“For the best results: how should companies respond to their leads?”
Inspired by a study conducted on this topic by insidesales.com in conjunction with Ohio State University, I want to share my thoughts on how outsourcing lead qualification calls can positively impact your bottom line.
The study’s research revealed some very interesting information regarding lead response management, including best times to call, how quickly businesses should respond to prospective leads, and the value of persistence.
Much of the data points to the need for timely responses to inbound leads, multiple touches to prospects, and repeated efforts to connect with prospects in order to qualify them properly.
The data and best practices laid out in the results are clear, and yet, frequently the proper execution is lacking. It’s one thing to understand the importance of lead management and follow-up, it’s another to have a solid team in place to consistently carry out best practices.
Lead Management Data
The data reveals that success in lead management requires multiple touches – requiring not just one response, but many, and preferably over the phone:
- 50% of leads were not responded to at all
- Only 28% of leads were first responded to by phone – even though phone calls have higher response rates and are more likely to result in a sale
- Just 9.4% of leads received the recommended 12 touches from a sales rep
- The most common method for first response was an email
If the study shows that phone calls are more likely to result in a sale, and it may take up to 12 calls to reach a decision-maker with the authority to begin a sales process, why is the most common first response an email?
Likely it is because a sales team has internal pressures and commitments that keep them from being able to consistently pick up the phone and make the 11th or 12th attempt. Or the limited size of an internal sales team means they must focus most of their energy on the sales that are nearing a close.
So an automated email is sent, creating the illusion that there was a response to an inquiry, but it lacks the personalization and intent of a qualified sales call.
Whatever the reason, it’s clear that prospects who have shown an interest are being left unanswered and ready to be picked up by the competition.
Why Outsourcing Calls Means Better Lead Management
Outsourcing sales calls can serve as a complement to your internal sales team, offering a focused and concerted effort to contact all prospects generated through inbound marketing.
It means that the people making the calls have executive-level experience and expertise and can ask the questions that will truly qualify leads.
When you hire a team whose sole purpose is to make the calls, be persistent, and make consistent attempts to reach a decision maker, then it becomes possible to follow best practices and see results.
The data is clear; inbound marketing is generating leads consistently, but the follow-up is often lacking and therefore marketing dollars are being wasted because there isn’t a solid system in place to handle lead qualification.
Consider outsourcing to experts who can nurture inbound leads promptly and effectively so you don’t lose interested prospects to the competition.