To Pounce or Not to Pounce, That Is the Question

I know it’s dorky, but I can’t help it: I get excited about great blog posts. My boy Mike Damphousse (@damhpoux) wrote a post yesterday: “Webleads: Pounce, pause, nurture or wait?” The post addressed the question of what the best step to take is after a prospect responds to an email or blog post and hits your Web site. Mike is tracking this activity with a product called Leadlander.

He posed this question to 7 experts and categorized their answers as follows:

  • Pounce: Call immediately.
  • Pause: Give it 15-30 minutes, then call.
  • Nurture: Let visitors keep educating themselves, and educate them softly if you can identify them.
  • Wait: Wait a day or two, then casually call.

Out of the seven people who answered, I was the only one to vote for the “pounce” approach. Now that is interesting! I guess I’m a rebel. Let me explain where I’m coming from. First, let me take a quote from Jill Konrath (@jillkonrath): “I hate being pounced upon … (but) … I know there is research that supports getting in touch with a person immediately after they visit your site. Strike when they’re hot. The key to success is in the how.”

So Jill is basically saying, I hate being pounced on, but technically the right thing to do is pounce. And she’s right — the key to success is “how.”

Why pounce?

The numbers tell you to. The sales and marketing blogosphere is obsessed with nurturing (and I am one of those bloggers). But remember, our goal in life is to CONVERT. And conversion implies connecting — one of the hardest things to control in the overall conversion process.

Here are some Funnel points to consider about the pounce approach:

1. You got them where you want them. Mike’s case works here: He sent prospects an email or wrote a blog post which lead the person to start cruising his company’s Web site. If you contact the prospect immediately, you have them with their browser open and YOUR site up. Attention is HIGH.

2. Don’t kid yourself — they won’t come back for awhile. Nurturing rules, but it takes time. You’ll have to send leads emails or other means of contact for the next couple months to get them back. No bueno.

3. “Who are you again?” See 1 and 2 for more on this. Prospects are on your site NOW and will not have to go back to their busy lives for the next 10 minutes. Contact them when you know they’ll recognize your name and brand.

4. Connect and you will convert. I am being redundant here, but ConnectAndSell is one of the hottest businesses out there and its ultimate goal is to have you pay the company to help you connect. Your connect rates are highest on impact.

5. Messaging is the key to life. I love it — people who teach people how to cold call are voting against “pouncing.” You’d rather cold-call? Forget it.

Take Jill’s quote: “The key to success is how.” What you say is always half the battle. If you call prospects to mention that you see them on your site and start qualifying them, you will fail. Instead, add value on the call. You know they clicked through an offer or post, leverage that knowledge to offer them research or data that follows their information trail. Go even softer and invite them to a Webinar, I don’t care. So pounce, but pounce with class.

6. Your biggest conversion rate “hit.” You get the most “bang for your buck” within the first 24 hours of receiving a lead. Nurturing helps those numbers over time, but your biggest day is the first. See chart below. The y axis is time and the x axis is your likelihood to convert.

Craig Rosenberg is the Funnelholic. He loves sales, marketing, and things that drive revenue. Follow him on Google+ or Twitter

  • Hi, I’m Mike and I’m a Pounce-a-Holic. “Hi Mike!”

    Ok, so deep down, I’m a closeted pouncer. I know it, and those of you that know me know it, and those of you I’ve cold called after a site visit know it. That said, there is truth to all sides of every argument. In fact, Parker Trewin (@parker_genius) made a great analogy in a comment on the original Pounce article where he compared this scenario to ” ‘observe and serve’ approach–just like the Sales rep does at your local Nordstrom store.”

    As an educated buyer, I like educated and respectful sales people. Especially if they are timely. So if I’ve looked at 4 suits on the rack, and gone back to 1 of them to try it on, it wouldn’t bother me if someone walked up and said “Let me help you with that. It’s the finest worsted wool from New Zealand…” You get the point.

    So if you are going to Pounce, then do as Craig says, “Pounce with class.”

  • I mentioned this on Mike’s blog, and will mention this here too. If you pounce you need to be strategic about it. You can’t hand a room full of internal sales people website monitoring technology and expect it to be a good use of time. Instead of selling, your sales guys and gals will end up on the phone with every job seeker, potential vendor, analyst, and student.

    Also, if you are going to pounce at your company, provide sales with tested scripts so that they come off as helpful and not stalkers. And pouncers beware, I see tweets regularly from people annoyed at ‘pouncing’ who will say on Twitter that they are annoyed with X company for calling or that it’s creepy that X company is calling when they are looking on their website.

    Also, it takes time to go to a website monitoring tool then go back to your CRM to look up names, then to another tool to look up names of visitors if the right one isn’t in your CRM, and then to Linkedin to find out more about those names you just downloaded. Instead, companies my find it a big timesaver to use a product like Sales Insight (by Marketo) which integrates with the website monitoring information and then with tools like Jigsaw, LinkedIn, and Demandbase. I know this product has just been released, but I have been able to see how it works for the past few weeks while consulting for them, and it has proven to be a big time saver within their own org and with some of the early adopters of this new social sales technology.