New Leads Study Supports Quickness and Follow Up

follow up NOW to grows sales sales strategyA sales leader asked me yesterday, “What do we do with the sales reps that are not following up on the 50% of leads coming in that don't get called more than once?”

He was commenting in response to the fact that 50% of all leads coming into a company are never called a second time. This fact is from research previously done by Leads360, a cloud based leads management and sales automation company.

Their new study, The Ultimate Contact Strategy: How to Best Use Phone and Email for Contact and Conversion Success was just released this week. (note: you must fill in contact info to get the full report which I think is well worth your effort.)

In the study, some key conclusions came from their analysis of data from 3.5 million leads included:

Quick lead response will grow revenues – Calling a buyer within one minute of them becoming a lead on your website increases your chances of converting that lead by almost 400%. And furthermore, each minute you wait decreases your chances of ever converting them.

I know companies where marketing holds on to leads for up to 2 days before they determine if they might be sales ready. This must stop. Set up a new process and get an instantaneous handoff.

The correct number of times for follow-up calls - According to the study, your best bet is to make six follow-up calls for maximum conversion without wasting time and other resources. 93% of all converted leads from this study happened by 6 phone calls. The additional 7% apparently cost too much, which I was surprised to learn.

Regularly I talk to sales leaders who have instructed their individual contributors to make 3 or 4 or 5 calls only. I hope they see this research.

Combining emails with phone calls yields more lead conversion. The study showed that 40% of the prospects in the study who had given an email address never received a single email from the seller. The best lead strategy is when email is used in addition to phone contacts. In the study, one email sent on day one of someone contacting a company, along with an immediate phone call reply yielded 49% higher conversion than without an email reply.

The best follow-up contact strategy for incoming leads, according to the study also takes into consideration the timing of calls and emails in a more planned manner. By following their suggestion, a company could keep everything the same other than implementing the study's recommended response strategy and more than double their revenues.

I don’t know about you, but if I could help my company increase sales by just 10 or 20% it would be worth the effort to try. While you may or may not agree on every point of this survey, there is no question that:

Sales people do not follow-up enough

Creating a guideline for your team to follow can increase success of conversion

Sales and marketing get bogged down in getting calls returned to those exhibiting interest.

You Just Want the Glengarry Leads?

I know, marketing doesn't give you good leads. Have you ever thought that simply by following up more on leads that are questionable will set your company above the rest? If I am not ready to buy but am contacted by you, it still gives me a sense of you and your company’s professionalism, process, and interest in helping a prospective buyer. What could be wrong with that?

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.

Topics: B2B

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