If you’ve been following my blogging activities in recent weeks, you should now have a good understanding of how you might implement an automated lead nurturing and response strategy.

I’ve walked you through creating the perfect lead nurturing email to recoup lost revenue for BtoC companies and BtoB companies. I’ve described in detail when, and how often, to contact leads. And I’ve talked about how to successfully create a long-term strategy.

Now that you know exactly how a top-notch lead nurturing strategy is constructed, I thought it would be interesting to share the results of a survey that InsideSales.com did in conjunction with Omniture.

InsideSales.com set up aliases, such as John@xyzcompany.com, and completed the lead or request information form of 700 different companies — representative of the market — several different times. Then kept track of their lead response and nurturing strategies and compared them to the strategies I’ve outlined in recent weeks, to see how they stacked up.

How did they do?

  • Average email response time: 19 hours, 31 minutes
    *Optimum response time should be within the first hour
  • Average phone response time: 36 hours, 57 minutes
    *Optimum phone response time should be within the first five minutes
  • How many companies even responded?
    *Only 47.3 percent responded via email, and just 7.5 percent responded via phone!

Out of the 700 companies, there was an average of just 3.3 contacts per company. Only 4.6 percent used a strategy involving both phone and email, and less than 5 percent called within 24 hours.

When you consider that a successful long-term lead response strategy begins with a phone call and email within the first 24 hours, that there should be an attempt to contact leads up to 26 times until you reach them in the first two weeks, that there should be at least one email a month — followed by a phone call — on an ongoing basis thereafter, these companies fell far, far short of the ideal.

Simply stated, companies across the board are desperately lacking in nurturing those important and hard-to-come-by prospects. Your competitors are dropping the ball, leaving an opportunity wide open for you to step up to the plate. By implementing a lead nurturing strategy now, you can be miles ahead of your competition.

I challenge you, today, to begin. Step up your efforts to reach a lead in the days following their first contact with you. See if you can attempt to contact prospects up to 26 times until you reach them (this can be done using technology from companies like InsideSales.com that can mask caller ID so it doesn’t look like you’re being a pest).

So try it. I guarantee your sales will improve — even as your competitors’ stagnate.

5 comments
Mikel Chertudi
Mikel Chertudi

Ray, Great question – let me to clarify. The strategy for top leads (based on implicit and explicit scoring) is the following: first, several attempts to call the lead within 5 minutes for the next few hours using an auto-dialing technology (if no auto dialer is deployed, then manual dials). If a conversation is not successful, then leave a message. The auto-email would go out after a 2-3 hours time period of someone completing the lead form, which leaves enough time for the more-important conversation to take place. If the call is successful, then the person following up on the lead could flag the contact within the CRM/SFA/ or automation system that would suspend the first automated email and remaining response/nurturing program. Hopefully this is more clear – let me know if I can further explain.

Ray Jones
Ray Jones

The response times are puzzling. If you have an automated system in place, won't it send an email right away? I can't think of a reason why a system would wait. So what is going on? Apparently, email response requires some human intervention, i.e., someone deciding to respond, which makes absolutely no sense in response to a form. Am I missing something here?

Joao
Joao

It's true, I really does make a difference. I think many people know they should be contacting their leads faster but they don't know how big of a difference it makes. lead response management

Darin
Darin

Thank you for sharing those results. We've found that the hang up in many companies is that they focus too much on the perfect lead nurturing messages that they never get around to implementing immediate responses. The simpler is better in most cases anyway. Don't let paralysis of analysis get the better of you. Also, internet leads are not like wine or cheese. They don't need aging. They need to be contacted immediately.

Bryan Eisenberg
Bryan Eisenberg

Mikel, You are so right on and these stats are frightening for the state of our industry. People seem to forget that your competitor is just one click away and leads want to solve their problem and get their answers NOW. Great post! Bryan