Everything You Need to Know About Lead Response Time

Response times to inbound leads has always been a critical factor for conversion rates.If you are not on the phone with your leads, your competitors are. Lead response time can make or break a team’s success. 

Businesses need to invest in processes, personnel and technology to ensure a frictionless customer experience. That’s why finding the right combination will directly impact your lead response time and in turn your bottom line.

What Is Lead Response Time?

Lead response time refers to the amount of time a business takes to follow or respond to a lead that has reached out to the company through their website, email, phone call, or a filled form.

However, response time goes beyond just responding to an inbound lead. It’s a complex process surrounding everything to do with a business’s ability to follow up through proper channels with the right message, well-created content, and at the right time.

B2B lead response times need to improve

Response time matters, but unfortunately, most businesses operating in the B2B space don’t realize how critical it is to the success of their businesses.

In fact, sadly, studies show that the average response time of these companies is a whole 42 hours. What’s worse is that almost half these firms take up to five days to respond to inbound leads, and about 58% never even follow up.

Without a doubt, learning the importance of responding quickly to leads can help B2B companies do better and avoid losing the billions of dollars spent on marketing with no conversion. 

According to experts and data from studies, lead response time is critical  for the following reasons:

1. You Have 5 Minutes to Respond to a Lead

As mentioned earlier, the optimal lead response time is five minutes. However, unfortunately, not many organizations have lead generation tools and processes to help achieve this. 

In fact, according to a study by Drift, only 7% of the companies surveyed are making it to respond to an inbound lead within five minutes or less.

If you’re to qualify a lead successfully, and especially in competitive industries, strive to be the first firm that makes contact. 

2. Most Customers Typically Buy from the First Responder

Several studies show that the likelihood of a customer buying from the business that responds to the lead first is very high. For example, a survey by Lead Connect shows that 78% of customers will consider the first responder.

In psychology, this phenomenon is known as the serial-position effect which is the tendency of a person to recall the first and last items in a series best, and the middle items worst. It’s easier to go for first.

3. The First Minute Means a Lot

Not only are you reaching out while the contact is active, but you are also getting them before they move on. The first few minutes after contact request is when your lead is still on the website or just left it. They have just done their research and now wants to speak to the business. 

Be there for them. Don’t wait till they have left and completely forgotten about that contact initiation.

B2B Email Marketing Best Practices

Now that you understand the crucial differences between B2B and B2C email marketing, you must apply the fundamental principles of email marketing to grow revenue. Here are a few of the best email marketing best practices to incorporate into your campaigns.

What Is the Optimal Lead Response Time?

Today, lead response time is the number one determiner of successful contact and conversions for sales teams. The longer your business takes to respond to a lead, the lower the chances you’ll close a deal with the prospect.

Some time back, a study in the Harvard Business Review revealed that if a sales rep responds to a lead within an hour, they are seven times more likely to have a fruitful conversation with the lead. The study also revealed that sales teams are likely to qualify a lead 60 times more if they had this conversation instead of waiting 24 hours.

Surprisingly, things have evolved, and lead response time is even shorter today. According to a recent survey, the optimal lead response time is now five minutes

Therefore, you need to act fast and make contact within five minutes to engage a lead successfully.

Additionally, inside sales indicate that within five minutes of contact from an inbound lead, you’re 100 times more likely to get in touch, unlike if you waited 30 minutes. You see, within that period (of five to thirty minutes), the chances of your sales rep qualifying a lead drop substantially. 

The science behind optimum lead times is clear.

Which Tools Can Help Decrease Lead Response Time?

There are several tools available in the market to help reduce lead response time and increase ROI. Some of the best tools include:

Conversational Tools

Live chat and chatbots are some of the tools you can use to initiate the contact and qualification process. This forms the basis for conversational marketing and sales.

While most companies are aware of how vital live chat tools can be in helping reduce lead response time, a study by Drift indicates that only 14% out of 433 surveyed companies have these features on their websites. 

If you want to have the edge over your competitors, it’s time you worked to make your conversions better with a conversational marketing plan.

Marketing Automation

Surfacing the right contacts at the right time to the right person is vitally important for lead response time. Delays in assignments or sending the wrong person to work a lead can all impact response times.

Marketing automation optimises this process ensuring that the lead connects with the right team member under the right conditions. This will improve conversations and help sales build relationships.

Workflow tools

In your workflow, you must find the right sales team quickly and brief them in so they can contact the lead right away. The last thing you want is to have the sales team sort through mountains of notes to get contact before a conversation.

Workflow automation can assist. Standardised processes and data-driven optimisations can help you develop a systematic way of improving lead response times.

Final Word

Lead response time is critical to every business. To minimize lead response time, try aligning sales and marketing and employing the tools mentioned above. In addition, put in place efficient qualification and prospect grading processes.

These strategies will help reduce your response times and increase your conversions. Soon, you’ll be among the small percentage of industry powerhouses that have learned the secret behind lead response time management and acted accordingly.

I've spent over 11700 hours on the marketing platforms to distill these learnings for your inbox.