I was on a website and had just downloaded a whitepaper when I got a call from the company sponsoring the paper. I hadn’t even exited the site.
The eager inside sales person wanted to know if I had any questions. I replied that he was creeping me out, that I hadn’t even had a chance to read the whitepaper, but as long as he was on the phone, I had one question; “What made him think it was a good idea to call me within 60 seconds of the download?”
He apologized and said he just wanted to make sure I got what I needed. We then had a discussion about the appropriate length of time and approach for responding.
There is a 2007 study by James Oldroyd, PhD Professor Sloan School of Management at MIT and David Elkington of InsideSales.com that I think is worth looking at.
In this study, they found a ten-fold drop off rate in odds of calling and connecting with a prospect after the first hour of delayed response to an inquiry. The odds of calling to qualify a lead drop six-fold after an hour, and after twenty hours, calling may actually hurt your chances.
What really isn’t clear is what is the event that triggers the call. If a prospect actively sends a question, or requests contact, then I believe response time is critical. Prospects tend to want what they want when they want it. And their attention drifts if you can’t give it to them. That’s why bounce rates are important to websites.
But what is your response to a sales clerk in a store who immediately asks if they can help you? Most people say, “Just looking,” which is code for don’t bother me. So the key is not response time, but understanding what the prospect is looking for.
For anything but a direct request, it’s best to log a download or event into your lead scoring system and treat is as a developing lead. It’s a best practice to automate your response so they get a thank you. Then you may even suggest another subject in which they might be interested. The logic and architecture of your campaigns becomes very important at this point and should be A/B tested.
But please don’t creep out your prospects and kill your speed to lead. Delight them by providing them with what they need or may need when they need it.
Do Great Things!
Prairie Sky Group
Making Sales Cry With Qualified Leads
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