Knowing how hard it can be to generate a steady (or even unsteady) stream of business leads and reading about how many companies are looking for ways to drive more leads, I’m still shocked from a study we ran recently at Boxpilot.
We were curious about how long it takes an average small business to respond to an information request. Our sample was skewed to smaller companies who we suspected, didn’t have a large call center or a sophisticated marketing automation program backing up their internet presence.
We already know how well the most advanced marketers can manage their potential leads. But there’s a universe of smaller businesses out there without the manpower or the systems (or the budget) to keep up with the latest standards. So, the question we posed to ourselves was “How long will it take them to answer our information requests?” and those requests, I might add, also included requests for product quotes.
You’ve probably heard about studies showing that in terms of making contact with web leads you need to strike while the iron is still very hot indeed, with the chances of making contact falling way off within less than a few hours. Sadly, the businesses we checked into didn’t reach that standard. In fact, only 5% of them responded (by phone or email) on the same business day. One fifth of the companies followed up our information requests within 2-5 business days. Another 15% got back to us the following week.
Here’s the killer. Over half – 55% to be exact- of the businesses we asked for information about their product or service never got back to us, at all. We heard nothing, nadda, zilch. What a brilliant strategy if your goal is to turn a glimmer of positive interest into a dissappointing demonstration of your lack of efficiency! What a waste.
Really – how hard can it be to take an internet inquiry and have a sales or marketing person take two minutes to look at the question and give some kind of an answer – even a quick email? Well, clearly it’s harder than it looks for smaller businesses.
What could be getting in the way?
- Maybe web form information is being sent to the wrong person, or not enough people
- Maybe there are no clear systems or standards in place
- Maybe our requests were out of the ordinary and no one was willing to step out of the box to handle them
- Maybe we just didn’t look like a good enough prospect and the reps were cherry picking
- Maybe the responses weren’t getting forwarded
- Maybe the people managing them were just too busy to respond right away and then, once a few days had gone by “chickened out”.
- Maybe they got so few responses they were just in shock
Maybe they just need some help.