Let’s look at a hypothetical situation before we go ahead with the article.
You want to purchase a washing machine immediately. You research and find the best brand. You call the nearest showroom to inquire if they have that specific model. They respond saying “Thank you for calling, we will check and let you know in a while.”
You wait for a few hours. After several hours of waiting, you decide to call some other showroom in a different vicinity.
Oh, the showroom where you called first, didn’t forget you. They did call you. But after two days.
By that time, you already booked a washing machine.
Well, even your prospective buyers aren’t ready to wait. Lead response time makes a huge difference in any business.
If you don’t give your potential prospect attention at the right time, they will approach another seller. There are plenty of options available in the market.
If you don’t take care of your customers, your competitors will – Bob Hooey
Why does lead response time matter?
Lead response time is playing a crucial role in conversion.
Most of the leads generated through marketing campaigns are wasted.
79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. – Salesmate
You cannot afford to take a lot of time in this competitive business world where everyone is looking to grab the opportunity they get. The longer you take to connect with a prospect, the less likely are you to convert the lead.
Your chances of conversion dwindle with each passing minute. That proves lead response time matters a lot in sales. Your leads don’t stay hot for long in the sales pipeline; they turn cold and slip through the crack.
Statistics that prove lead response time matters in sales
The faster you act, the better results shall you get.
Here are a few lead response time statistics that need your attention:
- 50% of buyers select the vendor that responds first.
- You are 21X more likely to qualify and convert a lead if you respond within 5 minutes.
- The chances of a conversion drop if you connect after 30 minutes.
- Sales conversions are 391% higher when the leads are contacted within the same minute of requesting a demo.
The above statistics speak volumes about the importance of lead response time. It is crucial to stay on your toes in the sales world. Displaying urgency and importance increases the chances of winning a deal.
How to improve your lead response time?
The irony is that most of the companies aren’t even aware of their lead response time.
Ensure you keep track of your lead response time.
You can easily do it within the CRM.
In a CRM, you can see when the leads were first added; so, you can easily add another time and date-based field to track when those leads were first contacted. So, when your sales reps call, text, or email the prospects, they can add it to that field.
As per the stats that you read above, it is recommended to contact the prospects in the first five minutes.
Many prospects display interest in a product by filling up the website form or requesting a demo etc. Sadly, they don’t get the attention they expect. By being slow, you miss out on such lucrative leads who have the possibility of turning into your customers.
Don’t ignore the slow lead response time; try to improve it so that your leads don’t go cold and evaporate from your sales pipeline.
Here are some ways to improve your lead response time.
1. Align sales and marketing
The lack of alignment between the sales and marketing teams ends up affecting the lead response time.
While both play the blame game, the company suffers when the prospects take the exit door. Steps need to be taken to move these two important entities into a more productive relationship.
The two need to coordinate to ensure the leads are approached and converted in real-time. The sales and marketing teams need to engage in joint planning and work together to create value for the company.
Break the wall and open lines of communication between two teams. Regular meetings need to be organized between sales and marketing to discuss opportunities in the pipeline.
2. Embrace Automation
Automation can help sales reps in reaching the prospects at the right time and improve the lead response time.
Tasks like, assigning leads or sending prospecting emails, can be easily put on autopilot.
The sales leaders have a lot on their plate, so they might forget to assign the leads to the sales representatives. By using workflow automation software, this task can be automated instead of doing manually to reduce the chances of delays.
Not only this, but you can also send automated emails to connect with the leads and nurture them.
For instance, someone fills up a form on your website. An automated welcome email can be sent with an attached PDF about your company and product information.
You just need to set a workflow, and the emails will be sent as per the predefined criteria.
3. If you can’t call/email the lead immediately, message them
There are chances you might not be able to call or email your prospect, but you can surely text them within 5 minutes.
Text messages (SMS) is one of the fastest channels to reach prospects. Besides, prospects respond quickly to text messages.
SMS achieves a 209% higher response rate compared to phone calls, email, or Facebook.
So, you can use this effective channel to improve your lead’s response time. Text messages aren’t too time-consuming. You can easily type two sentences and send them to the prospect at any hour of the day.
Nowadays, most of the advanced CRM allows you to send text messages. You can even store templates and send bulk messages together to improve your lead response time.
4. Use shared inbox
In sales, you need to work together to achieve the sales team goals. A shared team inbox can be very helpful for modern sales teams who are tied up with many responsibilities.
So, if in case one team member is busy, the other sales rep can address the inquiry received by the client.
For instance, a website visitor went through your services and had a doubt, so they tried to reach you on the generic id that you’ve provided.
So, all the members who have been given access to the shared team inbox can see the inquiry. Anyone free can respond to the inquiry quickly. The others can see the full conversation, which reduces the chances of double responses to a single query.
The modern buyers are in a hurry. You need to act quickly to attract their attention and get in their good books. Lead response time is becoming the determiner of successful closure. So do everything it takes to improve your lead response time.
Smart tools like Salesmate CRM can help you with it. This intuitive tool gives you a clear pipeline view of all your deals. You track and approach them in real-time. Besides, you can prioritize them as per their value and connect with them at the right time. You can add automation, and it even offers a shared team inbox to collaborate with your team to offer a good buying experience to your prospects.
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We built two consulting agency businesses from scratch using these techniques.