those that, if improved, might accelerate Speed to Lead—are complex and unruly. They consist of many different moving parts that are often walled off from each other in several different systems. They rely on the collaboration of stakeholders who each prefer working in different application environments. To make these myriad moving parts work better together, you need a centralized view of when and how they intersect, as well as the ability to design, augment, and enforce processes across silos, teams, and personal preferences.
That’s where Tonkean can help.
How no-code process orchestration can accelerate Speed to Lead.
During our workshop at OpsStars, we asked participants to map out their typical Speed to Lead process on a flow-chart. Here’s what one looked like:
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into turning prospects into converted leads. There are several different data systems that need to be accessed and a variety of actions that need to be taken by people across teams.
It’s no secret why a process like this takes a bit of time to run—and why it can be prone not only to delay, but human error. Most RevOps teams are doing all this manually, shepherding the process along from system-to-system and stakeholder-to-stakeholder manually. And every step along the way there are new dependencies that stop the process in its tracks—such as systems that ops teams cannot access without IT, or gatekeepers without whose permission or attention the process cannot proceed. This is why the process tends to proceed so slowly, as it’s why potential leads often fall through the cracks.
But all this can be automated with Tonkean, a no-code process orchestration platform.
With Tonkan, ops pros on their own can:
- Create workflows that integrate with all the various systems implicated in Speed to Lead efforts
- Automatically ping SDRs and sales reps in their preferred app environments
- Prompt and enable those users to take action—like update Salesforce from directly within those apps they’re already using.
- Further, Tonkean allows leadership visibility into all the different workflows that are running and automating processes across the organization, while simultaneously guaranteeing ops teams the ability to build these workflows and manage the process orchestration themselves, because Tonkean is truly no-code.
- Sales reps, finally, get to spend more time closing deals and reaching out to leads—and less time context- and application-switching and manually filling out fields in Salesforce.
- Altogether, Tonkean gives ops teams the ability to design, implement, and iterate upon process improvements that accelerate Speed to Lead and make the intake, triage, and coordination of new prospects more reliable. Importantly, it allows ops teams a new kind of autonomy in this work by eliminating dependencies that previously have stifled the creation and enforcement of standardized processes.
Here’s an example of a no-code Tonkean module built to automate the process of qualifying prospects, transmuted from the initial sticky-pad-and-poster-board version above:
What’s happening here?
- First, Tonkean is integrating the various systems your organization relies on for lead lifecycle management. (Let’s say your organization uses Salesforce as your CRM, Snowflake as your database, and Slack as your primary communication tool.)
- Next, the Tonkean module—which an ops pro has built without using even a line of code!—is monitoring those systems for a trigger action. Let’s say a potential customer interacts with one of your company’s digital ads. Information about that potential customer is automatically added into Snowflake.
- Next, Tonkean automatically transfers that data to the corresponding record inside Salesforce.
Finally, Tonkean automatically sends a smart notification to an SDR, and prompts them inside Slack to engage the potential customer with either a high-touch outreach or a low-touch outreach, depending on which kind of action makes the most sense given the lead’s info.
To help you get an idea of what this looks like in practice, we also created a short video. Check it out. It shows you not only how much faster and easier an automated, integrated, and personalized Speed to Lead process can be—but how much more reliable it is, too.
A technology partner for ops
Another thing ops has historically lacked—and that has held ops teams back from accomplishing certain of the steps outlined above—is a technology partner dedicated to their unique needs and understanding of their specific context.
At the end of the day, that’s what Tonkean seeks to be—and Speed to Lead is just one of the processes our platform can be used to improve.
If you want to see what else is possible with Tonkean—or hear more about some of the lessons we learned at OpsStars—we have a few different kinds of trials that you can sign up for. They walk users through our most powerful solutions, including Legal intake, Customer onboarding, Employee onboarding, and Email inbox automation. Sign up for one here!
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