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 Insid​eSales​.com did in con­junc­tion with Omniture.

Insid​eSales​.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 Insid​eSales​.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