Start-up to Watch: Speak2Leads, “Press 2 to Triple your Sales!”

Continuing the series of weblogs exploring businesses running on Telecom APIs, I spoke with Sammy James, founder and CEO of Speak2Leads.  Speak2Leads’ proposition is simple, respond almost immediately to a customer lead, with six in total carefully timed contact attempts.  A Kellogg study on Lead Response Management (LRM) revealed the odds of connecting with a lead increases by 100 times if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead is generated. And the odds of converting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes increases by 21 times.  78% of all sales go to the first company to return a prospect’s call.  Using Speak2Leads can double and in some cases triple a company’s sales.  The focus of the business is Lead Response Management (LRM), and a core technology is telephony in sales people talking to leads at the right time for the lead, hence their use of Telecom APIs so Speak2Leads can focus on delivering the best LRM service to its customers.

The products being sold are usually complex sales or considered purchases, for example in education, auto sales, and insurance.  Speak2Leads (S2L) has helped more than 100 North American education, technology and other organizations increase Internet lead connections and conversions.  Companies spend significant budgets to generate Internet leads, using lead management and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems to track them. What’s often overlooked is how slowly companies respond to these leads, it can take days, weeks and often never; and as critically they lack of metrics around the response.  Often only 40% of the leads are ever contacted, wasting 60% of the budget from people that wanted to speak to the organization.

Being first to respond is becoming critical to winning the deal, Speak2Leads enables businesses to respond in under 30 seconds from when the lead is received, for example upon the completion of an internet form.  That’s almost click to call!  But it’s much more complex than that as often the lead is not contacted on the first call.  Here a complex set of heuristics kicks in on how many times, when, and using which channel the customer is followed-up.  For example, in the US the focus is persistent call reattempts combined with email delivered at optimum intervals, SMS is not recommended until a relationship has been built with the prospect and the communication is more confirmation / alerting.  While in other countries around the world SMS can play a different role.  This is the power of the multichannel platform Speak2Leads has built.  They can raise the leads contacted from 40% to over 90%, more leads contacted means more sales, more leads contacted first means more sales – hence the doubling and in some cases tripling of sales that can be achieved.

The platform tracks all the leads, how and when they were contacted, and can integrate into the business’s preferred CRM platform.  S2L works with the leading CRM’s, email service providers, landing page and marketing automation platforms, such as, Unbounce, HubSpot, InfusionSoft and MailChimp.  Some sales organizations do not like internet leads, the usual people and process issues within organizations, often just ignoring them.  This is all tracked, down to the individual sales representatives.  Leads can also come from TV, print, website, and agencies that sell leads.  And it’s not just new leads, Sammy explained, “We’ve mined lists of old leads, so called lead revival using the Tropo platform from Voxeo Labs to deliver personalized messages,  and achieved a 2-7% response rate.  A list that was thought useless has value and we help businesses mine those assets.

Speak2Leads have been in operation for 7 years, in building the business they have experienced a number of telephony platform providers upon which they’ve run their business.  “We need the very best Telephony network we can get,” said Sammy, “and Voxeo Labs is in our experience the best network on the market.  In your previous weblog on Tropo’s Secret Sauce, you hit the nail on the head; it’s the best Total Cost of Ownership because it’s just got to work, no ifs, ands, or buts.”  Sammy explained, “Voice is complex, calls can drop when you consider the computers, switches, wire and fiber-optic cables involved and when they do you need; a partner that knows voice networks inside out and will respond fast and furious to identify the source of the problem and get it fixed.   Also we’re adding features every 4 to 6 weeks, hence we need a platform and a partner that can work with us to meet our specific customer needs.  Voxeo Labs provides the world class support and advice so we’re the best we can be.”

Sammy explained their business model, “It’s quite simple really, we provide up to 6 call attempts per lead for charge per lead connected, at around $2 per lead depending on volume, which our customers consider to be amazing value for money.

Sammy then reviewed his expansion plans as he’s focusing all his business activities on Speak2Leads.  “International markets are tough given the mobile call charges in some countries; we’re exploring with Voxeo Labs how Phono and other options can help us expand our business faster into international markets.  We’re happy to white-label, and looking to expand internationally through partners as well as directly.

Sammy’s advice on his experiences in building this business are, “Keep it simple, don’t disrupt the existing business, complement it, zero training, measure, measure and measure – else how can a business get better.  Using Tropo from Voxeo Labs enables us to seamlessly insert our value into what businesses are doing today, with a reliable and highly programmable platform, with unmatched support in the industry.