The Most Important Thing Sales Can Do to Convert Marketing Leads

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There are a lot of factors that go into converting a marketing-generated lead into a sale, but there’s one element that seems to rise above the rest: quick follow up. But, don’t just take my word for it. Numerous studies outline that prompt follow up is the most important thing sales can do to convert marketing leads. 

3 Reasons Why Salespeople Should Immediately Follow Up with Marketing Leads

Here are a few fascinating studies on the importance of prompt follow up …

  1. You should try to make contact within the first hour that a lead comes in. According to a recent study conducted by Prof. James B. Oldroyd at MIT, waiting even an hour to contact and qualify a marketing-generated lead can drastically reduce your chances of success.
  2. Immediately following up in the first five minutes is even more valuable. You’re 400x more likely to get a response if you do this within the first 5 minutes of them downloading the content. (Source)
  3. Prompt follow-up allows you to qualify leads more effectively. Companies that contact leads within an hour of receiving a query are 7X as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer. (Source)
  4. Prompt follow-up helps you stand out from your competitors. The average response time, among companies that contacted leads within 30 days, was 42 hours. So, taking the time to develop a quick response process will help you rise above the rest. (Source)

How to Empower Sales for Quick Follow Up with Marketing Leads

So, how do you go about empowering sales to follow up with marketing leads within an hour? Here are a few important principles to consider: 

Sales and Marketing Teams Need to Be in Alignment Around the Process.

Without proper marketing and sales alignment, it’s easy for leads to fall through the cracks. By establishing processes for how and when leads are transferred to sales, each team focuses on what they do best.

Sales and Marketing Teams Need to Be in Agreement on the Definition of a Lead.

It’s important to ensure that everyone has the same definition of a lead and are aligned around focused goals. You need to make sure both teams are in agreement on things like quality vs. quantity and velocity vs. volume. Agreement on what is a marketing-qualified lead is the first step in ensuring a quick marketing-to-sales handoff.

Sales Teams Need to Be Committed to Prompt Follow-Up.

Responding within an hour can seem intimidating, especially if you’re just starting the process. Start by establishing current benchmarks for how quickly your sales team is following up on leads. From there set goals to shorten this time frame. The closer sales can get to the five-minute mark, the more likely they are to qualify and eventually convert a lead to a customer.

Sales Teams Need to Be Equipped with Information and Resources to Be Effective. 

If your sales team is going to follow up immediately, then they need to know exactly what generated the lead. It also might help to equip them with resources and tools to be more effective. It could be something as simple as creating email templates your business development team can use for conversations with prospective customers. Technology also provides an opportunity to send emails on behalf of your sales team as a way to further qualify leads for them.