Inquiry management can be an integral part of streamlining your sales and marketing efforts. To understand what, exactly, this process is, defining what an inquiry refers to is in order. In this instance, an inquiry is any sort of inbound request to your organization. Web inquiries, for example, can come in the form of a completed form on a contact or landing page. Prospective customers can be induced to visit the site the form’s on by a traditional marketing campaign. Other ways of getting traffic to generate inquiries include a prospective customer-directed organic search or word-of-mouth.
(Here’s a handy interview from our CEO, Mike Wallen, about this web inquiry management. It’s useful info, laid out in a clear question-and-answer format and filled with insight. Check it out for a more in-depth treatment of this subject.)
The way organizations handle all inquiries, but specifically web inquiries, is a crucial to how effective their lead generation efforts prove. And a key to managing these incoming inquiries is by responding to them as quickly and professionally as possible.
As part of a report he published about the topic, Mike found that the average time it took for companies interviewed to respond to inquiries was 31 hours. There can be several reasons for that, like the belief that such potential leads are of low quality, or the fact that some organizations simply don’t allocate enough resources to properly handle responding to these requests.
Still—31 hours can be two business days. That’s just too long to let potential leads go untouched. Important parts of the B2B sales cycle like lead nurturing fall by the wayside when there are no leads to nurture. According to an industry survey Mike cited in the interview, the chances of actually connecting with someone who submitted an inquiry decreases tenfold within the first hour after the inquiry is made.
The moral? Strike while the iron is hot.