Is your company quickly and efficiently responding to customer questions?

With the number of companies increasingly turning to the internet to generate leads or produce sales it is not surprising that online advertising spending has jumped to $22.7 billion in 2009 from $12.5 billion in 2005. While the leads may be pouring in, a recent study by The Harvard Business Review found that many companies are slow to respond to customer inquiries and as a result put their ability to close a sale in jeopardy.

The HBR study looked at 2,241 U.S. companies and measured how long each took to respond to a web-generated lead. It was found that while 37% of the companies responded within an hour, 24% took longer than 24-hours and a shocking 23% never responded at all.

This data is particularly interesting when examining the rate at which leads go cold. Companies who make contact within the first hour are seven times more likely to qualify the lead (defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker). The qualification of leads decreased by 50% if companies waited an extra hour.

NetSuite puts the tools necessary to stay on top of leads right at your finger tips. NetSuite allows you to receive email alerts when a record is created or updated and/or schedule bulk record alerts.

NetSuite provides out of the box options for web forms. The most common can be found by going to Setup - Marketing - Online Customer Form. You can easily have an email alert sent to the assigned Sales Rep as well as specifying email addresses to cc on the alert.

When creating your online form you can set record creation preferences, found under the Setup Work Flow tab. By checking the Create Customers as Companies box you instruct NetSuite to create a customer record as a company if a company name is entered in the form. If no company name is provided, the customer record will be an individual. Uncheck this box if you always want customers to be individuals.

NetSuite's Saved Search functionality allows you to apply even more alert preferences. Check the Send Email Alert When Records Are Created/Updated to be emailed as soon as a Customer Record changes. Check Public and Allow User to Subscribe if you want this Saved Search available in the general alerts option (Home - Set Preferences - Alerts).

Email is sent the specified recipients.

Oldroyd, James. The Short Life of Online Sales Leads. (2011, March).Harvard Business Review, 28.

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