In various lead generation circles, you may hear a lot about inquiry management and may even receive questions about how your business manages it. It is an aspect of sales that can overwhelm an organizations’ sales team which is why it is important to quickly find a solution that will help meet business objectives.
Let’s first start with defining an inquiry, which can be any inbound contact made via email, phone, web or online chat. Inquiries can either be solicited by way of marketing campaigns, advertising or other outbound marketing activities, or can be unsolicited and unexpected, through activities such as web searches, word-of-mouth or referrals. In either instance, an inquiry is a valuable opportunity and should be handled with precision and care.
Inquiry management involves any step that a company takes to capture, respond and react to an inbound inquiry. A typical inquiry management process would consist of three stages: information capture, response/follow up and lead classification.
Information Capture: This stage is the first introduction that a company has to the inbound inquiry. During this time, critical information is captured, and when possible, preliminary research is conducted to gain a high-level understanding of the company and potential fit.
Response/Follow Up: Following the preliminary information capture, this stage involves the initial lead qualification where interaction/communication with the inbound inquiry is initiated to gather more in-depth information, including detailed insights into the prospect’s budget, needs and authority to purchase.
Lead Classification: The lead classification is the final stage in inquiry management, where inquiries are classified as leads and appropriate next steps are assigned based on the information gathered from previous interactions. In this stage the sales-ready leads are separated from those with longer term potential, or no potential at all.