The expression “time is money” might be a bit of a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true for B2Bs – especially when you have the data to prove it.
That’s what the folks at Software Advice uncovered from their recent Online B2B Buyer Behavior Report. The goal of the report, which collected data from over 6 million unique website visitors from 2008 through 2013 (talk about a long-term project!), shows a direct correlation between the time reps wait to contact a converted visitor and the rate at which they successfully qualify that opportunity.
OK, let’s back up a second – what does this mean? First, the report defines a conversion as anyone who submits their contact information via a web form, at which time the visitor becomes a lead. To become a qualification, those leads then need to be contacted by reps (BDRs, lead qualification teams, or in this case, inside sales) via telephone through the use of a needs analysis and the BANT qualification methodology. Basic web marketing stuff, but the data that came out of it is certainly interesting.
The study found that the faster conversions were called, the higher the qualification rates were for those leads. And when I say fast, I mean really fast. One key finding showed that calling a lead within 5 seconds of a conversion increased the chances of qualifying them by 29% compared to waiting just 5 minutes. Wow.
The report also takes the total average qualification rate of all leads and compares it to the rate of those contacted via various intervals of seconds and minutes (the latter results are shown below). As you can see, the comparative rate of qualification went down with each passing minute, just as it did with each passing second.
So what’s the takeaway? Well, the obvious answer is that the faster your call your web converions, the better the chances you have to qualify them. That’s pretty straightforward, but there are some other caveats and considerations. For example:
Depending on the size of your team, website, etc., contacting visitors only seconds after they convert might not always be practical That said, this is hardly the first study to highlight the impact of “time-to-first-call” in B2B sales. With that in mind, Software Advice’s Derek Singleton recommends businesses “invest in technology and processes that allow you to call buyers as fast as possible.”
The data here is based on phone qualifications, but not all web forms require a telephone number, so calling those leads might not always be possible, let alone practical. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still nurture them into a qualified opportunity. In fact…
One of the best points the study makes is that not all conversions are created equal, and many are not great candidates for an immediate call anyway. As the report states, “If a buyer completes a form to contact you directly—requesting a price quote, product demo, or a simple request for more information—then you should call right away. If, on the other hand, a buyer contacts you indirectly—by completing a form to download a whitepaper, access video content, or view other gated material—then you should nurture, rather than call, the lead.”
Here are some other interesting takeaways from the Software Advice report:
Tuesday thru Thursday is the best time to qualify conversions. The report found that average lead qualification rates were twice as high mid-week.
Conversion rates are higher at the beginning of the year. While qualification rates peaked during summer months, most web conversions occurred before spring time.
The holidays are NOT a qualification dead zone. While web traffic typically dips in December, conversions and qualifications were “surprisingly active”, according to the report.
Naturally, all of this data is unique to Software Advice and its business model, but the general takeaways are fascinating. For more details, read the full report, and check out the Brainshark Sales Cloud to learn more about using content to advance sales conversations with timely, effective follow up.
Image Credit: Software Advice