Have you ever wondered about the difference between offline and online leads?

Today’s sales environment often generates two kinds of leads – offline and online. Each has its own characteristics and converts via different methods.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the two.

Cost of Leads

It’s often deduced that the cost per contact for offline leads is between $300 to $500, whereas online leads typically cost less at around $25 to $30.

Face-to-Face Close Rates

Did you know that 40% of offline face-to-face prospects are converted into customers compared to 18.5% for online virtual prospects?

Customer Pressure

In terms of pressure, we’ve found that 17% of offline leads experience pressure during the follow-up stage, compared to 23% for online leads. This tells us that online prospects are often more sensitive to sales pressure tactics once they have been successfully qualified.

Essential Traits of Online Customers

Why do successful companies make it a point to follow-up immediately with potential prospects? That’s because companies that do so saw a 34% lift in results.

You can use this method to your advantage by understanding how customers react. Those who receive a query within the first hour are 60 times more likely to convert than those who receive any information after 24 hours.

Customers are also seven times more likely to convert if you call them within the first hour (compared to an hour later). In fact once you cross the 20-hour mark, each contact your sales person makes hurts your ability to qualify a lead.

According to studies, less than 0.9% of audited companies try to contact their leads within the first five minutes. Even more shocking is that only 29% of companies attempt any sort of contact within the first four hours.

Outbound vs Inbound Leads

The average cost of a lead that is derived from traditional outbound marketing is around $373, whereas a lead from inbound marketing costs $143. That’s 62% less than outbound leads.

Tip: Customers who begin their relationship with a company through an online interaction expect the process to be quicker and smoother than typical physical processes. Use this to your advantage.

A Comparison of the Offline and Online Customer

Offline Customer: In this scenario the customer typically visits a showroom, browses the company’s inventory and then decides to visit a competing store for comparison. The sales person would call back days later and arrange to meet the customer for follow-up.

Online Customer: Here the customer visits a company’s website and fills out a contact form regarding his query. The customer typically receives a callback and a customized proposal. The sales person follows up on the proposal and arranges for the customer to sign the paperwork (often in digital form).


Online leads tend to engage in numbers. Although it’s easier to engage your prospects via online means, online channels often stop at the engagement stage. What you need after this step is conversion, and that’s where offline leads tend to fare slightly better through engaging and converting.

However, don’t let this sway you from utilizing online channels. They offer an easy way to reach out to the mass market as compared to traditional means.

In summary, it doesn’t matter if your leads are offline or online. What matters most is the average time it takes to contact your prospect. The sooner you can reach out to them, the higher your chances are at converting leads.

Social Selling Offline vs. Online Leads [Infographic]