Businesses don’t like to see their leads run cold. Customers don’t like to be left waiting around for a response. But, both of these are situations that are all too common.
In fact, they’re probably happening in your business right now.
Picture this: your marketing team is delivering warm leads to your sales team. But, once those leads are with your sales team, you never hear from them again.
Unfortunately, it’s a common scenario. Your sales team has a lot on their plate. Without an effective lead response management system in place, it’s easy to miss opportunities.
But, if you can ensure your team is always responding to qualified leads quickly, you’ll have more conversations with prospects, and close more deals.
If you’re ready to start improving your lead response times, this article is for you.
We’ll show you the ins and outs of lead response management, and by the end, you’ll know actionable ways to improve your team’s lead response time and start closing more sales.
What is Lead Response Management?
Lead response management is the systems and processes you create that enable your team to reply to sales leads, customer support requests, and all other important emails in a timely, responsive manner.
Once you create a lead response management system, your team will always be able to reply to leads quickly, resulting in more sales, more happy customers, and improved customer satisfaction.
I know what you’re thinking: is the effort to create these systems going to be worth it?
Well, studies into lead response management have shown that “immediacy of response far overshadows both time of day and day of week in its effect on contact and qualification ratios”.
Next, we’ll show you a few more reasons to consider implementing a lead response management system.
Why Your Lead Response Management Could Be The Key to Growth
There are a number of ways effective lead response management can unlock growth and revenue.
Here are some of the key benefits of focusing on fast reply times in your business:
1. Boost sales by measuring and improving your response times
When you’re reviewing solutions for your business, you know how frustrating it can be if you never hear back from vendors.
Your customers feel the same.
If someone has questions about your product or service, they’re asking your competitors the same questions.
If you can reply quickly, you’re more likely to close the sale. This is particularly true in industries where your customers have high lifetime value.
In fact, 78% of new business goes to the first responder.
By creating systems that allow your team to reply quickly with all of the information your prospects need, you’ll:
- Prove that care about their time
- Show that you’re invested in customer success
- Set the bar for responsiveness
The result? More conversions.
2. Qualify more leads and improve sales engagement
The odds of qualifying a lead in 5 minutes vs. 30 minutes drop by 21x.
If you can beat your competitors on lead response times, you’ll have more conversations with prospects, and close more deals — without making any other changes to your business.
Optimizing your sales function for fast replies to inbound leads is an incredible way to grow your business and generate more engagement with your prospects.
Speed is more important than time of day, day of the week, or any other factor in your email practices,
is why 77%
of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do
3. Improve the ROI on your sales and marketing efforts
Most companies waste a considerable amount of money on marketing. In fact, most marketers say they waste 26% of their overall budget every year, and other studies have found that up to 71% of online leads are wasted.
You need to do everything you can to recover wasted spend, close more leads, and increase the ROI on your sales and marketing efforts.
Improving your reply time is a simple but effective way to ensure you’re not spending money on generating leads that your sales team isn’t engaging with.
Closing more leads will increase the ROI on every sales and marketing activity you do and give you a clear competitive advantage.
4. Build credibility and trust into your sales process
Replying promptly builds your credibility and helps customers trust you.
Put yourself in your customers’ position. They’re actively searching for a solution to a problem in their business. They want to work with a vendor that’s going to be a partner to them, and that has their back when they have problems.
The data backs this theory up: 77% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do.
Replying quickly with complete information to their initial queries will instantly build credibility and show your customers that you:.
- Are available to help whenever they need it
- Have effective systems in place, making you more credible
Fast reply times are a powerful signal to show your business has strong systems in place, and that you’re investing in your customers’ success.
5. Improve sales team performance through analytics tools and insights
Your sales team works hard to close new leads for your business. You need to help them perform at their best by giving them access to analytics tools and insights.
To help your team understand when they should be expecting emails, peak times for inbound inquiries, and use a data-driven approach to their email management, timetoreply can help.
You can improve performance by:
- Learning how many emails they should expect per day based on historical data
- Identifying who is receiving the most emails and finding ways to spread the workload
Over time, your team can use the data they have to optimize their workload and ensure they’re always able to hit their targets.
Metrics to Track to Understand Your Lead Response Times
If you can’t measure your lead response times, it’ll be hard to improve them.
Here are some key metrics to track:
- Average Time to Reply: This metric will show your average reply time to all emails your team is receiving. It’s a perfect high-level metric to track and measure to see if your process improvements are delivering results.
- Emails Received Per Week vs. Emails Sent Per Week: While it doesn’t tell you the context of each email, this metric will help you see if there’s an imbalance between received emails and sent emails. If your team is receiving too many emails, you may need to hire more people to help manage the workload.
- Conversations Awaiting Reply: This metric lets you see how efficiently your team is managing their inboxes. It’s particularly useful when looking at shared mailboxes, like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Encouraging your team to either reply or close conversations will make their workflow more simple and ensure everyone knows the status of every email.
You can track all of these metrics inside timetoreply’s email productivity software.
Actionable Ways to Reply to Every Lead, Fast
You can’t be monitoring your inbox 24/7. With that in mind, how do you build systems to ensure you never leave your leads waiting?
1. Start By Training Your Team
You need to empower your team to be able to reply quickly. That means investing in training programs, investing in software and tools to help them, and regularly reviewing your internal systems.
Once your team has the know-how and tools to improve their lead response time, they’ll be able to hit their targets more effectively, and more consistently.
2. Score Leads to Prioritize Replies
In your contact forms, you should be asking qualifying questions, such as:
- Company size
- Job title
Whenever a lead fills out your forms, you can prioritize and score leads based on how closely they match your ideal customer profile.
Your team won’t need to toss a coin to decide which account to reply to first. Instead, they’ll be able to prioritize their emails according to which leads are most likely to bring in more revenue.
3. Collaborate to Avoid Inbox Overwhelm
Even on a quiet day, your sales team is busy. There are always leads to nurture, customer questions to answer, and internal emails to reply to.
To help manage incoming emails from leads, create shared inboxes that your team all have access to.
For example, if someone fills out a contact form, ensure those messages are sent to an inbox like firstname.lastname@example.org. Give your team access to that account, and then, whoever is available first can reply to leads.
Most CRMs let you do this, and it won’t take long to implement.
It’s a simple way to ensure individuals on your team don’t get overwhelmed by inbound emails resulting in a slower response time.
4. Create Incentive Programs to Encourage Fast Response Time
Your incentives need to align with response time if you expect your team to prioritize it.
For example, if your team is given bonuses based on the total number of emails sent, they’ll focus on sending more emails.
But, if they’re incentivized by maintaining a low average reply time, they’ll make that a key focus.
When creating your incentive program it’s important to look at the bigger picture. Make sure your team knows that first reply time is important, but, also emphasize that speed shouldn’t lead to compromises in the quality of response.
5. Use Your Average Email Reply Time as a Value Proposition
Simply by displaying your live average email reply time you can deliver an uplift in the lead volume of up to 28%.
That’s because you set clear expectations for your leads.
People will be happier to fill out your contact form if you tell them: “We usually respond within 30 minutes”. On the other hand, if you left that blank, they would have no idea how long they should expect to wait. They’ll be more likely to shop around and start talking to competitors while they wait for you to reply.
It’s a simple but effective way to set expectations for your customers.
When your team gets back to them, they’ll already be expecting your email and will be ready to start engaging with you.
6. Use a Lead Response Management Platform
Rather than using intuition or guesswork to improve your lead response time, use a platform designed to help you measure and improve it.
Using timetoreply you can create actionable dashboards to track and measure your company’s reply times.
You can see:
- How many conversations agents are having
- How many conversations are being closed
- Average first time to reply
Once you know your existing benchmarks, you can create goals, incentives, and systems to improve them.
Your team will have all of the information they need to improve their processes and ensure no sales lead ever gets left behind.
Over time, you’ll gather data and start seeing insights into your email volume to help you optimize your staff availability.
For example, if you know you receive the most emails between 12 pm and 3 pm, you can ensure you don’t book any meetings during those hours.
A lead response management system like timetoreply is the fastest way to improve your email performance and productivity.
From Reactive to Proactive: Using timetoreply to Close More Leads
If you’re ready to start improving your lead response management, cutting reply times and increasing conversions, timetoreply can help.
Our software lets you manage email inboxes, keep track of all ingoing and outgoing emails, and sets benchmarks for each team member to strive for.
Your team can enable real-time alerts to notify them whenever new leads come in so they can react accordingly.
You’ll move from reactively replying to sales leads to being proactively engaging with them, helping your leads get the answers they’re looking for and improving your chance of closing them.
You can connect it to any mailbox and start tracking reply times and setting targets within minutes. You’ll never miss a hot lead or customer email again, and your team will have full visibility into their email performance. Start your free trial today to see how it can help your lead response management.