Improving your lead response time (a comprehensive guide for sales teams & managers)


Improving your lead response time can increase sales and secure a higher return on investment.

What is a good lead response time? How can you improve your lead response time? Let’s take a deep dive into how to improve your sales lead response time for greater business success.


What is lead response time?


Lead response time is the average time it takes a sales rep to respond to communication from a prospective customer.

Customers may express an interest in your products or services by contacting you via an online form, by providing their details to download content, by calling you or by sending an email enquiry.

Lead response time is important because the quicker your lead response time, the more likely you are to convert them from a lead to a customer. This is good for business.


How to calculate lead response time?


To calculate your sales team’s lead response time, measure the time between the initial contact and the first response sent from your sales team. This is your lead response time. You can measure these response times in minutes, hours or days.

Successful sales teams use a combination of email analytics and email response management system (ERMS) software, such as timetoreply, to accurately track response times and other key sales performance metrics.


Average lead response time statistics you should know


Speedy lead response times can result in more sales and greater business success. Research indicates that many businesses are too slow to follow up on sales leads. Consider that nearly four in five sales go to the company that replies first, and you can see why quick lead response times are so essential to your sales success.

However, this also represents an opportunity – the faster your average lead response time, the more likely you are to convert the initial contact to a sale and the easier it is to grow your customer base, revenue and business.

Here are our top lead response times insights you should know:


1. You have less than an hour to reach the decision-makers


A Harvard Business Review study revealed businesses that respond to a sales lead within an hour are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with decision-makers. A meaningful conversation with a decision-maker is the first step of a successful sale.


2. Wait more than 24 hours and you lose your edge


Sales teams that take an average of 24 hours to respond to a sales lead are 60 times less successful than teams that respond within an hour. That is a big drop in your chances of success! Those first 60 minutes really are critical to success.


3. Average lead response times are slow


According to Forbes the average lead response time is 47 hours. Sound slow? It is! But it does represent an opportunity. Respond quickly and you can edge out your competitors.


4. The optimal lead response time for phone calls is lightning quick


The optimal lead response time for phone calls is five minutes or less. That is quick! A study showed that you are 10 times more likely to reach the customer if you respond within 5 minutes rather than 10 minutes. Fast really is better.


5. Almost half of all companies don’t respond at all


In a shocking study, 47% of companies surveyed never responded to an inbound sales lead at all. No amount of marketing spend will help you reach your sales targets if your team is not even responding to the sales query in the first place.


The importance of fast lead response time for sales


The importance of fast lead response time for sales cannot be overstated.

You are spending marketing money reaching potential customers but if your sales team do not respond quickly and effectively to inbound sales leads, you may experience a low return on investment. This is money and time wasted!

When teams respond timeously to inbound leads you reap the benefits of higher sales conversion rates, increased customer loyalty and improved ROI.


Fast lead response time gives you a greater chance of success


Customers who are ready to purchase are more likely to choose your brand or product if you are first to respond to their sales query. One study found that 78% of sales go to the first company to respond to a sales lead. Do you need more motivation than that?


Fast communication creates a top-class customer experience


Make sure your brand stands apart from your competitors by providing quick and efficient communication. This is especially true if your competitor offers a similar product or service. A good customer experience can improve your conversion rate and drive higher levels of customer retention.


Increase your ROI with fast sales lead response times


When you respond to leads within five minutes you are 100x times more likely to convert that lead to a sale. Get the most from your marketing investment by optimising sales lead response times.


Best practices to improve lead response time


If you want to get ahead of your competitors, increase your return on investment and deliver a wonderful experience for potential customers, you need to deliver a rapid lead response time.

Now that we’ve established the link between rapid lead response times and increased sales it is time to look at the best practices to improve your sales team’s lead response time.


Measure your current sales lead response time


Knowledge and visibility are your keys to success. Use a tool like timetoreply to measure your sales team’s current lead response time. Once you know what your current reply time is, it is easier to understand the level of improvement required. This gives you a baseline from which to track progress.


Set benchmarks & goals


Work with your sales teams to determine the best possible email response time for your inbound sales leads. Formalise this by setting KPIs and goals for your sales teams. You may decide to implement incentives for team members who meet these targets.


Implement tracking


Sales teams need to measure, track and analyse their response times. By having accurate data about average reply times, conversion rates and other metrics, sales teams can see where they need to improve.


Automate tasks


High-performance sales teams use specialist email response management system (ERMS) software. An ERMS tool automates some of the tasks associated with lead responses and can help alert teams to emails that may have been missed. This can cut down on response times and ensure every inbound lead is nurtured along the sales funnel.


Dedicate a team to inbound leads


Establish a dedicated team that is focused on responding quickly to inbound leads. Technology tools such as timetoreply can support the team by measuring and tracking effectiveness, as well as automating some of the workflow associated with lead development.


How Timetoreply Can Help You


timetoreply’s ERMS software helps sales teams improve their lead response times and raise their sales conversion rates by providing accurate real-time data into their email productivity. By using timetoreply’s ERMS software you can ensure every inbound lead receives the nurturing required to close the sale.



Timetoreply unlocks several benefits that help boost the performance of your sales team:

Track and improve your sales team’s average lead response time


With timetoreply’s ERMS software sales managers gain an accurate view of average response times and conversion rates of the sales team as well as individual team members.

Establish goals and benchmarks required for successful sales conversion and measure your team’s progress against these goals.


Track email replies and report on whether they have been responded to


Use timetoreply to set and track custom SLA thresholds and receive real-time notifications when emails are approaching thresholds or emails that have not received a response.

This keeps everyone on track to provide timely responses to inbound leads, boosting conversions and improving the chances of success.


Get analytics on individual mailboxes, teams and shared mailboxes


Timetoreply’s customisable reports and analytics empowers managers with visibility of individual mailboxes and teams’ email productivity.

Having access to this real-time data can assist managers to identify trends that may inform sales and lead nurturing strategies.


Set real-time alerts for important emails


Leaving a sales query unanswered could lead to lost revenue. It may also cause the prospect to lose faith in your service and brand.

With timetoreply you can set real-time alerts to notify your sales team or relevant sales team member when an email has not received a response within the allocated deadline. Now you can ensure a sales query never slips through the cracks.


Manage workloads and resourcing by understanding email volumes and peak times


Through timetoreply’s powerful reporting capabilities sales managers can access insights into email volumes, peak traffic periods and more. Identify where resources are needed, what bottlenecks may be slowing down response times and productivity trends.

These analytics empower managers with the data needed to make necessary changes to boost sales performance.




Ensuring fast lead response time increases sales conversion rates and gives you a competitive advantage.

Tracking and improving your sales team’s lead response time should be a top priority for every sales-driven business.

Using timetoreply’s ERMS software helps sales teams gain the visibility to improve their lead response times, raise their sales conversion rates and increase ROI.

Increases sales conversion rates and close more leads. Get in touch with us to start a 15-day no-strings free trial.


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