ATLANTA, Sept. 25, 2008 -- A new Silverpop study of online lead management practices found that people are willing to answer a lot of questions as long as they can do it quickly, and once registered, are anxious to hear from companies.
To measure how business-to-business marketers are best able to attract prospects and nurture them along in the sales process, Silverpop analyzed six months of data from 250 companies' lead management campaigns. Industries represented in the study included technology and publishing plus financial and professional services.
The study evaluated how many questions, on average, marketers can include on a Web form before prospects are likely to abandon it. Silverpop's "Benchmark Study of Lead Management Practices" found that it's not the number of questions that matter as much as how long it takes the responder to answer them. Time is the difference between a lead and a lost contact.
"The forms that were able to be completed quickly - say within one to two minutes or less - were most likely to be finished, while those that took longer were more often abandoned mid-way through," said Bryan Brown, director of product management and development for Silverpop's BtoB Vtrenz solution. "The number of required fields appeared to have little impact on completion rate."
He said that "update" forms populated with pre-existing data the company had already collected from sales leads were completed at a rate 20 to 25 percent higher than new-lead forms. Brown recommends that marketers create forms that are simple, clear and brief, with fields that can be completed without any hesitation.
"When first attempting to add leads to the marketing database, companies need to include as few questions as possible," Brown cautioned. "Avoid open-ended questions by giving users drop-down menus that define choices and allow you to evaluate leads more uniformly."
Once initial information is captured about a lead, marketers can later send forms with both pre-populated fields and additional questions to gather more detailed data for lead scoring and segmenting. But leads that indicate they're ready for a product demo or a sales call should automatically bypass the rest of the lead-nurturing process and be routed directly to sales.
"Customers who receive a sales call within hours of indicating they're ready to talk will be much more impressed with your program than if they sit for days without a contact," Brown said.
Even if they're not immediately in the market to buy, prospects appreciate being kept informed. They want answers, and they're more than willing to respond to a marketer's relevant messages. The Silverpop study found that email lead-nurturing programs that generated the highest click rates were those that sent emails to prospects at least three to four times a month, compared to lower-performing programs that sent just one message a month.
Other areas evaluated as part of Silverpop's "Benchmark Study of Lead Management Practices" included average database sizes and lead growth rates, response rates to lead-nurturing emails, number of touches it takes to convert a lead, and much more. To receive a complimentary copy of the report, visit www.vtrenz.com.
Silverpop is a premier provider of on-demand, Web-based software solutions serving the online relationship marketing needs of enterprise-level organizations throughout the world. Its software-as-a-service approach makes it easy and affordable for marketers to create, automate and execute lifecycle multi-channel marketing campaigns that are timely, relevant and measurable. With highly scalable tools supporting both BtoC marketing initiatives and BtoB lead management processes through its Vtrenz solution, Silverpop delivers a robust suite of marketing tools not available elsewhere in the marketplace. To learn more about lead management and Silverpop's Vtrenz solution, visit www.vtrenz.com.