The Short Life of Online Sales Leads
Sales Leads: Harvard Business Review, March 2011
Are you confident that your company is effectively handling potential customers’ online queries? Think hard. Our research shows that most companies are not responding nearly fast enough.
Companies in financial services, automobiles, education, software, health care, professional services, and many other industries have increasingly turned to the internet to generate sales leads. Indeed, corporate spending on online advertising aimed at drumming up leads to potential customers soared from $12.5 billion in 2005 to $22.7 billion in 2009, and it’s still growing strongly. Online brokerages that offer customers a simple way to get quotes from multiple companies and then sell the resulting leads to those companies are thriving in both the B2B and B2C markets. The business of providing technology and services to help companies turn online leads into sales is on the rise as well.
Top Lead Generators
Nonetheless, our research indicates that many firms are too slow to follow up on these leads. We audited 2,241 U.S. companies, measuring how long each took to respond to a web-generated test lead. Although 37% responded to their lead within an hour, and 16% responded within one to 24 hours, 24% took more than 24 hours—and 23% of the companies never responded at all. The average response time, among companies that responded within 30 days, was 42 hours.
These results are especially shocking given how quickly online leads go cold
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