Speed is the number one driver of lead conversion. When you receive a new inbound web form lead, you need to act fast. Prospects are perishable. The last thing you want to do with a new inbound lead is kick the can down the road. If you do, you will be wasting a valuable sales opportunity. New leads deserve your immediate attention. Leads are expensive and difficult to come by. When a lead arrives, you must act quickly in order to have an opportunity to solve their problem.
Most marketers have heard by now that responding to a lead in 5 minutes is the magic number for contacting and converting leads. It’s great but it’s not optimum. Based on our 11 years of helping our clients respond to over 5 million new inbound leads, we found you should be responding in 60 seconds or less to increase your connections and conversions- and there are many studies you can read to verify this.
Marketers and sales managers should care about measuring results and building strategies around what works. This is what a scientific approach to sales and marketing is all about. It’s a pragmatic approach. Your actions need to be informed by data.
In this article, we are going to be exploring speed to lead and persistent response. We will dig into why the pace you respond to leads is vital to a high conversion rate.
Lead generation is only half the battle. Once you have leads, you need to get these prospective customers over the finish line with an optimized response process – and this starts with calling your leads as fast as possible on a consistent basis. Ideally, in less than 60 seconds.
The ability to respond immediately to new inbound leads always comes down to a balance between resources and opportunities. Now, you can leverage lead response automation to take a very small sales team and make it highly efficient – unlocking the full potential of your sales team’s resources.
By pre-assigning your leads to specific reps as they come in, you’re creating an instant bottleneck. This method is necessary without automation in order to assign a rep with the responsibilty for contacting new lead. With automation services like Speak2Leads, no single person has to be assigned responsibility for getting in touch with a lead. Now your whole team can combine their efforts to speak to every lead.
#1 What is speed to lead?
Speed to lead is a measure of the time it takes for you to call a lead from the moment it is submitted. For instance, if a new prospect fills out a lead capture form on a landing page and you attempt to call them 53 seconds later, the speed to lead time would be 53 seconds. The shorter your speed to lead time is, the better. You should always aim to respond to potential customers as quickly as possible.
When it comes to measuring speed to lead, select a date range and identify the number of seconds, minutes, or hours on average it took your sales team to call new leads that arrive during the business hours yourreps are working. You should measure the length of time it took to dial the lead from the instant it arrived. This will reveal your average speed to lead.
You can only apply this to the first call attempt during business hours. Any additional attempts made by your sales representatives fall into ‘persistence’ and your follow-up and reattempt cadence. This measures your sales team’s effort not the outcome. Ultimately, if the lead doesn’t answer the call, it’s not the representative’s fault.
Alongside this, it is important to also measure your actual contact and conversion rate tied to speed to lead. This is referred to as ‘speed to contact’. You need to show your team how their speed actually increases connections and conversions – helping to inform their efforts moving forward. These measurements are easy to track and present with an automated platform like Speak2Leads.
#2 How do you calculate lead response time?
To calculate lead response time, you count the time it takes from when a fresh lead is submitted to when you speak with them.
You need to take the total amount of time between the arrival of fresh leads (during business hours) and the first response for all leads assigned to a sales representative – and then you divide this by the total number of leads they responded to.
This will give you their average lead response time. This can be used as a crucial metric to monitor the performance of sales representatives.
Even if you don’t connect, what was the reaction time? Or did you even respond at all? This is a metric that you need to be monitoring. You only have one opportunity to apply speed to a lead. Everything else falls into the world of persistence. This is why you should be leveraging automation tools like Speak2Leads to accelerate speed and automate persistence.
With the support of automation from Speak2Leads, we can measure your call connection rate to see how much revenue you’re leaving on the table. Our tool reveals business intelligence about your situation that is actionable. Once you know your reality, you know what you’re missing out on. It always comes down to a balance between resources and opportunities.
#3 How is a lead conversion rate calculated?
The lead conversion rate measures the percentage of leads that end up becoming customers. Also referred to as ‘close rate’. The higher the conversion rate, the better your sales team is performing. To calculate the lead conversion rate for your leads , you should take the number of leads converted and divide this number by the total number of leads generated over a specific date range. And then take it one step further and measure the conversion or close rate of each sales rep based on the number of leads they speak to, not the number of leads they called. This is a true measure of their persuasive skills and performance.
Many CRM solutions include features enabling you to measure the lead conversion rates by source. . This data point can help you to make pivotal decisions around your approach to acquiring leads.. We believe there’s a hidden science to achieving a strong lead conversion rate. This revolves around the idea of promptly responding to leads combined with multiple communication channels to increase your contact rate. This is referred to as omni-channel or multi-channel communication. Phone calls, voice mail, email, text messaging, social media and even regular mail or overnight mail if the deal size warrants the expense, are all examples of multi-channel communication.
#4 Why should you speed up your lead response time?
A study from Vendasta on speed to lead has shown that after 5 minutes, the odds of qualifying a lead decrease by a jaw-dropping 800%. While this is a stunning statistic that provides weight to the idea that timing is everything, it doesn’t give us a full picture. After the 60-second window has passed, your likelihood of converting a new lead already drops by a whopping 400%!
If you’re not first, you’re last. When it comes to lead response, this couldn’t be more true. If you want to be beat the competition, you need to be first in line. Why does this matter? Well, it has been found that 50-80% of leads who buy, end up choosing the first vendor they talk to. With this in mind, your process for communicating with leads has the potential to make or break your sales or enrollment goals.
Leads are expensive and hard to obtain. Nobody can afford to let them slip away. . Even though not having enough resources to capitalize on your opportunities may seem inevitable, it doesn’t have to be this way. Automation can change how you approach your sales efforts for the better. When you’re suddenly able to call inbound leads in a matter of seconds with very little effort, you’re taking a huge first step to properly working each lead.
If you want to successfully convert leads into paying customers, you need to think carefully about your approach to responding to leads.
Leads go colder much faster than sales representatives realize. Research reveals the simple act of placing a phone call to a new prospect within a minute of lead generation can increase your likelihood of conversion by nearly 400%. In contrast, delaying your response time by just 6 minutes causes the likelihood of converting the lead to drop by 800%.
If you want to achieve high conversion rates, a 5 minute response time is good but it is not an adequate goal. You should be working towards responding to leads in just under 60 seconds. Every minute you wait to make the first call, the chances of you ever converting prospect begin to diminish. This really is about seconds, not just minutes. The seconds and minutes it takes for you to respond seriously matter.
While calling within a minute doesn’t guarantee you will make contact, our data at Speak2Leads has consistently shown us that calling a prospect within a minute does drastically increase contact rates and improve conversion rates Although the improved contact rate is certainly not the only factor that accounts for higher conversion rates.
From our experience, we believe it is likely that a fast response builds confidence, trust and rapport with the buyer, improving the chances of conversion. This increase in conversions is also bolstered by statistics that show that prospects who ultimately buy, do so with the first company they speak to more often than not. In some industries, from our data, this happens 78% of the time.
In the real world, not every business has enough sales representatives to respond quickly. They might have more leads and opportunities than their representatives can handle. From crafting proposals to managing existing customers, many sales representatives working for small businesses are given workloads that extend beyond closing leads. This is far from ideal.
#5 How do you respond to an online lead?
Without a conversation, a sales person cannot sell. Step 1 in sales is to increase the number of conversations you have with your new inbound web form leads.
To do this you need a system. The more automated the better. This system could come in the form of a playbook, process, or simply put, checklist. This can help you increase the number of leads you speak to. There are the five things to consider when planning your sales cadence:
- TOUCH POINTS: Total number of touch points
- CHANNELS: Types of communication channels
- DURATION: How much time/days between first and last attempt
- INTERVALS: Time intervals between each touch point
- MESSAGING: Content of your messages
The number you need depends on the type of service or product you you provide. A moving company serving a local metro market may only need 3 touch points. Given the fact they are buying shared leads and the first company to speak to the lead in this case has a huge advantage.
By the same token leads for high ticket items ($35K+) usually have a longer sales cycle and the sense of urgency may not be as great, therefore using a higher number of touch points over a longer period may be appropriate and effective.
In most use We suggest about 10 touch points to maximize your connections with your inbound leads. Six of those are phone calls and the remainder are a combination of voicemails, emails and perhaps text messages if appropriate.
You can think of this as delivery channel and media type. There are primarily 6 types you can use to respond to an inbound lead in just about any combination. Phone Calls, Voicemail, Texting, Email, Video, Social Media, and Direct Mail/Overnight Delivery.
The channels you choose will depend on your customer type i.e., Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C). Social media like LinkedIn for example may not be useful when communicating with a consumer lead. Whereas with a business lead it could prove very effective.
No matter what combination you use, phone calls should be part of every response because speaking to your leads is the objective and the various channels you may use in between your call attempts are intended to increase your call connection rates.
Using a combination of of communication methods is always more effective than using just one. Using 3 channels versus 1 results in 165% higher contact rates according to a study by Xant, Inc. Surprisingly, most businesses today only use email.
It is not necessarily a bad thing to have a long cadence of communication with inbound leads but it is generally not going to increase your contact rate effective if your cadence is longer than 10 days.
The time between each method of communication or channel you use are your intervals. Most sales reps are concerned about being too aggressive and tend to space their communication too far apart. The longest you should go between any type of communication during your cadence should be 2 days. Some cadences can be only 10 minutes apart, for example an immediate phone call, then if not contact, an email 10 minutes later followed by another phone call 10 minutes after that. Shorter intervals work best at the beginning of your sequence and then the spacing increases over time.
We are not referring to what you say when you make contact with a lead, we are addressing your messaging within your channels of communication. Emails, voice mails, videos etc.
The more personable you can make your content, the better. Shorter messages tend to work better than longer. Especially in emails and voice mails. Repeat the person’s name 2 times in your messages.
Emails should not sell but instead educate and inform and offer social proof from current customers (the more relevant the better) to help bolster confidence.
And in spite of what most people perceive, yes, a significant number of leads do listen to voice messages. But remove the small talk and get to the point. Don’t start the message with your name and company. Start with their name, “Hi Charlie, thanks for your inquiry about product/service…”.
Mention the email you sent or will send. Tell them why you are calling the benefit and what you want next, i.e., and appointment, a demo or best person to talk to, etc. At the end of the message repeat your name and phone number 2 times to help them remember if necessary.
It’s not necessary to leave a phone number at all if you know you are calling a cell phone. Just tell them to call you back when they have a minute. And don’t forget to smile, they can hear that too.
Keep in mind the the reason to leave a voice mail is not only to get a return call but also to help nurture the prospect and move the sale forward. It’s one more touch point and a way to stay top of mind and increase the possibility of contacting the lead.
If you need help figuring out how to set up your lead response sequence or playbook, feel free to reach out to us. We can help you devise an automated cadence and show you how to measure the results and make improvements based on what the data tells you.
You love new inbound form leads but hate to lose revenue opportunities due to sluggish rep response. Our lead response software makes it fast and easy to speak to more leads and close more sales.