Improving inbound lead response time (how-to guide)

 

Providing quick responses to inbound leads is essential to any B2C or B2B company.

A quick inbound lead response time can exponentially boost your chances of closing the sale. One study found that nearly eight in ten sales go to the company that responds first. Another found that organisations that contacted a lead within the first hour were seven times more likely to qualify the prospect than if they had taken two hours to respond.

Reducing response time to a few minutes can bring even more significant benefits. After five minutes of an inbound sales lead, the odds of connecting and qualifying that lead drop by an eye-watering eighty percent.

This guide details why you should improve your inbound lead response management. Learn about ideal lead response times and uncover the tools and processes to maximise success.

 

Why is inbound lead response time important?

 

We live in an age of instant gratification. Technology has brought an unrivalled sense of convenience to the lives of billions of consumers around the world. For many, purchasing new products or opting into new services is as simple as tapping a few keys on a keyboard or swiping via a smartphone.

Simply put, lead response time affects sales directly.

If you are a sales-focused business – and let’s face it, most companies depend on sales for growth and revenue – you want to ensure you look after your prospects. One of the best ways to do that is to respond quickly and effectively to inbound leads.

A quick inbound lead response time can provide several benefits, including:

 

1. Close more sales

 

A quick inbound lead response time will improve your chances of closing a deal and contribute to a healthy, thriving pipeline of sales prospects.

One study found that up to half of all leads will choose to go with the company that responds first to an inbound query. Being quick on the draw will improve your chances of nurturing leads and converting them to sales.

 

2. Get better returns on marketing spend

 

What’s the use of spending marketing dollars on luring prospects to your business only for your inbound sales team to take so long to respond that they give up and head to a competitor?

Responding quickly to inbound sales leads will help you close more deals and convert more of your marketing dollars into revenue. Ensure your inbound sales team has the tools to track every lead. Teams using timetoreply Ignite can optimise their performance in real-time and ensure no inbound lead is forgotten or neglected.

 

3. Boost your customer experience

 

Think customer experience isn’t essential for inbound sales? Consider this: 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. How much more? One report found that customers will spend as much as 140% more after a positive experience than if they had a negative one.

One surefire way of providing a poor customer experience is to make prospective customers wait and wait for a response. Build processes and set standards for quick, professional answers to inbound leads. This will elevate your customer experience and drive greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.

 

What is the optimal inbound lead response time?

 

The optimal inbound lead response time is five minutes. Read that again: not 24 hours, not 6 hours, not even one hour: five minutes.

Now consider this: the average time it takes B2B inbound sales team to respond to a new lead is 42 hours. By then, you are at massive risk that the customer has disengaged from the sales process and sought a more accessible, more responsive alternative.

Get it right, and you can boost your conversion rates a hundredfold. Responding to inbound sales leads within five minutes makes it 100x more likely that you’ll convert that lead into a sale.

Admittedly, few companies can close the inbound lead response gap to five minutes. Your benchmark may look slightly different depending on which industry you work in or what size your business is.

For example, one study found that the benchmark lead response time for small companies of up to 300 people is 48 minutes. For medium companies of up to 2500 employees, it’s 1 hour and 38 minutes. For large enterprises, it’s 1 hour and 28 minutes.

Bear in mind that, while these are common industry benchmarks, customers don’t necessarily care to wait nearly two hours for a response to their sales query. Get closer to that magical five-minute threshold, and your sales will perform better.

Read on to learn how to reduce your inbound lead response time.

 

How to respond to inbound lead

 

Several reasons may impact your inbound sales team’s response time. Perhaps you don’t have the technology tools you need to process and respond to inbound leads quickly. Or you are a little under-resourced. Or maybe your marketing is so excellent that customers have flocked to your inbound sales channels en masse, and your teams simply can’t keep up.

Whatever the reason, these tips should help you close the gap and ensure every inbound sales lead receives a quick and efficient response.

 

1. Build a strong sales cadence

 

Very few sales are converted at the first interaction with a lead. It’s far more likely that your inbound sales teams will have to engage with a lead multiple times before they are convinced to purchase.

A sales cadence refers to the sequence and frequency of a sales rep’s engagements with a lead until they can close the deal. A standard cadence strategy helps create consistency by defining how often a lead is contacted, through which channels, how many times and with which messages.

A strong sales cadence contributes to faster inbound lead response times and better conversion rates.

 

2. Automate some processes

 

Some tools will take over some of the inbound lead nurturing process and help your team close that lead response time gap.

An automated response to new enquiries provides at least an initial engagement with the lead. A nudge to a sales rep when one of their inbound lead queries has gone unanswered for too long helps speed up your lead response time.

Don’t neglect the human touch, but do help your team work smarter and more efficiently with some smartly deployed automation.

 

3. Set goals to track performance

 

Is your sale team aware of their response time goals? Successful sales teams know how long it should take to respond to a lead. Set industry-specific goals so that your team can track and measure their performance.

Goals are a useful motivational tool and help ensure everyone is working towards common goals and expectations.

 

4. Send reminders and alerts

 

As inbound sales queries mount, it is easy to let one fall through the cracks. Don’t rely on human memory; instead, deploy an email response management tool that can track emails and alert teams to emails waiting for a response.

This way, you can be confident that your sales team are responding on time to all inbound sales queries.

 

5. Track deals in real time

 

Sales tracking is a valuable activity that helps optimise your team’s performance and forecast future sales. By tracking your deals, you can identify patterns within the sales funnel and understand where in the customer journey the sale is faltering. With these insights, you can implement improvements to close more deals.

 

Optimising inbound lead response time with timetoreply Ignite

 

timetoreply Ignite is a well-designed software tool purposefully built for inbound sales teams that wish to close more deals more efficiently. It aims to elevate inbound lead performance by providing insight and data to improve decision-making and accelerate market gains. timetoreply Ignite is quick and easy to instal, allowing you to reap the benefits quickly without hassle.

 

How does it work? Read on to understand how timetoreply Ignite can supercharge your inbound sales team.

 

Frequently asked questions

1. What's the difference between timetoreply Ignite and other software?

timetoreply Ignite is built explicitly for inbound sales teams. It is quick and easy to install and requires no change to typical workflows. With simple integrations to Microsoft Outlook and Google Workspaces, timetoreply Ignite is one of the best ways for companies to boost inbound sales revenue by beating competitors to the sales deal.

2. Who should use timetoreply Ignite?

Sales teams that want to offer a responsive experience and optimise how they deal with inbound leads on email should use timetoreply  Ignite. Team managers can gain instant visibility over deal stages to identify potential bottlenecks, while team members can optimise their performance in real-time, including the number and cadence of customer touchpoints to drive more revenue. And since timetoreply Ignite works with any business email platform, any high-performance team can deploy timetoreply Ignite to respond more quickly and more effectively to inbound leads. 

3. What are the main features of timetoreply Ignite?

timetoreply Ignite offers a range of benefits and features to supercharge how your inbound sales teams handle leads. Access timetoreply Ignite’s detailed dashboard to:

  • track closed deals in real-time
  • team members can self-optimise the number and cadence of touches to drive more revenue
  • gain instant visibility over deal stages across all leads and by lead source and by team member
  • track multiple lead sources
  • see how your team members are performing in real-time
  • compare team members’ performance and watch their win rates soar. 

The best part? timetoreply Ignite works with Outlook/o365 and Gmail/Google Workspace, is easy and quick to install, and requires no change in your standard workflows.

Get timetoreply Ignite for your inbound sales teams and start beating your competitors to the deal.

Interested in getting early access to timetoreply Ignite? Sign up today and get your first 3 months totally free!*

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