It’s a given that the faster you respond to leads, the better chance you have of reaching a closed deal – research supports this fact. However, research done by InsideSales.com also supports the fact that just over two-thirds of leads never receive a response at all. Just how many sales opportunities are being missed? There isn’t any research to show that number, but it’s likely that the number is significant.

The solution to this problem is to define your team’s standard and process of responsiveness, and then using metrics to measure and adjust your process as needed.

The following are four steps that will increase your responsiveness and convert more sales:

Make Responsiveness a Sales Priority

The key here is that your sales team understands that responsiveness is a top priority. When a lead comes in, the potential customer expects a timely response. If they don’t get one, they are likely to turn to one of your competitors instead. So it is important that they hear from you as quickly as possible. Automated responses don’t count in this instance – prospects need to have a prompt, personalized response for your team to be effective.

Set Your Team’s Standards

Just like other parts of the sales process, there must be standards for appropriate response timing. Although 24 hours seems to be widely accepted, that is really too long. When you wait that long, many customers will have moved onto other avenues. Whether you decide that 30 minutes or two hours is appropriate for your team, consistency in maintaining the response time is crucial. It also allows for accountability which will help increase your company’s reputation favorably among your potential customers.

Measure Your Success

In order to know if the standard you have set is being met, you have to be able to measure your team’s success. Your customer relationship management (CRM) software should allow you to create this type of metric so that you can accurately track how quickly your salespeople are responding to leads. Encourage your team to understand these metrics to help them increase their closed sales and meet their sales goals.

Make Adjustments to the Process

Customers’ needs and expectations are constantly changing, and while a two-hour response time may work right now, you may find that you have to lower that time to one hour in the future to meet those changing expectations. Over time, you will be able to look at all of the details regarding responsiveness, customer satisfaction, and sales and determine what is working and what isn’t. The standard you set in step two is meant to be fluid, changing with the needs and expectations of your leads.

You may find that making changes to your response time involves adjusting your sales process, your software solutions, and your team’s attitudes and beliefs about customer service. Be open to making those changes when it’s necessary. Consider using software that automates part of the sales process to free up more of your sales reps’ time allowing even quicker responses.

Final Thoughts

HipLead explains it this way in their recent blog post:

“Your working memory holds information for up to a few minutes, while long-term memories disappear somewhere between 30 minutes and the end of your life.

If you respond to a prospect within a few hours, the email they wrote to you is still very fresh in their mind.

If you wait more than a few hours to respond, the prospect might still remember who you are, but they very well may have forgotten why they cared.

When you have someone’s attention, make sure you use it now, because you won’t have it for more than a few hours.”

If there is a way to respond to leads within 30 seconds, by all means, do it. But for now, make sure that you and your team are responding as quickly as you can. this will you hit your sales goals. You will see a difference in your reps’ sales results and your company’s bottom line.

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Jami Deloe