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.