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28% of Group Sales Inquiries Are Lost, Ignored or Abandoned

I am always asking how can Tripleseat make the job of selling and managing events for sales managers easier or where can Tripleseat streamline the booking and planning process?  To answer this question I look for where the planning process breaks down and where there is opportunity to use today’s technology to improve revenue (because, that is what it is all about)

Let’s start at the beginning….sales. The sale generally starts with an inquiry, no mystery there, but what has changed is how the inquiry is received. Consumers are starting their buying cycle on the web.  A recent Cornell study showed that consumers (your potential customers) prefer reservation style solutions over more traditional methods like phone and e-mail for communication. This is good news because the recent survey from Quality Track International clearly shows the phone inquiry process is broken with 28% of Group Sales Inquiries Are Lost, Ignored or Abandoned by Catering Sales Managers.

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E-mail is not much better then the phone as consumers have a nasty habit of not giving all the information restaurants need to call back or understand what kind of event is trying to be booked. The final death blow is that both e-mail and the phone are data black holes that cannot be mined for future marketing and sales activities.

To fix this we created the SmartLead. SmartLead is booking engine that is integrated to the restaurant website and Tripleseat. With Smartlead we have provided a tool that opens up a new inquiry distribution channel that enables restaurants to:

1.Provide a online booking platform for consumers in the style they are familiar with therefore increasing the amount of inquiries restaurant receive.
2.Integrate the data from the website to the restaurant’s  Tripleseat database eliminating the need to “cut and paste” data or lose data in the blackhole of e-mail and paper
3. Respond faster to the inquiry and close more business. It is widely known that the “first one in, wins”
4.Reduce the # of lost leads by receiving the lead

So, did we solve the inquiry problem? The evidence to date suggests we did. Our restaurant customers have seen on average a 30% increase in inquiries via SmartLead vs the phone and e-mail. In addition the leads received via SmartLead are more qualified and therefore the percentage of leads becoming revenue has increased. Finally the percentage of leads not being followed up on has dropped to almost zero in comparison to the 22% of calls not being returned by Sales Managers. All this translates into an INCREASE in revenue (not many restaurants can say that in 2009) for group dining.

Stay tuned for part 2 on how the planning process for booked events is so 1985 and how Tripleseat are bringing Catering Sales Manager into the future.

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