What’s your sales team’s lead response time?

Posted in Sales techniques and processes.

One of the most important factors in terms of inbound sales is the act of qualifying leads, but it’s a task that’s sometimes easier said than done. Did you know that just 13% of sales reps generate 87% of total sales revenue? Why? It could be performance; it could be confidence; it could even be swiftness!

What is ‘Lead Response Time’?

Lead response time is a metric that sales teams have really only started to focus on within the last few years. It refers to how quickly your sales team responds to or follows up with a potential client. These leads can come from anywhere: an online contact form, an email, a phone message, or social media.

What is Average Lead Response Time?

One of the most iconic studies into lead response times comes from the Harvard Business Review. HBR’s research showed that 48% (yes, almost half) of businesses fail to respond to leads within 24 hours. In fact, the average lead response time of the businesses surveyed was actually 42 hours; nearly 2 days.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that leads — particularly online leads — have a remarkably short lifespan, which means that your sales team is more likely to succeed if they act during a small window of opportunity. The report suggests that sales teams are 7 times more likely to qualify a lead within the first hour, compared to 2 hours after initial contact, and 60 times more likely compared to 24 hours after contact. The best lead response time, however, is under 5 minutes. Speed really is of the essence.

How to Help Your Sales Team Succeed

We’re living in an age where we no longer need to wait 28 days for delivery. We can receive orders the very next day (or even the same day!); it’s an age where we can download software and start using it instantly, rather than waiting to receive a hard copy through the post. Today’s buyers have grown accustomed to instant gratification, and that’s exactly what they expect from their suppliers. It has fast become essential for sales teams to be able to adapt to the evolved behaviours of modern buyers.

Quite clearly, it’s more effective to contact leads when they’re in the buying mindset; not 2 days afterwards. Google calls this ‘micro moments’, which are tiny windows where sales teams and marketers statistically have the best chances of persuading buyers and positively influencing purchasing decisions.

Here are some ways that your sales team can reduce lead response time:

  • Consider adding live chat functions to your business website to enable real time communications and instantaneous lead response. It is reported that just 15% of businesses use online chat.
  • Start using sales management software. Some software packages can help you to not only keep track of communications with your B2B clients, but also monitor your lead response time.
  • Think about incorporating mobile devices into your day-to-day operations. Tablets and smartphones can allow your sales team to respond to leads from anywhere, at anytime.

Lead response time is becoming one of the most vital contributors towards overall success. It is essential for your sales team to understand the importance of communicating efficiently with modern businesses.