The Hidden Value of Out of Office Leads – For Both Senders & Receivers

May 28, 2015 7:13:59 AM | By Matt Benati

Out of office (OOO) emails are often overlooked as a way to generate leads. A recent HubSpot article highlighted how sending OOO emails when you are on vacation can generate leads, if you include links to positive press and other relevant content in your message content or email signature.

On the flip side of the coin, OOO emails have hidden value for recipients as well. When you initiate an email campaign, you invariably get OOO emails in return. But what are you doing with them? Have you considered that information about new leads resides within those emails? Here are three reasons that underscore the value of OOO leads:

  1. OOO designees are guaranteed to be at the company.How many times have you used an address list for an email campaign, only to find out that many of the people are no longer with an organization? In that instance, the probability of moving an individual from the top of the funnel (ToF) to a marketing qualified lead (MQL) plummets to zero. With OOO emails, the individuals who are designated as interim contacts for your lead are guaranteed to be working at the company. Although you still need to take steps to move that individual to MQL status, the likelihood of that shift occurring is pretty strong – the person actually does work at the organization and their colleague has already expressed an interest in your product or service, so it’s a good bet that a need exists.

    Key takeaway: Leveraging OOO leads as part of your email campaigns can improve your conversion rate from top of funnel to marketing qualified lead and increase the productivity of your email marketing efforts.

  2. OOO leads could be in a more influential decision-making role than the individual you initially contacted. If, for example, you sent your marketing email to someone in a Vice President position, that executive most likely designated his or her direct reports as OOO contacts. Those individuals are often empowered with making purchase recommendations to the VP. In large organizations, it’s not uncommon for there to be multiple influencers and decision makers for a purchasing decision. Alternatively, a subordinate often provides the contact information for his or her boss in their OOO email. This is another typical scenario and one in which you, as the marketer, now have a more influential person with which to start a dialogue about your product or service.

    Key takeaway: Cultivating OOO leads just makes sense – they may be more influential and more receptive to your emails than your original lead.

  3. OOO leads give you an opportunity to broaden the relationship at an organization. Sales teams that use OOO leads as a means of “surround selling” deepen the ties that they have in a particular account. They view OOO leads as a way to educate a broad audience in the target organization about their offering. Developing a network of leads gives the marketing team the power to map the sales landscape within a single account. This includes identifying key influencers, decision makers, and blockers. Armed with this information, the sales team is in a stronger position to close deals. When sales reps have the ability to reach more deeply and broadly into an account, sales cycles often accelerate. As more people within the target company understand your value proposition and positioning, the less time it takes to build internal consensus around a purchase decision. When many people are familiar with a vendor, internal discussions expand from formal presentations and meetings to impromptu conversations around the water cooler.

    Key takeaway: Becoming part of a target account’s internal dialogue is powerful for vendors and often accelerates the sales process. OOO leads broaden the network inside target accounts.

Leveraging the information within OOO replies is marketing gold. Identifying OOO leads and acting on them increases the productivity of your email marketing efforts by increasing the MQL conversion rate, identifying additional influencers within target companies, and broadening the reach that the sales team has within organizations. The next time you run an email marketing campaign, don’t throw those OOO replies away!

Mining the information in OOO leads efficiently is essential – you can read more about this important stage in the process in my article “Stop Throwing Away Targeted Leads!” which was recently published on the RevEngineMarketing’s blog – RevEngine Insider. And in my next blog post, I will discuss best practices for cultivating OOO leads. At LeadGnome, we advocate taking a little different approach with these individuals than with leads from traditional email marketing lists. I’m excited to share those thoughts with you.

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about the LeadGnome service, feel free to contact us. If you’re ready to see how LeadGnome can impact your sales pipeline, start your free trial today!

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