Silverpop - The Pounce or Nurture Debate: The Debate Rages
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The Pounce or Nurture Debate: The Debate Rages

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
26 June 2009

Recent B2B blog posts have been discussing the topic of how aggressive should a salesperson be in their response when they see a lead is visiting their site. Mike Damphoux's post in Smashmouth Marketing on Web leads (Pounce, Pause, Nurture, or Wait) highlighted a unique difference in selling tactics and approaches for the modern marketer. The blog posed the question of how quickly a salesperson should pounce when they see a lead is visiting their site. With modern marketing automation solutions, getting alerted when someone is on your site, and having sales have access to easy-to-digest prospect insight information is now fairly easy (including a nice little widget Engage B2B has called "Who's Online," in case you want to sit and watch the activity of your sales prospects in real-time).

However, the question of what is the best response is definitely up for debate. Mike asks a number of industry experts which of the four responses they believe are best:

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

A number of people have jumped into the debate, including a strong opinion by Craig Rosenberg on the Funnelholic in favor of "The Pounce." Craig makes a very compelling argument and highlights key points as to why pouncing delivers results. As you can imagine, most of the nurture marketers (myself included) leaned to a more wait and call/nurture approach. I think many of us use our own experiences as a reference point, and loathe the suggestion that we want someone calling us uninvited. That being said, I believe some basic lead management principles that should be considered before we turn sales loose on those weary web visitors.

You can Kiss a Lot of Frogs:

One of the main tenants of modern lead management is that you can prioritize and lead score incoming inquiries. Remember, not all leads are created equal. If sales sits and watches as inbound leads come to their site, they are just falling into the same typical cherry picking mode as when marketing sends each and every lead directly to sales. Without having a scoring or worth assigned to which leads are better than others, they could spend a lot of valuable time tracking down people who are not ready to engage in a buying cycle. Think tire kickers, researchers, and people just trying to self educate. And even if they get a few "wins," they are missing the opportunity to work with really qualified leads and may have harmed a future potential relationship.

Of course, if the lead is visiting the site, is a good target fit for the company, and your scoring threshold dictates a sales call, then by all means alert sales. In addition, it is now easy to include a "chat now" or "may I help you" function on your site for those people that want instant answers. Otherwise, a well defined nurture program can be more cost effective while still proving a timely response to someone while your company is top of mind.


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