What is lead decay?

Lead decay is not tooth decay
Lead decay can be prevented by closing the time gap at the beginning of the sales journey.

It was early May 2014 in San Diego. I stepped outside for some fresh air. The 77 degree Santa Ana winds carried a whiff of the wild fires from the east. I was having a moment with the earth. Then my iPhone went “blop blep.” I looked down. It was a message from LinkedIn.

15 minutes later, I sat down at my desk. I pulled out my iPhone and read the message from the CEO of a 14 doctor gastroenterology group. He wanted to talk about purchasing our services. I forwarded the message to our top salesperson, Earl.

Earl was at lunch. By the time he got back, an hour had gone by. Earl left a voicemail. Then another voicemail the next day.

At end of May, Earl and I were sitting in Terminal 2 at the San Diego Airport waiting for our flight to depart to Orlando. We were exhibiting at a conference in the same city as the gastroenterology group. I asked Earl if he had spoken to the CEO yet. He had not.

A sale to a 14-person gastroenterology group would have been worth $2 – 3K per year. (The average sale was $600 a year.) I thought, “What if I had responded right away instead of having Earl call an hour later?” This question nagged at me.

At least once a month, I would type the CEO’s name into our Salesforce CRM to see if any progress had been made. I saw a lot of voicemails and emails from Earl but no response from the CEO. Months dragged on ­and still nothing.

The sales cycle lasted a year. (Similar deals took 3 – 6 weeks.) We closed the deal. But for every deal like this, we lost 100 more to lead decay. And I wonder if I could have saved Earl all that time if I had unlocked my iPhone and responded right away.

If you could respond immediately after prospects raise their hands – then you could have a major opportunity to stop lead decay and grow your sales. That is what I work on as a B2B marketer.

Do you have a story about lead decay? I would like to hear it. Let me know on Twitter (@eisaiah_e) or by typing in the comment section below.

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