B2B marketers know how important it is to follow up leads quickly. But do we know how quickly? And can call backs actually hurt your chances?

A customer sent me this link to Lead Response Management last week, and I’m embarrassed not to have seen it previously. Here’s the essence:

  • Study was across 15,000 web-generated leads from 6 large companies over 3 years. Sure, the data could be across a larger number of companies, but I’m not disputing their findings.
  • Calling on Thursdays is 50% better than calling on Tuesdays for first phone contact
  • Wednesdays are 25% better than Fridays for qualification (contact is have a conversation at all, qualification is agreeing to enter into a more comprehensive dialogue)
  • Start and end of day are great times for calling (8-9 and 4-6)
  • But who cares about the above? These next data dwarfed those in the earlier findings:
    • Attempts to contact are 10 times less successful if you wait for an hour
    • Even within this first hour, they drop by a factor of 10 from the first 5 minutes to the last
    • Calling to qualify is only slightly less dramatic: a 6-fold decline after an hour
  • Here’s the last biggie:
    • If you let the lapse for 20 hours, the chance of ever successfully qualifying that lead decrease with every call attempt. So if you’ve goofed and let the lead lapse more than 20 hours, call once, then stop calling and move on.

In our Funnel Plans, we focus heavily on recycling programs for leaked leads. Many marketers confuse nurturing and recycling, but I’ll save that debate for another day. For now my point is simpler: inside sales / telemarketing won’t want to let go of your wasted leads (> 20 hours old) unless you offer somewhere for these leads to go to. So leak with intent, and then move them into your recycling program. I’ve woven links to other relevant articles there which I hope you enjoy.

Here’s the link to the telemarketing research summary again. Congrats to the authors on very useful and clearly-presented findings.