Once You Have an Out of Office Lead, What Next?

June 25, 2015 7:08:48 AM | By Matt Benati

Let’s say that your organization had decided to mine out of office (OOO) messages for potential lead information… You may be asking yourself – what next? What’s the best way to convert these contacts into advocates for your product or service? Before launching into an email marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to step back and take a bigger picture view about what you want to accomplish by nurturing OOO leads. Here are four steps that can help you transform a list of OOO contacts into marketing gold:

  1. Look at the account as a whole.
    Lead generation programs should never be executed in isolation – they should be part of a larger plan. Leveraging OOO leads is a great way to support a larger account-based marketing strategy where the goal is to develop deeper relationships with a broader set of decision-makers in a target organization. Once you get OOO leads, consider what your overarching objective is for the accounts – is the aim to win a new account or are you trying to increase account penetration at an existing customer? This high-level, strategic information will help inform how you deal with OOO contacts.
  2. Consider what action you want the OOO lead to take
    Obviously in the long-term, you want your OOO leads to advocate for your products or services, or even serve as the decision maker for a purchase. However in the short-term, you want to obtain permission from OOO contacts to deliver messages to them. Permission marketing and OOO leads go hand in hand. Seth Godin defines permission marketing as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal, and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” Rather than immediately pushing OOO contacts into a lead nurturing program, a best practice is to first motivate these individuals to fill out an online form and opt in to future interactions with your company. With that said, it’s important to think about what the contact’s major concerns and challenges may be. A survey conducted by has found that the B2B ecosystem of influencers has evolved in recent years. Although 64% of respondents indicated that the C-suite serve as final decision makers for B2B purchases, 24% said that less senior individuals were purchase decision makers. In addition, the majority of respondents (81%) said people in positions below the C-suite have a say in purchase decisions.
  3. If information about the OOO lead’s title is available, that can be helpful for tailoring your message and content. ITSMA recommends different tactics for engaging with individuals at different levels of the organization. For example:

    • C-level leaders. The goal is to establish credibility and trust. Organizations should position themselves as thought leaders with deep expertise.
    • Directors. At this level, the objective should be to educate on business challenges, as well as your organization’s success stories.
    • Frontline managers. These individuals are interested in more tactical topics such as deployment issues, process innovations, and the benefits of partnering with others to address problems.
  4. Decide what type of content will be most attractive to the OOO contact
    After deciding what your OOO lead’s primary concerns are likely to be, you must decide which piece of marketing content will be most appealing to them. Remember, your goal is to get the OOO contact to opt in for future contact and communication by filling out your online form. Take a look at previous campaigns and determine which content was most popular with leads. If you haven’t explored videos as a marketing tool, it may be time to do so. Google has found that 70% of B2B buyers and researchers watch videos during their path to purchase. Videos about product features are most popular, as well as videos with how-to content and professional reviews.
  5. Create metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your OOO program
    All marketing programs should include metrics which demonstrate how successfully the initiatives are working. OOO lead nurturing, when done well, can support a broader account based marketing program and increase your depth of engagement within a given company. Here are a few metrics that help quantify an OOO lead cultivation campaign:
    • As noted, OOO contacts do not become formal leads until they opt in for additional communications. Tracking the conversion rate from OOO contact to opt-in is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your campaign. Low conversion rates may indicate that you need to adjust the type of content offered.
    • Percentage of account contacts that originated from OOO contacts. The goal of nurturing OOO contacts is to increase the lead footprint within a given organization. Monitor key accounts and determine whether OOO contacts are now part of the lead landscape.
    • Sales cycle length at accounts where OOO leads are part of the influencer ecosystem. Having broad exposure within a prospect organization is often correlated with shorter sales cycles. Analyze recently closed business and compare the sales cycle length at accounts that included OOO leads with the sales cycle at accounts where OOO leads were not part of the mix.

    The first step toward leveraging the power of OOO leads is to generate a list of OOO contacts after your next email marketing campaign. LeadGnome enables companies to efficiently create those lists in an automated way. If you’d like to learn more about the LeadGnome service, feel free to contact us!

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