Why Your Follow-Up Is Failing

Why Your Follow-Up Is Failing.Any manufacturing executive who is not living under a rock knows the critical importance of having a high quality website that is structured to provide education and to generate inquiries. As I have written in the past, the simplest way to view the Web is that it has transferred power from the seller to the buyer. Early stage buying activities, such as research and information gathering, are all being done online. This provides your prospects the opportunity to find out what they need without having to speak with a salesperson.

Some of my industrial marketing consulting clients tell me that they are able to generate plenty of leads from downloads on their websites. While this is a good start, in many ways generating these inquiries is the easy part. But the complaint I hear on a consistent basis is that they find it difficult, if not impossible, to follow up on these leads. They spend lots of time and money creating and promoting their lead generating content, get dozens (or hundreds) of web forms completed and then—nothing.

This is frustrating to say the least and many of them are losing a fortune due to poor follow-up. As with so many problems, you are also presented with a king-sized opportunity. If you want to dramatically improve your follow-up success, then read on about an interesting bit of research that will make a world of difference.

I recently read a report from insidesales.com that was truly astonishing. In a study conducted by Professor James B. Oldroyd at MIT involving 700 companies, he determined that if you respond to a web inquiry within 5 minutes instead of 30 minutes you have 100 times the chance of reaching the person who requested the information and 21 times the chance of being able to qualify the lead. If you wait 55 minutes to respond you reduce your odds by 96%.

Now if that doesn’t make you take note he also determined that the average response time by email was 19 hours and 31 minutes. Response time by phone was 36 hours and 57 minutes. One more fact that is beyond belief, 45.2% of sales teams do not respond at all!

If your follow up is failing the first place to look is your response time. Prospects are busy and by tomorrow your web content will be forgotten and your prospects will be on to the next set of problems.

Obviously when you call you can’t say, “Hi there, I noticed you downloaded a report from my site. Are you ready to buy yet?” There is a much better way to follow up than that. But of course that is a whole other subject.

The key point is this: strive for a company-wide commitment to respond to inquiries in 5 minutes or less and watch the return on your industrial marketing investment soar.

Andrew Shedden

Andrew is the president of Broadfield Communications. When he's not working he likes reading history and biographies. He enjoys classic cars, music, and everything about rural settings. He loves to travel the world.