The Importance of Lead Response Time

From watching ⅓ of The Hobbit to running a 5k twice, there are a lot of things to be accomplished in an hour. So it may come as a surprise knowing that on average, 63% of businesses take over an hour to respond to inbound leads. In fact, most companies take an astonishing 42 hours to respond to leads according to the same Harvard Business Review study

From out-performing your competition to efficiently qualifying your leads, the value of your business having a prompt lead response time extends well beyond your inside sales team and into even your customer service department. We’ll break down the importance of lead response time and just how you and your business can make certain changes to focus on leads at a faster rate. 

Why it Matters to Respond to Your Leads Quickly

Improving your lead response time plays a significant role in determining the relationship with consumers interested in your business. Ultimately, your lead response time contributes to whether or not your lead converts to becoming a customer. 

Not only does your company’s lead response have implications within your sales team’s performance, but also your brand impression as well – whether it’s an accurate representation or not, consumers often consider your response time as being a reflection of how much you value that potential relationship. Likewise, leads often use response time and quality to assess not only the value of your sales team but also your customer service team as well. 

Furthermore, lead response time is the first impression of not only the specific employee responsible for engaging the lead but your entire business. This is critical when trying to stand out within a crowded marketplace. If engaging with your leads in a better manner than your competitors isn’t a priority for your business it should be. Your company’s lead generation strategy should be rooted in the former – how will you successfully out-sell your competition if you are unable to capture the attention of your targeted audience in the first place?

A Few Quick Tips on How to Improve Your Lead Response Time 

Missing an inbound lead is inevitable from time to time. However, with the right strategy around following up with those leads in the most productive way, those missed leads can often have a solid chance at revisiting their buying journey as a result.

Assigning leads to members of your team that can respond fastest is a great way to make sure a lead doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s a difficult ask for a single sales member to be completely responsible for all incoming leads. 

More than likely, that one person is sure to have other tasks within their workload, as well as obligations out of the office that could potentially inhibit them from responding to leads within a designated time frame. Team collaboration will ensure that the value of your inbound leads is not lost.  

Additionally, it’s worth remembering a few rules of thumb in terms of when to respond to a lead. A recent study shows that businesses have a 50% greater chance of contacting a lead, merely by contacting on one day versus another. 

Thursday is the best day to contact a lead in order to qualify that lead, and is almost 20% better than Friday, which is the worst day. Similarly, aiming to follow up with a lead within an hour after they initially tried to contact you is the best way to potentially get them to answer. Not only will incorporating these standards of practice into your company’s business habits begin the process of lead generation, but they will ultimately help to improve your lead management process and, most importantly, conversion rates. 

Automating your lead management process is another way to improve your ability to reconnect with a potential customer that may have fallen through the cracks. Particularly for small businesses, implementing processes like automated response emails, AI features like chats, IVR systems, and lead routing can provide instant responses to missed leads and better organize your response time. 

The Intersection of Technology and Lead Response Time 

Consider approaching your lead management through call tracking. While call tracking is primarily responsible for logging inbound calls, it can also help you in having more context with which to follow up the lead. 

Perhaps your sales representative should consider calling back within the same timeframe to better reach the prospect. Additionally, responses that come in less than five minutes are 21 times more likely (Harvard Business Review) to help qualify leads than slower responses. Whether you like it or not, the value of efficient follow-up is reflected in your sales ROI. 

Because of that, implementing an automated lead management solution will not only be considerate towards your sales team’s bandwidth, but show up when the value of efficient follow-up is reflected in your sales ROI. 

Email automation, in particular, can be a really useful tool for not only  lead management but for lead generation as well, as it is an immediate introduction into your sales funnel. According to Hubspot, 86% of professionals prefer email. When a lead accidentally falls through the cracks, an automated follow up email can be a business-saving step that you no longer have to remember to take manually. 

Lead management software can uncover other aspects of the buyer’s journey to mention during re-engagement – have they been looking at your website, have any fillable forms been submitted? If so, it’s worth mentioning to try and find common ground. Finding a solution that can work in tandem with your CRM will allow your team to prioritize responses and have a clear picture of who on your team is interacting with whom. 

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