You Have The Lead, Now Use It: The Lag In Email Follow-Up

Events are supposed to be great B2B lead generators , but that’s only true if you follow up quickly. And many companies don’t, according “Closing the Loop: Crunching the Numbers on Event Lead Followup,” a study released yesterday by Certain. 

And since email is the most used follow-up tool, this can’t be good news for email specialists.

Of the B2B 150 marketers polled, only 2% follow up in the same day. And 24.5% take one to three days. That’s as good as it gets. Of those polled, 29.1% contact leads in four to six days. And 44.4% waste seven days or more.

That said, some firms deliberately wait. And over two-thirds say that lead follow-up time varies greatly from one event to the other.

When marketers do follow up, email is the most widely used channel for the first contact, as shown by these statistics:

  • Email — 51.7%
  • Phone call — 22.5%
  • Social media — 17.9%
  • Direct mail — 7.3%
  • Other — 0.7%

Despite the lag times, most firms are satisfied, with 42.4% saying they are somewhat satisfied and 29.1% saying they are completely satisfied.

Obviously, they’re getting conversions no matter how long it takes them to contact new leads. But, as Certain notes, “every minute of delay in following up with leads decreases the likelihood of conversion,” so “those delays equate to real costs.”  

Why don’t they observe best practices and act more quickly? Here’s why:

  • Preparing the leads for follow-up takes a long time — 43.7%
  • They are missing technological tools that would speed up the process — 23.2%
  • Lack of organization — 14.6% 
  • Deliberately wait to follow up — 11.3 
  • Procrastination — 7.3% 

Makes you wonder whether procrastination is the main reason, and if the other ones are mere excuses.

Technology may also be more of a factor than is apparent. Asked how they input leads, 42.4% said it is done through manual entry on a computer or tablet. And 31.1% cited ink and paper (i.e., business cards or sign-up sheets). Finally, 26.5% use electronic scanners.

This typically takes from a few minutes (19.9%) to a few hours (57%). For 23.2%, however, it takes several days.

After following up, 96% add the lead’s email address their database for use in later campaigns.

Who is responsible for the process? For 47%, it’s the marketing department. For 28.5%, it’s sales.

Another 21.9% have a dedicated events department. And 2.6% cite “other.”

Most companies have less than 30 people working on lead follow-up, and 30.5% have from two to nine. Only 9.9% have 100 or more, and 7.3% have 500-plus.

The majority of firms capture more than 50 leads at events, with 25.2% getting between 200 and 999, and 9.3% going over 1,000. But 82.1% wish they had more information on leads than they get on these occasions.  

Certain surveyed marketing decision-makers at B2B companies with at least 1,000 employees. These firms sponsor or host two or more events each year in partnership with Survate.

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