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Two-Thirds of Companies Fail to Effectively Follow Up on Inbound Sales Leads, New Research Reveals

Second annual Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up shows that even the hottest leads often get left behind

FOSTER CITY, CA--(Marketwired - December 01, 2016) - Conversica, the only provider of artificial intelligence-based lead engagement software for sales and marketing, today announced the release of its 2016 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up. The report determined that many sales teams are not hitting best-practice targets and that an astonishing number failed to respond to incoming inquiries at all.

There is an abundance of research on the importance of what Conversica describes as the Four Ps -- promptness, personalization, persistence and performance -- on successful lead engagement. The goal of Conversica's research was to determine the extent to which companies are putting this information into practice. To do this, commissioned researchers visited the websites of 548 companies across nine industries and asked to be contacted. They found that:

  • A surprising one-third of the companies contacted did not respond at all to a direct, specific sales inquiry.
  • Of those companies that responded, over two-thirds of them gave up after only one or two tries.
  • 42 percent of responding companies did so within five minutes -- a 36 percent improvement in promptness compared to last year's findings.
  • Companies have also shown major improvement in personalization, with the percentage of "A" grades achieved increasing more than 40 percent over the previous report.

"Inbound leads are an expensive resource, crucial to the success of any organization," said Alex Terry, CEO of Conversica. "Our annual series of reports offers a snapshot of how companies are handling them today and how that behavior is changing over time. We compared best-practice research with real-world execution to help businesses discover ways to optimally align their sales teams with best practices."

Companies make too few attempts
68% of companies gave up after two or fewer attempts to contact the lead, even though the optimal number of attempts is between 5 and 11. In several industries, including Insurance, Brokerage and Media/Publishing, over 90 percent of companies gave up on their leads prematurely.

"Connecting with a lead is crucial, but one attempt is almost never enough to be effective," explained Terry. "Best-practice research proves that an increased number of attempts yields increased conversions -- overall response and conversion rates continue to grow at the eighth attempt and beyond."

Email is fastest, but…
As more companies transition to email communication with leads, crafting emails that reach the inbox becomes increasingly essential. Yet the findings of the 2016 Sales Effectiveness Report reveal that emails were much less successful at reaching targets than in the previous report, a sign that companies must work harder to tailor emails around advancing filtration technologies.

Summing up the report findings, Terry concluded, "With the large number of sales teams not hitting best-practice targets -- not to mention the shocking number of companies which did not respond at all -- it's clear that most businesses are not investing enough attention on inbound leads to maximize their Return on Investment (ROI). Prioritizing responsiveness and making use of sales and marketing technology can help."

Report availability
To obtain a copy of Conversica's 2016 Sales Effectiveness Report on Lead Follow-Up, visit http://con.ai/lead-follow-up-report-2016. To request your company be included in a future report, as did more than 100 companies last year, visit http://con.ai/4p-assessment-request.

Live webinar to share more
Conversica will discuss the research methodology, share results from the report and reveal best practices for lead follow-up improvement in a live webinar with interactive questions and answers. Those interested in attending live or receiving a link to the recording can register at http://www.anymeeting.com/PIID=EC58DC80874F3F.

Survey methodology
Commissioned researchers submitted inquiries on the websites of companies from nine industries, covering both business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B). Companies were selected by compiling rankings from sources such as Forbes, Bloomberg and industry-specific publications. This research was conducted over a one-month period, using different secret shopper personas to solicit contact from the companies surveyed.

About Conversica
Conversica is the only provider of lead engagement software for marketing and sales organizations that is powered by artificial intelligence. Conversica's automated sales assistant automatically contacts, engages, nurtures, qualifies and follows up with leads via natural, two-way email conversations until the lead converts into an opportunity or opts out. The sales assistant interprets the lead's intention and sentiment in email replies and extracts key information, such as phone numbers and the best time to call, answers questions, and then expertly hands off the lead to the appropriate salesperson to close the deal. As a result, Conversica customers find their next customers more quickly and efficiently, with no leads left behind.

Used by more than 16,000 sales representatives worldwide, Conversica maximizes sales opportunities by optimizing sales team productivity and has helped create more than $8 billion in revenue. Recognized by Gartner as a 2016 Cool Vendor in CRM for Sales, Conversica is a portfolio company of Kennet Partners and Toba Capital and is headquartered in Foster City, California. To learn more, visit conversica.com and follow us on Google+, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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