Everyone knows that leads have a shelf life. When you’re operating in the world of B2B and B2C selling, you need to be fast and responsive to client queries. This is key to either winning or losing business opportunities.

My manager told me a story recently which highlighted this fact. He contacted an awning company to get a quotation, expecting to hear back relatively quickly. He did get a response eventually…after three weeks. The response even apologised for the delay in getting in touch. At that point, he didn’t bother responding. The result? That company lost good business simply for failing to contact a lead within a reasonable time frame.

Here’s another compelling example. I personally contacted a very big company in order to discuss the possibility of a new phone system integration to assist our team and integrate with our CRM. The sales person that got in touch with me did so relatively quickly, however he continually rescheduled meetings to catch up and discuss requirements consistently over a three-week period. There were at least 3 or 4 meetings that were moved repeatedly. By the time he tried to ‘re-schedule’ the meeting again – I simply lost interest and didn’t bother to respond. Yes, he was communicating but he had also failed to make me/my company feel like a valued client. Why would we waste our dollars on a company that isn’t prioritising our business?

Generally speaking, most people in business would have the same reaction. Put yourself in the position of a business or individual looking to purchase or secure professional services. You’re already in a buying mindset. You are already looking for something, and immediate action is almost always going to satisfy the instant gratification monkey that’s screaming for attention. Any delays in response, makes your competition and other options start to look and feel more viable. You’re putting yourself at an automatic disadvantage by delaying something as simple as a phone call or an email response.

So why is it that even though everyone knows this, an enormous gap between knowledge and action still exists?

If you really wanted evidence of how important lead management is and even more importantly the effect of your response time – simply take a look at the Lead Response Management Study. This study emphasises the fact that every single minute post lead submission (Yes folks, minutes…. not hours, not days…MINUTES…let that sink in), affects your bottom line. Top that with the fact that the chances of calling to contact a lead decreases by 10 times within the first hour and then qualifying that lead in five minutes versus thirty minutes drops this by 21 times. How crazy is that statistic?

What does all this mean for lead management?

  1. Business Owners and Sales Directors everywhere should be monitoring that incoming lead gen pipeline with a magnifying glass
  2. Your business should foster an environment of urgency when it comes to lead management and response times – don’t leave your potential clients waiting for you
  3. Give your potential clients the WOW factor – imagine contacting a client mere minutes within them submitting a lead? Not only will you be top of mind, you would have impressed them with your speed of contact, and nothing is better than a good first impression in business – stand out from your competitors and the proverbial crowd

Leads, by their very nature are competitive, and the best advantage you give yourself as either a sales rep and/or business is to make sure you’re ahead of the curve, making first contact and making that first contact as fast as possible. The quality of a lead is correlated to age – it degrades over time.

Now more than ever, companies need to be across, and nurture all leads. The days of ‘small fish’ not being worth pursuing are gone. That small fish can turn into a whale pretty quickly. Energy spent on your lead management, is effectively energy well spent. Feed the pipeline.