B2B lead response time (A guide to measure and improve it)
Businesses should not underestimate the value in responding quickly to incoming leads. A recent study by Salesforce, revealed that 78% of new business goes to the company that responds first. The early bird really does get the worm!
Lead response management can make all the difference when it comes to business growth and closing deals. Let’s look at what you need to know about lead response time and unpack why your business should be paying more attention to this metric.
What is a B2B Lead Response Time?
A B2B lead response time is the length of time it takes for sales or customer representatives to follow up with leads received from either inbound or outbound channels.
A study by Harvard Business Review uncovered that most companies are simply not responding fast enough to leads. The average lead response time measured was 42 hours. Shocking! Especially if you want to grow your business (which we are sure you want to do!)
This slow lead response time is especially worrying when you consider how quickly leads can go cold. In a separate study, HBR found that businesses that responded within an hour were nearly 7x more likely to qualify the lead.
In short, a fast lead response time gives B2B companies a competitive edge. By prioritising lead response times B2B companies can close more deals, more quickly. Have we convinced you that B2B lead response is important?
How To Calculate Lead Response Time in B2B
Now that you understand why you should prioritise lead response time, you can calculate your current B2B lead response time. This will give you a benchmark to measure improvements against.
To calculate your lead response time, measure the time it takes to respond to a lead from initial contact. This will reveal your lead response time. Compare your average email lead response time per industry to understand how you compare with your competitors.
It can be tedious to work out lead response time manually. Thankfully, there are tech tools that can help you get to accurate answers quickly. Using a combination of email analytics and email response management system (ERMS) software, such as timetoreply, you can easily and accurately track and measure lead response times.
Why You Need A Fast Response Time In B2B Lead Generation
1. More Sales Opportunities
A study from InsideSales.com (now XANT) confirms that 35–50% of leads are more likely to go with the company that responds to their enquiry first. You really do have to be quick to the draw!
Improving your lead response times can help fill your company’s pipeline with more sales opportunities.
Sales teams using timetoreply to track email response times can ensure that every lead is nurtured and responded to within the timeframe most likely to result in a sale.
2. Increase Your Marketing ROI
You have already spent valuable marketing dollars on generating leads. But what if these leads are left to go cold? You lose out on a sale, but you also lose out on the money spent generating that lead. Can your business really afford to lose twice? In this economic climate, we say no way!
By focusing on providing a quick and friendly response to every lead within the right time frame, your business can see more conversions per marketing dollar spent. This will have a direct impact on your bottom line and make sure your business continues to grow.
3. Improve Your Customer Satisfaction
Increasingly, customers expect (and demand) top-quality customer service. What happens when you don’t live up to their expectations? They switch.
According to NewVoiceMedia’s “Serial Switchers” report, almost two-thirds of customers are prepared to switch to a competitor when they experience poor customer service. That is a lot of lost business!
Don’t leave your potential customers irritated waiting for a response, this can damage your brand reputation as well as dent your future sales and referral opportunities.
Focus on responding quickly to customer queries and you could enrich your customer experience with emails, and close more deals while growing your base of loyal satisfied customers.
Proven Ways To Improve B2B Lead Response Time
1. Offer a Self-Service Option
Do you find your sales team answering the same questions over and over?
By identifying questions that can be answered through content your customer can access online you can free up sales teams to focus on high-value leads.
Consider building a FAQ page for your website that answers basic questions. A resource library with e-books, guides and/or tutorials can be fantastic resources that help your customers get immediate answers on their own.
Remember, 40% of consumers now prefer self-service over talking directly with a human being. With that in mind, can you really afford not to have a self-service option?
2. Include Lead Response Times in your KPIs
Lead response times do not often fall part of sales teams’ KPIs. But as we have established fast lead response times are crucial to closing deals. If you want to increase attention and focus on fast lead response times, make it a KPI.
Timetoreply allows team leaders to set unique benchmarks and then measure individuals and teams against those benchmarks.
When your sales team has visibility of lead response times, they are more likely to meet and exceed your targets. Now that is what we call good business!
3. Answer Common Questions with a Chatbot
As your existing and potential customers browse your website, they may have questions that can easily be answered by an automated online system such as a chatbot. A chatbot allows you to offer immediate, real-time service online.
An Accenture study found that 82% of customer queries could be answered by a well-designed chatbot. Since a chatbot never sleeps you’re able to provide your customers with a fast lead response time 24/7.
This kind of customer service is essential for retaining customers, increasing loyalty, and generating more sales opportunities. What is there not to like?
4. Track Lead Response Time with timetoreply
Are you serious about improving your B2B lead response time? Then it is time to invest in technology tools to help you track, measure and improve your lead response time.
timetoreply’s platform lets you set lead response time benchmarks making it a priority for your team. Now you can track performance in shared and individual inboxes without disrupting workflow or investing in more training.
By having access to these data insights you can easily manage, optimise and incentivise your team for greater business success.
How Email Analytics & Optimization Software Can Help You
With a good email analytics and optimisation software, such as timetoreply, you can view your teams’ past email response times, set benchmarks and send real-time alerts ensuring no email is left to go cold.
When you use email analytics and optimisation software you are supporting your sales team so they can reach those targets and bring in those sales!
How can email analytics and optimisation software help you and your sales team reach those targets? Let’s take a look:
1. Gain Visibility Of Email Reply Times
When you have visibility over your team’s email lead response time, you understand exactly what improvements are needed.
Through a top performing email analytics and optimisation software you can get real-time data to radically improve the performance of sales and customer facing teams.
Once you have a clear view of email volumes, individual and team reply time performance you know exactly where improvements need to be made. This takes the guess work out of lead response times.
2. Send Real-Time Alerts
Letting a lead go cold is bad for business.
That is why you want to look for an email software solution that can send real-time alerts when a lead has not been answered within the optimal timeframe.
Real-time alerts mean no important email will get lost in a busy inbox and a customer query never goes unanswered.
This means happier customers and more sales opportunities.
3. Generate Data And Insights
If you know when you are receiving the most emails and how long teams are taking to respond to emails, then you are equipped to make the necessary changes needed for success.
A good email analytics and optimisation software gives sales and customer success managers a dashboard view, as well as daily reports that provide real-time analytics on both individual and team reply times and contact rates.
When you are armed with data and insights on response times, you can make good business decisions.
Timetoreply was created because we were frustrated that we couldn’t find a solution that provided the data and insights needed to properly monitor email behaviour and incentivize staff properly.
Now timetoreply is one of the most advanced email analytics solutions available today. We are also the only email analytics and optimisation software solution that seamlessly integrates with both Microsoft and Gmail.
Link your teams’ mailboxes in seconds and get instant data on their individual and shared mailboxes reply time performance, email volumes and more. Supercharge your B2B email lead response time with timetoreply and watch those sales roll in.