Why are my leads not responding?

Published April 7, 2021 | Written by Nicolas Dupond

Once you have generated, nurtured, and converted your leads into marketing qualified leads (MQL) with your content, the next logical step is to contact them for qualification. This qualification aims to determine if the person has a viable project for your company resulting in business.

Your MQLs have shown a strong interest in your products, sent you a request, and eagerly await your call or email. Every call you make with an MQL ends in a long discussion that leads to a project. Every email you send comes back with a business opportunity. A dream come true…

Wait, what? No!

Back to reality. A 100% conversion rate is never going to happen.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to contact Marketing Qualified Leads that never answer. They were so interested, so close to doing business with you. Why didn’t they pick up the phone? Why do they leave your email unanswered?

Hopefully, you found this article explaining tips and best practices to reach as many MQLs as possible. We have learned these practices over the last 20-years qualifying marketing leads for suppliers of specialty chemicals and materials.

Are you ready to kill your “No-response-MQL” frustration? Let’s go.


Are your marketing qualified leads really engaged?

All leads are not the same. There is a big difference between

  • A sample request.
  • A technical question.
  • A troubleshooting inquiry.
  • A person that just downloaded a document about your products.
  • A person who visited several pages and downloaded decisive documents like case studies.

The response rates can significantly vary from one case to another.

If your leads are not answering to your calls and emails, they may not be engaged. If that is the case, you should review your MQL criteria.

How can you know if your leads are not strongly engaged? Look at their navigation history.

  • How many documents did they download?
  • Did they visit decisive pages?
  • How many times did they spend on those pages?

These answers could give you some interesting insights on the level of engagement of your MQLs.


Is it the right time?

Time is one of the most critical factors for your follow-up success.

In 2011, Harvard Business Review and Inside Sales published The Best Practices for Lead Response Management, a study based on 3 years of data in which they analyzed 15,000 unique leads and 100,000 call attempts to identify the most important factors to successfully contact leads.

They measured the response time – defined as the moment an interested lead completes a form until a sales agent them the first time.

What is the best length of time to wait? Would you believe – 5 minutes! From 5 to 10 minutes, the odds to qualify them drops 10x and continues to decrease rapidly over the next 30 minutes.

Response time is critical. The faster you pick up the phone after a form submission, the more chance you have to get your lead on the phone.


Your chances to reach your leads rapidly drop 5 minutes after they submitted an online form.


As you can clearly see, reactivity matters to increase your response rate.

And it is easy to understand why. How would you react if you received an answer 3 weeks after sending a sample request via a contact form? You would probably decide not to work with a company that is painfully slow to interact with, and you would most likely not reply back to their requests to connect.


Are you persistent?

Question: how many times do you try to call or email your leads in order to reach them?

We have heard the same answer time and time again from our clients: “I did my follow-up. I sent an e-mail to all my leads but they never replied back.” Sadly, a single email follow-up is only the beginning of the MQL journey. You just stopped at the first step.

According to this same study from Harvard Business Review, there is only a 35% chance of making contact after a first attempt, compared to 90% chance after 6 attempts. But in average, most reps give up on leads after 1 or 2 attempts.

chance making contact

Always make at least 6 attempts to reach your leads.



Try, try, try, try, try and try. Yes, 6 times! And at different times and days.

Combine e-mails and phone attempts to maximize your chances of making contact with your MQL. Believe it or not, in this decade there is still value leaving a voicemail. Your human voice will communicate a connection that written text cannot.


Are you specific?

Last but not least, pay attention to your follow-up e-mails.

Let’s make a test. Which email would you answer?

  1. A personalized email to you that clearly references your interest, and offers an additional value-added document linked to your previous activity with a kind offer to connect for a discussion.
  2. A generic and unpersonal email that looks like an automated message with limited intention to establish a contact.

Of course Email #1 – we are relational humans, not transactional robots.

Let’s not beat around the bush. If you want to contact your marketing qualified leads, you need to take the time to personalize your call and email follow-up to maximize your chance of success.

And no, this task is not a waste of time or energy. If you want to maximize your conversion rate, this is the best way to make your follow-up a success. You can even measure the ROI of this investment in your sales and marketing funnel by looking at the opportunities that you dispatch to your sales team.

Now, if you have done everything right but still do not receive an answer back, then surrender. Your lead is not interested. It does not mean this lead is lost forever – absolutely not. But you should nurture this person with marketing actions until your actions trigger the criteria for your Marketing Qualified Leads… again.



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