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Telephoning Leads

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Business-to-business marketing has evolved quite a bit more than we expected in the past two years.  Mistakes have grown along with it.  What follows is based on Sherpa research via:

You can an amazingly successful lead generation campaign and hundreds of prospects inquired about your offerings.

Now you have to sort through, qualify and score all those inquiries before the best 10%-20% can be handed over to the sales department.

We assume the rest are sorted into no-good and needs-nurturing and dealt with appropriately by the marketing department.

These days, more often than not, the marketing department is in charge of that process, generally overseeing an inside sales team or an external telemarketing vendor (or some combination of the two.)

No matter who’s supervising this telephoning, the big question is:  how quickly can it be done?

Many marketers say, proudly, ‘We phone call all incoming queries within a week.”
We can assure you none of these marketers has measured the difference a few days, or even hours makes.

Nevertheless, the automotive industry has.  They’ve determined that for every 30 minute lag after a car buying prospect submits his or her info on an online form, the resulting lead quality sags.

If you get back to a lead in less than ½ an hours, you’ll reach far more people and you’ll have far greater success in ultimately closing the deal.

If you wait for an hour, you’ll reach fewer people, close fewer deals.  Wait for an entire week and … well, you get the picture.

Lag time is especially critical:
- in highly competitive industries where prospects may be comparing several vendors.

- if your leads are driven by search engine marketing.

- if you’re marketing to small businesses and you offer something that’s not so core to their vertical that they’ll spend the time researching vendors carefully and waiting for your call prior to buying.  (In other words, IT services, telephony, accounting, etc.)

- if your sales cycle is under a month

Solution?  Before the campaign goes out, get your team ready to act on responses.  And if it’s a big campaign, consider staggering it to segments so you’re not inundated by too many inquiries at once.

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