BIG data picture 200You would have thought media and publishing companies were now well practiced in change.  With the digital disruption of the sector, the loss of core audiences and the fundamental need to transform outdated business models, adaption should now be a core competency. However, it appears the media industry have failed to keep pace with another transformation, the move to content drive inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing has become such an important part of any B2B growth strategy that there have been countless articles, such as Harvard Business Review’s piece covering the importance of effective lead management.  The topic has even led to scientific research by MIT about the optimal times to contact web-generated leads.

What does this research say?

While Lead Response Management (LRM) isn’t a new concept and every business fundamentally understands that they need to reach out quickly and professionally to new prospects, how effectively are they doing this? Research shows that both speed and persistence of responding to leads matters. Not only are the odds of contacting a lead within five minutes 100x greater than calling them after 30 minutes, but the chances of that lead entering the sales cycle increase by a significant 21 times.  In addition, making 6 to 9 contact attempts, using a mix of email, voicemail, and phone calls, can increase contact rates to more than 90%.

The media sector is missing the opportunity

The millions invested by the media sector into inbound marketing strategies, content and technology shows that the value of generating incoming leads is well understood.  Indeed, these new approaches to demand generation are business critical for many of the media industry’s giants given their continual under performance. Despite all of this the average media company is still struggling to respond effectively to their marketing-generated enquiries. How do we know this?

Over the course of February and March 2016, InsideSales.com surveyed 50+ media and business information organisations to ascertain how quickly and persistently they responded to web-based leads.

What did we find?

  • The overall response rate (62%) was better than the UK 2015 average (46%)
  • Only 17% of those surveyed, phoned inbound leads
  • The speed of response is slow, taking an average of 11 hours by phone and 36 hours through email
  • The response persistence (1.8 attempts) is far below the 2015 UK average of 2.39 attempts and well below best practice

So, in short, media businesses are generally not calling leads back, taking too long to respond (where they are trying) and giving up too easily on contacting follow ups.  Not very impressive.

Why does this matter?

Because every time a prospect slips through the cracks you’re wasting the time, money and the effort it took to produce that lead in the first place.  With the average lead costing somewhere around $45, this is significant waste.

Industry data suggests that 45% of inbound enquirers end up buying and with 78% buying from the first vendor to respond to the web enquiry, no business can afford these missed opportunities.  Not least the typical media business that is trying to rejuvenate their revenues.

Given the disruption and challenging business climate within the media sector, it is surprising that more are not capitalising on the “low hanging fruit” of hot inbound leads. There remains an opportunity for media firms to create competitive advantage by adopting best practices in lead response.

So here’s the thing, this is great news for any media business.    You don’t need a 12-month sales transformation project to develop a competitive advantage. Just get sales and marketing to make some simple process changes and ensure the sales teams work them – simple.

The bottom line: Response times to new sales leads should be measured in minutes and seconds, not hours or days.

Want to know more?

About the Author:  Paul Marchant, Enterprise Account Executive, at InsideSales.com 

Download the free ebook The-Ultimate-Revenue-Machine. Co-written by Jon Miller, VP of Marketing and co-Founder of Marketo, and Ken Krogue, President and co-Founder of InsideSales.com. This collaborative eBook teaches how to tightly align your sales and marketing processes.  To understand how your business performs in managing inbound leads please email me:  [email protected]