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Understanding and exercising the most effective strategies for managing your critical inbound leads is pretty straightforward. We’ve boiled it down to the 4 Ps: Promptness, Persistence, Personalization and Performance.
First, promptness. Once a prospect has become apparent, the faster you respond, the better your chance of making a sale. According to InsideSales.com studies, even the difference between 5 minutes and 30 minutes can substantially impact your chance of contacting and qualifying a lead.
Next, persistence. It’s simple: the more times you try, the more likely you are to make contact with a lead. Taking the time to follow up is worth it: a Yesware study confirms that continuing to reach out even all the way to an eighth attempt and beyond will generate a higher response rate.
Is your message personal? The more elements of personalization you can include in an email, the more likely the recipient will open it and click through or respond—up to 137 percent more likely.
Don’t discount performance. If an email ends up in the junk folder—as do nearly half of business emails—the rest of your efforts are in vain. Graphics-heavy, link-laden emails won’t get the job done.
The 4 Ps sum up what we know companies should do to engage leads successfully. But how closely do they correspond with what companies actually do?
That’s the question we set out to answer in our 2015 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-up. We tested 327 companies across nine industries to see what happens when research meets the real world. Our secret shopper sent direct, business-specific inquiries via mail or web form, and for the next 30 days, we tracked each company’s response time, response frequency, level of personalization, and ability to land in the inbox.
Our most shocking finding was that just over one-third of the companies we contacted did not respond at all. Zero. No response. A direct inquiry, a hot prospect asking to be contacted directly, was ignored by 34% of the companies contacted!
Almost as surprising is the fact that only 3% of the companies that did respond were following best practices in all four areas: Promptness, Persistence, Personalization and Performance. On the contrary:
Our most recent edition of the Sales Effectiveness Report, we secret-shopped 1,177 companies to see how well they engage with inbound leads and identify trends in lead engagement strategies. See how you stack up!
Clearly, there’s a disconnect here between theory and practice. And that’s, unfortunately, not so surprising. We know that for many businesses keeping up with leads is a perennial struggle. We also know that there’s a better way. A look at the top performers in our study suggests key steps to optimizing inbound leads:
The report focuses on the overall results and best practices for improvement, without calling out specific companies as doing well or poorly. But good performance deserves to be recognized, so here we have all the companies that scored an A or B grade in the study, grouped by industry:
Inbound leads are far too valuable—and too expensive—to let languish. Our 2015 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-up can help you find ways to maximize both your leads and your time.
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