In the world of sales and marketing, generating inbound leads is essential for business growth. These are the potential customers who have expressed interest in your product or service, either by filling out a form, downloading content, or subscribing to your newsletter.
Once these leads have entered your pipeline, it’s crucial to engage with them quickly and effectively to increase the likelihood of converting them into paying customers.
The question that often arises is how quickly should you contact inbound leads. In this article, we will explore the importance of timely lead response, examine the factors that affect response time, and provide tips for optimizing your lead management process.
Why speed matters for inbound leads
Inbound leads are invaluable to any business and refer to any expression of interest from a potential customer in your products or services, whether it’s a website form, email, phone call, or social media message.
These leads are often the result of marketing efforts, such as advertising or content marketing, and are more qualified than outbound leads.
Inbound leads have actively sought out your business, indicating that they are further along in the decision-making process, which means they are more likely to be closed quickly. Therefore, reducing the time between the lead coming into your business and the first contact with a sales representative is vital.
That’s key if you want to know the answer to the question – how quickly should you contact inbound leads?
Responding promptly maximizes the chances of converting the lead into a sale. A study published in the Harvard Business Review showed that contacting a prospect within one hour of their first contact makes it 60 times more likely to convert them into a customer compared to waiting 24 hours before following up.
Hence, lead response time is a crucial metric that all sales organizations should track and improve.
You have to be quicker nowadays
Despite the widespread acknowledgment among sales leaders of the importance of lead response time, many companies still fail to prioritize it adequately.
Shockingly, over half of companies take more than a week to respond to inbound leads, which are potential customers who have reached out after receiving a referral, seeing an ad or content, or finding your business through a web search.
These potential customers are left waiting for over a week, which can lead to losing their interest or going to a competitor.
While the average response time from companies is 42 hours, which seems relatively quick, most prospects have already conducted their research before contacting companies and are ready to move forward.
This eagerness to purchase explains why 78% of customers buy from the first company that responds to their interest. It’s also worth noting that only 7% of sales organizations contact new inbound leads within five minutes, which means there is a high chance that one of your competitors is already engaging with them.
Responding in 5 minutes?
Speedy response time to inbound leads is crucial for any business that wants to boost its chances of success.
Companies that contact potential customers within five minutes have a significantly higher success rate than those that take up to 42 hours to respond. However, achieving a response time of fewer than five minutes can be a challenge, as it’s important to research the lead and their needs before initiating a call.
To consistently respond to inbound leads quickly, businesses need to establish a streamlined process. A well-designed process can help sales teams prioritize leads effectively and allocate resources efficiently, leading to higher productivity and faster response times.
How quickly should you contact inbound leads? Well, now, you have an answer.
6 tips to improve your lead response time
While achieving a lead response time of fewer than five minutes may seem challenging for some businesses, there are still numerous ways to significantly reduce response times and gain a competitive advantage.
To help you get started, here are some effective tips that you can consider.
1. Keep an eye on the right metrics
To identify areas of improvement, it is important to regularly monitor and analyse your team’s performance. Some of the essential metrics to track include:
- The average lead response time;
- The average lead response time by a representative;
- The average number of follow-ups attempted per lead;
- The average sales cycle length.
2. Standardise your lead response process
Standardising your lead response process can bring many benefits, such as consistent performance, the ability to grow, and an efficient inbound call centre team.
It would be best to write down a clear and concise set of instructions that explain what needs to be done every time a lead comes in, how, when, and where to do it, and who is responsible for each step.
3. Leverage technology
With good lead capture software and a good CRM tool, your team can do a lot more. It can make the first contact with leads and even pre-qualify them before sending them to your sales reps.
So, only the most promising leads are sent to your team. This saves them time and makes it more likely that incoming calls will be turned into sales.
4. Use an auto-dialer
An auto-dialer is a piece of software that does things like make calls and leave voicemails automatically. By using an auto-dialer, your salespeople can spend their time closing deals instead of making calls by hand.
With a CRM system and an auto-dialer, you can keep track of all the interactions with your leads and call them back in less time.
5. Consider outsourcing
By using a call centre service solution or outsourcing other parts of your business, you can outsource the entire inbound lead response process. This lets you and your team work on getting the best lead response time possible.
For example, different virtual mailbox providers can take care of everything related to physical mail while remote businesses can focus their time and energy on all other digital channels of communication.
6. Train your team
One of the main reasons why it takes so long to get back to leads is that the people who answer incoming calls don’t always see how important it is.
So, it’s important to let your team know how important lead response time is and how their individual performance affects the bottom line of the company. Regular training can also help them respond faster without lowering the quality of their work.
How quickly should you contact inbound leads? Both you and your employees need to be aware of these tips to successfully answer this question.
4 ways to boost the value of your responses
Merely reducing your lead response time is not enough if you want to increase conversion rates. You also need to ensure that your responses are valuable and relevant.
Here are some tips on how to achieve this.
1. Select the appropriate channel
Different channels work better for different products, target markets, and industries. For instance, if you’re selling high-end products or services to other businesses, email may not be the best channel. In such cases, a phone call might be a more personal and direct option.
To establish a connection with leads, it’s important to personalise your responses and avoid using generic or automated messages. Take the time to understand your lead’s requirements and pain points to address them directly in your response.
Suppose you run a blog that recommends credit cards to residents from different countries. In that case, it’s crucial to consider where your lead resides to provide them with valuable information in your response.
Using contextual information from the lead’s interactions with your website can also help you form your response.
3. Be clear
When giving your responses, it’s best to be clear and concise. Avoid using technical terms or industry jargon that your lead may not comprehend. Get straight to the point and provide value from the beginning.
Inbound leads are important to prioritise over other types of leads because they have already demonstrated an interest in your product or service.
Ignoring or taking too long to respond to inbound leads is like buying food and not eating it even though you’re hungry. Therefore, it’s essential to address inbound leads promptly and appropriately.
In addition, generating inbound leads usually requires spending on various marketing efforts such as content marketing, SEO, PPC, and other forms of paid advertising.
Why you need to consider using a scheduling tool
One of the most common and avoidable reasons for lost business is failing to schedule meetings either because no suitable time slot can be found, or because leads are lost after needing to reschedule an appointment.
By using a high-quality scheduling tool such like QikChat, you can prevent the loss of leads and ensure that any inbound leads contacted within five minutes have a bunch of available times ready to be selected from their email, with one click.
Sales reps availability is shared instantly with the lead, right after the lead form has been completed, this is done as through QikChat’s code snippet that is placed on your website, through the fast onboarding process.
This process eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails that typically accompany the meeting scheduling process. Once a meeting has been booked, both parties’ calendars are automatically updated with a calendar event reflecting the online meeting, as if this has been done manually, but it hasn’t.
Using a scheduling tool that does not require your leads to go to a separate booking page or avoids the 68% non-completion rate of external forms, skyrocketing booked meetings and meeting attendance. Prospects can book meetings and demos on the spot without any delay.
QikChat: perfect for inbound lead responses
QikChat offers advanced scheduling software that provides businesses with the fastest way to connect with their leads.
This B2B software platform empowers revenue-focused teams to quickly assign, schedule, and speak with their inquiries from their primary digital channels, leading to a significant increase in conversion rates and productivity.
With QikChat, you can effortlessly schedule meetings with your leads, reducing the time it takes to arrange the first meeting and enabling you to hold more meetings within your ideal timelines. This, in turn, boosts your revenue and enhances your team’s efficiency.
As soon as a lead comes in through a lead form from one of your digital channels the preferred digital channel, QikChat distributes the lead to the team members’ calendars based on their position in the round-robin system, which ensures that the leads are evenly distributed among team members.
As QikChat distributes the lead to the team member, their availability is embedded in an email from the team member, that is sent to the lead, ready to book a meeting right from the leads email with one click.
The team member’s calendar is instantly shared with the lead, and available meeting times are embedded in the lead’s email, allowing them to select a time with just one click.
QikChat’s scheduling tool is already set up, eliminating the need for a separate scheduling link that would have to be filled out again by the lead, which significantly reduces form non-completion rates.
For many businesses, reducing their lead response time is essential and can bring in more sales and profits.
By quickly responding to inbound leads, businesses can easily qualify them, connect with them, and turn them into paying customers. This can also help in lowering the customer churn rate.
However, just having a shorter response time is not enough. That isn’t the complete answer to the main question of the article ‘How quickly should you contact inbound leads?’
To increase conversion rates, businesses also need to make sure that their responses are relevant and valuable.
Following the tips mentioned in this post will help businesses not only reduce their lead response time but also make their responses more valuable to their leads. This can benefit both the business and its potential customers.