Guest Post: 1 Small Idea, 100 Big Sales

Today's guest blog post is from Adam Torkildson, the VP of Operations CustomerHook.com. Enjoy!

I’ve got a total of 4000 contacts in my email, 881 friends on facebook, 1503 followers on twitter, and 80 friends on Stumbleupon. This essentially describes the influence I have online in social terms. What these numbers mean is that at any given time, I can message my network and at least 10 of my contacts will respond immediately, whether positively or negatively. This also means that about 20 of my contacts will do anything I ask them to do, whether they respond or not. And this also (lastly) means that 80% of my contacts will have received the message within a week and have been subjected to my message to them, but done nothing about it.

How do I know all this? I’ve been testing it for the past year in relation to a study I heard of from a friend at InsideSales.com. The study performed was a response audit on the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. InsideSales.com and M.I.T. contacted 100 random companies of the 500, specifically to try and get a response back from said companies. Whether via email or phone, any response was recorded, and measured for how long it took the companies to respond, and if they responded at all. The results were astounding.

  • 47% of companies responded to inquiries on a web form by email.
  • 7.5% of companies responded to inquiries by phone.
  • 45.1% never responded.
  • Average time between response attempts by email was 54 hours, 6 minutes.
  • Average time between response attempts by phone was 54 hours, 5 minutes.
  • Inquiries at 9 am garnered shortest response times by email of 15 hours, 59 minutes.
  • Inquiries at 1 pm had shortest response times by phone of 16 hours and 15 minutes
  • 14.9% responded by email within 5 minutes.
  • 0.6% responded by phone within 5 minutes.
  • 67.2% responded by email within 20 hours.
  • 66.3% responded by phone within 20 hours.

What do these numbers mean in laymen’s terms, and why does this have anything to do with social marketing?

To begin with, all those numbers mean is that most large companies don’t handle their data very well, even when it’s the best kind: new clients. And these numbers are only for web forms submitted, this doesn’t even include the social media monitoring they must be doing. And you can imagine how abysmal that is if they can’t even respond to their web leads.

Now here are the numbers that should have you perking up your ears and taking note. The end goal of the study was to find out how quickly a lead was followed up on which then resulted in a sale. Here’s what you need to know. I’m using the word ‘lead’ here interchangeably with ‘client’ and ‘contact’. These numbers are actually from 2007, so take them with a grain of salt.

  • Wednesday and Thursday are the best days to contact and qualify a lead.
  • 8 to 9 am and 5 to 6 pm are the best times to contact and qualify a lead.
  • The odds of contacting a lead increase by 100x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes.
  • The odds of qualifying a lead increase by 21x if attempted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes.
  • Every attempt to contact made after 20 hours hurts the contact rate more.

So, when you start connecting with people online, the quicker you can respond, whether via email, phone, or social network, the higher your chance of getting a lot of value out of those mediums. And to cap it all off: InsideSales.com has a response time of about 6 seconds using some of their technology, and you can bet from that one simple idea of quick follow up, they are generating 100s of thousands in revenue each month.

Once again, Adam Torkildson is the VP of Operations at CustomerHook.com, a lead gen and social media marketing firm that uses the and predictive dialers at InsideSales.com for himself and his clients to increase sales just by simple quick follow ups.