Lead response time is an often forgotten metric. It can be hard to tie directly to revenue, and due to that, it gets ignored by most sales teams.

You can’t blame your team – after all, they’d rather focus on metrics that you use to evaluate their performance, like traffic, number of leads, and amount of revenue generated.

But, lead response time is a fantastic way to offer a level of service that differentiates you from the competition.

Your leads will feel like they matter, and they’ll be confident that you’re there to help them and not just to take their money.

In this article, I’ll show you:

  • Why lead response time matters
  • How you can measure it
  • Methods to improve your lead response time

Let’s jump in.

 

What is Lead Response Time?

 

Lead Response Time is a measure of how quickly your team responds to incoming queries from people who are a fit for your business.

A fast lead response time will help B2B companies close more deals and grow more quickly than if you ignored it.

Remember, this doesn’t just apply to people signing up for a demo or emailing with a question about your pricing.

 

How Important is B2B Lead Response Time Matter?

 

You might be wondering if lead response time is really that important.

After all, your business has done well up until now.

But there’s more competition than ever. Industries are being disrupted, and most businesses are spoilt for choice when choosing a new product/service.

Your lead response time can act as a key brand differentiator.

For example, 77% of people won’t wait longer than 6 hours for an email reply. After that time, they’ll start considering other options.

As well as that, 55% of people are willing to pay more for a good customer experience.

As B2B sales become more and more personal, treating leads like real people, responding quickly, and focusing on customer experience is key to continued growth.

 

What Lead Response Time Should You Aim For?

 

I’ve got some good news for you.

Most companies don’t have a fast lead response time, and that probably includes your main competitors.

A Harvard Business Review study found that the average lead response time for companies is 42 hours. Yes, you read that right – 42 hours.

They also found that companies that responded to leads within an hour of a query were 7x more likely to have a meaningful conversation with a decision-maker.

average reply times

Source: https://hbr.org/2011/03/the-short-life-of-online-sales-leads

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to stand out.

Set goals for your team to reply to customer queries soon after they arrive, and you’ll close more deals and improve customer satisfaction. It’s that simple.

How to Improve Your Lead Response Time

Offer a Self-Service Option

 

If you’re part of a small team, use technology to leverage your time.

If a question is getting asked by leads regularly, add an FAQ section to your home page or pricing page.

There are a variety of ways to host a dynamic FAQ section on your site – tools like Intercom and HelpScout let you upload a library of questions and answers, and let people search them based on keywords.

A self-serve knowledge base may not be as personalized as talking to a sales rep, but if someone has a quick question about pricing or features, a self-service option will give them an answer instantly.

Make it a KPI and Track It with timetoreply

 

You’re likely tracking metrics like:

  • number of new leads
  • Number of demos scheduled
  • Average deal size

These are typical sales metrics to track – but they ignore lead response time. If it’s not being measured, your team won’t optimize their time for it.

To encourage your team to focus on lead response time, make it a KPI.

You can use timetoreply to track how well your team is performing towards that metric.

timetoreply

Using timetoreply you’ll be able to see data on average email response times and see if your team is performing in line with your standard email response-time policies.

If your team can consistently follow-up with leads shortly after they reach out, they’ll have more opportunities to close deals with purchase-ready leads.

Answer Common Question with a Chatbot

 

Another option to improve your company responsiveness is to use a chatbot.

An Accenture study that reviewed customer service processes at a Telco found that 82% of customer queries could be answered by a chatbot, once it had an initial knowledge base to pull from.

You can set up a chatbot that integrates with your company’s knowledge base. Answers can be delivered instantly based on keywords or by creating a set flow that customers can work through using a pre-defined logic.

Chatbots aren’t perfect – there will always be an edge-case or specific question that can’t be answered – but you can use them to lighten the load on your team, and free up their time to focus on high impact opportunities.

Create a Community Around Your Product/Service

 

A growing trend among both startups and established companies is to build a community around your product/service and industry.

Now, this might sound like a completely different subject – but hear me out.

67% of customer service interactions can be handled by a dedicated community of core customers.

Communities can be built on platforms like Facebook, Slack, and Circle. Invite your core customers and leads to join.

Encourage people to ask questions about your product/service, and encourage people to ask others.

Building a thriving community around your product will take time and effort, but once it’s there, you’ll have what’s essentially an outsourced customer service team that’s willing to help you out for free.

As well as this, if customers see that other people like them are using your product/service, it’s going to act as great social proof.

Tracking Lead Response Time with timetoreply

 

If you’re serious about improving your B2B lead response time, timetoreply is for you.

Our platform lets you create meaningful goals around your lead response time and make it a priority for your team.

You’ll be able to track performance in shared and individual inboxes. It’ll help you make decisions on hiring, business priorities, and see if your team has the bandwidth for new projects.

measure email reply times

If your lead response time is trending slower, you know your sales team has too much on their plate and can make adjustments accordingly to help them.

Get started by linking timetoreply with your Gmail or Outlook inbox and get instant insight into your B2B lead response time. Click here to start your free trial.

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