It’s funny how things change. Once upon a time if you didn’t have a business card in a business situation people would look at you sideways and not take you seriously.  Why would you? The person you are dealing with can’t be a professional, they don’t have a business card.

Fast forward a few years and the same has now happened with websites,  what’s your website address? Oh you don’t have one?  Mmmmm, OK thanks, leave it with me and I’ll get back to you (aka don’t call us, we’ll call you)!  So what have we all done?  Rushed out and got websites designed promoting our company, our products, our customers and telling people why they should become a customer.

The Results

Now some of these sites have cost thousands of dollars to design and put online, not to mention the monthly hosting fees and then there’s the marketing of it as well to ensure everyone can find it. Indeed, corporate spending on online advertising aimed at drumming up leads to potential customers soared from $12.5 billion in 2005 to $22.7 billion in 2009, and it’s still growing strongly (The Harvard Business Review March 2011).   So why, if all this money has been spent, do so many organisations NOT have a system for managing enquiries or sales leads that come from the website?

HBR audited 2,241 U.S. companies, measuring how long each took to respond to a web-generated test lead. Although 37% responded to their lead within an hour, and 16% responded within one to 24 hours, 24% took more than 24 hours—and 23% of the companies never responded at all. The average response time, among companies that responded within 30 days, was 42 hours.  These results are especially shocking given how quickly online leads go cold—a phenomenon explored in a separate study, which involved 1.25 million sales leads received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S. Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer (courtesy of HBR, for the full article click here >>>).

Should we chase them?

In the last week alone I have contacted three different companies via their websites, which they have paid thousands of dollars to advertise either on the television or the radio. The advertising worked and it got me to their site.  The site worked; I liked what I saw so I either completed their online form or sent them an email from their contact us page and *poof* my enquiry has gone into cyberspace.

I haven’t heard from any of them, so why don’t I chase them you are asking? Why should I?  As the customer they want my business and they want me to invest with them why should I be the one to tell them their systems and processes aren’t working? And there in is the issue; systems and processes – who is looking after your web site?  If you don’t have a direct answer to that question you may be losing more money than you realise….

What to do:

1) Decide if you have a system, process or strategy around your online enquiries

2) Set up rules and standards – who will clear the enquiries? Where will they come to? In what timeframe will a response be given?

3) Test & measure everything – check with your website developer regarding reports available and check things like contact forms completed compared to responses etc.

Good luck and get those sales leads flooding in!

For a free no obligation meeting to discuss how we can assist you increase your sales conversions in this area contact directly on:

0800 DEVELOP or test us by sending an email to