5 Minutes or Less: Risk and Reward in Lead Response Time
In a world full of noise, time is becoming one of the most valuable resources at our disposal, and this is particularly true for agencies and media companies that are selling to local businesses. It’s time to become the Barry Allen of lead response time. Studies have shown that if you aren’t getting in contact with your prospects within 5 minutes of them submitting a demo, or requesting additional information—you are running a danger of losing that prospect. With the high costs of paid advertising, and the ever increasing competition in the digital landscape, you literally can’t afford to waste another moment. Below we’ll cover why lead response time is so critical and the data-backed strategies that you can use to reduce your lead response times, and to also improve conversions.
Why does lead response time matter? Lead response time is quickly becoming the most powerful determiner of successful contact, conversions, and even bookings and closes for agencies operating in the B2B space. The longer you take to contact a lead after they request information or a demo, the less likely you are to close that deal. Here’s what the data and experts say about why lead response time is a critical component B2B sales:
1. You Have 5 Minutes to Contact Leads
This seems nearly impossible because it is for many organizations using their current processes, but the repercussions are detrimental. Surveyed companies are currently achieving an average lead response time of five minutes or less. “You want to be the first company to make first contact, and in more competitive industries you’ll be lucky to be even the third caller if you wait five minutes or more to call.”
– Roy Harmon
2. 78% of Customers Buy From the First Responder
According to a study by Lead Connect, 78% of customers buy from the company that responds to their inquiry first. That’s how important the organizational consequences can be of taking a few extra minutes to make a cup of Joe before responding to those leads. If you aren’t the first contact for your prospects and still make a sale, you must be working some kind of magic. If you’re anything like me, that’s a risk that just isn’t worth taking. “Many times, the first vendor to engage a prospect has the opportunity to shape their perspective for the entire duration of their project. By setting the bar high and shaping how they see ALL potential solutions – not just yours – you have the opportunity to build your value and truly emphasize your key differentiators. The first time they hear about a feature or a benefit, it’s unique and impressive. You want that to be coming from you. The third or fourth time they hear it, it’s old hat – and that makes it harder to stand out.”
– Leif Peters
Senior Account Executive, IntelliChief
3. Sales Conversions are 391% Higher in the First Minute
According to Lead Connect, 391 is the percentage increase in sales conversions when inbound leads are contacted within the same minute that they submit a demo. This isn’t an increase in presentation bookings or anything like that, this is actual conversions. If your organization is able to make this a reality, you would join the top 1% of companies selling B2B, and enjoy the riches of your labour. “The fact is that the ideal time to contact a potential customer is exactly when he enters his phone number into the form. At this time, he is available and thinking about the seller’s services. Added to that, if the response time is slow, the prospect often finds another supplier.”
– Karl Norman
Business Development Director, Lead Connect
4. Longer Than 5 Minutes = an 80% Decrease in Lead Qualification
The odds of qualifying your lead between 5 minute and 10 minute response times would be an eighty percent decrease. I’m pretty sure that is what more math savvy people would call a very exponential decline…Now you know that the opportunity costs are great if you aren’t the best lead-slinger in your industry. B2B is a complex space with so many variables that are outside of our control, which is why we must take advantage of every variable that we do control.
5. Right Now, 55% of Companies Take 5+ Days to Respond
Fifty-five is the percentage of companies of the same survey that took 5+ days to respond to leads. Worse yet, of this 55%, 12% didn’t respond at all…Remember, unless you’re Microsoft, you probably aren’t generating the majority of your inbound leads organically. And we know that paid advertising on various platforms is all kinds of expensive.So how is it that anyone could let even a single one of these leads sit for an entire business week, or worse yet—slip away entirely?! It makes me wonder if 55% of the surveyed companies want to go bankrupt…Moral of the story, if you want to stay competitive, you’re going to have to do way better.