Following Up With Online Leads

Josh Curcio

So you're all about capturing online leads through your website, right? Sure you are. Leads are great! But here's the thing...do you have a procedure in place for following up with those online leads? If not, the majority of those leads you get (or want) will be wasted. That's right, completely useless! In fact, research shows that a whopping 71% of internet leads are wasted. We don't want that to happen to you. Let's explore this situation so you can avoid this pitfall.

71% of Online Leads are Wasted Stop Wasting Online Leads

Sample Online Lead Scenario

  1. Website visitor arrives on your website.
  2. They like what they see.
  3. They fill out a form wanting to know more.
  4. Someone in your organization gets an email saying, "Hey, someone filled out your form!"
  5. Someone in your organization probably glances at the email and says, "cool...a lead."
  6. That person goes back to what they are doing before glancing at the email.
  7. That person forgets about the lead or doesn't think they are important enough for follow up.
  8. That lead dies in an inbox and eventually some other company gets a sale.

Booooo! You lost another one.

Unfortunately this is much too common of a scenario.

Why That Scenario Happens

  • The biggest reason is lack of procedure and policy. The lead often never ends up in anyplace other than the email inbox, therefore no one else knows what happened with the communication (if any) after the lead was received even if multiple people received the notification email.
  • It's different than an offline lead that you actually speak to either in person or on the phone. Most companies see those leads as being closer to the sale and usually have a process in place for that. According to Gleanester research, 50% of online leads are qualified just not yet ready to buy. But keep in mind, that doesn't mean they won't ever buy.
  • The lead comes in, but the business doesn't know where that lead follows in their sales funnel because they've never defined it. They don't know whether it should be handed off to sales immediately or that it actually needs nurtured before converting to sales qualified lead. According to MarketingSherpa, 68% of businesses have never defined their sales funnel. In some cases ALL leads are handed off to sales even if they aren't ready. In that scenario the sales person thinks, "I'm never going to close this". It's never nurtured, it just dies. Did you know that nurtured leads make 47% higher purchases than non-nurtured leads?
  • There is no lead nurturing in place whatsoever. Either they don't know how, they don't have a strategy, or they just aren't interested in a lead until they are ready to buy. I'm sure their competitors are happy about this!

There are many other reasons, but these are some of the most alarming.

Start Correcting the Problem

  1. Have a procedure and policy in place.
    • Where the lead is tracked such as a customer relationship management tool. If it can automatically be entered here, great!
    • When the lead should be followed up with.
    • How the lead should be followed up with.
    • Frequency of follow ups.
    • Who handles follow ups.
  2. Identify your sales funnel.
    • There are different ways to track this such as top, middle, bottom of funnel, or marketing qualified, sales qualified, etc.
    • Understand what types of leads should go where in the funnel.
    • Refer to number 1. Depending on where they are in the funnel, they should have different follow up policies in place.
  3. Establish a lead nurturing strategy.
    • The means in which these leads will be nurtured such as marketing automation software or manual steps.
    • How the various areas of the funnel will be nurtured specifically. For example, marketing qualified leads to blog posts and ebooks while sales qualified leads are directed to product/service specific materials.
    • How long is a lead actually considered a lead.
    • Establish lead scoring.

These are the steps to start resolving the problem, but it certainly requires more than this. It requires change...and we all know that change is not an easy thing. Just having these things written down on paper will not ensure that they are implemented and implemented correctly. This will be unique to every company, so unfortunately there isn't a magic formula. Contact us today if you'd like your leads to go further than an inbox.

VIEW MORE STORIES IN Strategy, Lead Nurturing, More

More Interesting Reads

Copywriting Tips at Inbound 2017: Bring on the Science and Sweatshops

I was a newspaper guy for over a decade. Just old enough to be stuck in the print age, yet young enough to grasp the power of an internet-based message. Maybe, as a business owner or marketing guru,...Read more

Increase Brand Awareness by Feeding Your Blog a Well-Rounded Diet

In the filthy, weedy backyard that is the internet, growing a beautiful blog is key in your company’s quest to increase brand awareness. If you’re still thinking, “Do I really need to start a blog?”...Read more

Inbound 2017 - The 3 Sessions We're Most Looking Forward To -- Josh C. Edition

The annual Inbound conference is awesome for a variety of reasons. It covers marketing, sales, leadership, culture, growth, and more. There's a ton of great inspiration. The networking...Read more