Many companies spend a lot of money to generate leads but end up dropping the ball when it comes to responding to them. The faster you respond to a lead, the more likely you’ll move them through your sales funnel and convert them to a paying customer.
When a lead signs up fills out a form, they are interested and willing to engage. This is your chance to acknowledge them and offer solutions to the problems they are facing. Taking forever to respond to your leads causes frustration on their part and increases the chances of you losing them to your competitors.
Surprisingly, many businesses struggle to contact their leads fast enough to begin a working relationship. A Harvard Business Review report shows that 55% of companies take longer than five days to respond to a new lead, while 12% fail to reach out completely. This guide covers the importance of speed to lead and how you can increase yours.
What Is Speed To Lead?
Speed to lead is the period between a lead expressing interest and your business responding. It refers to the time it takes your business on average to respond to a qualified lead. The moment a prospect becomes a lead varies from one organization to another, but it’s generally when the person signs up for an account, fills a form, or requests a demo.
The method of communication is also dependent on the specific company. Speed to lead does not prioritize one method over another. It simply accounts for how quickly you respond to your leads, whether by SMS, email, or social media channels.
Why Does It Matter?
Great timing is the key to conversion, and the ultimate goal of any sales and marketing strategy is to convert leads into customers. Responding fast to your leads means you’re connecting with them when they’re the most receptive.
The more time elapses, the harder your lead conversion process becomes. Today, the customer’s journey includes self-education. When they express interest, they are usually looking for meaningful interactions. They have a challenge they want to overcome and are looking for a solution. Your job is to meet their needs with a solution that can help.
Customers typically want a quick response to their inquiries. Every minute counts — literally. According to a study by Salesforce, 78% of customers will buy from a company that responds to their inquiries first. Therefore, a fast response rate gives you a competitive advantage. Taking too long makes your lead lose interest and move on to more important projects.
Being quick is important, but it does not necessarily guarantee that your lead will progress through your sales funnel. Aside from being fast, your response needs to be customer-centric, well-organized, and purposeful. The value of the response matters just as much, if not more, than the speed.
It’s also important to note that scheduling can be pretty labor-intensive, even with speed. You are working with the prospect’s calendar, and it often takes up to four days of back-and-forth with leads before scheduling. The idea is to be as helpful and accommodating as possible.
How Fast Should Your Speed To Lead Be?
Speed to lead is an important metric you can use to measure the effectiveness of your sales process. You should strive for instant speed to lead. This means that you respond to leads the moment they initiate contact. Businesses that respond to prospective customers within five minutes are 100 times more likely to close.
Keep in mind that your prospects are used to instant gratification. When your customer is surfing the web, they have multiple other options just a click away. Your response speed is the first step to ensuring a positive customer experience and increases the chances of developing a meaningful working relationship.
How To Increase Speed To Lead
Having looked at the importance of a fast response time to your conversion rates, you may be wondering how to improve your response time. Here are a few practical steps you can take to increase your speed to lead.
Optimize Landing Pages
Your landing page has a huge impact on your conversion rates. What does it look like? Is it engaging enough for prospective customers? You should optimize your landing page to engage prospects the minute they land on your website. You can consider incorporating demo requests and live chat options to show prospects that you are accessible and responsive.
Landing page optimization reduces friction and makes it easier for the prospect to initiate contact. You should take every opportunity to engage your leads as soon as possible. This translates to a higher conversion rate, lower customer acquisition costs, and a greater return on investment (ROI) on your ad spend.
Ask the Right Questions on Lead Forms
One of the leading causes of a slow response time is the time taken by your sales rep to gain a baseline level of knowledge of the prospect before responding to them. In some instances, reps favor certain leads and ignore others based on the work involved in researching the leads.
To help counter this, you should ensure you ask the right questions on the lead forms to give your reps enough information to go on. Of course, the forms should be concise and to the point, but you can include questions about the company size, budget, and customer relationship management (CRM).
The information needed by your reps should inform the questions you ask on lead forms. This way, your sales reps have access to the information instantly, and there is no need to spend time looking for it.
Automate Lead Delivery
You can speed up your lead response time by cutting lead processing time to its bare minimum. This can be achieved by automating your lead processing and using a CRM or lead management system, ensuring you get the right leads to the right people quickly.
Automated matching solutions take your inbound leads and match them to existing accounts within your CRM. These solutions automatically route your leads to the most suitable reps for instant follow-up. As such, there is virtually zero loss of leads in the system, and you do not miss any sales opportunities.
Once the leads are in contact with the sales reps, it’s also important to manage their effectiveness and responsiveness. This is also made possible with automation. You should strive to automate every step in your sales process to free up your reps’ time so they can focus more on sales activities and customer interactions.
Use Short Message Service (SMS)
While speed to lead as a metric is not method-specific, reaching out to prospects on their most preferred channel is advisable. According to a survey by Small Business Trends, almost three-quarters of customers prefer communicating with businesses through text messages, provided it is a real person.
Communicating through SMS greatly impacts speed to lead because the average response time to SMS is 90 seconds, compared to other methods like email, which take significantly longer. SMS makes scheduling a lot easier because it can be done in seconds.
Final Thoughts on How To Increase Your Speed To Lead
There are more than enough statistics to prove that the faster you respond to a lead, the easier it becomes to qualify that lead and move them through your sales process. For this reason, you should invest in cutting down your response time and gain an edge over your competition.
You can take several practical steps to increase your speed to lead, but if it’s all manual, you’re not doing it fast enough. You need automation to boost conversions, save time, and save money.
Aktify can help you reach your speed to lead calls. We use robust data science and machine learning to engage customers through well-curated gestures and conversations. Contact us today and let us connect you to your customers through positive experiences.