What is the ideal response time for an inbound lead?

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If you haven't figured it out by now, Illumine8 Marketing & PR is a big advocate of what is referred to as inbound marketing, in fact it's one of our specialties.

Inbound marketing strategies focus on offering quality content at the right time, in the right place, and in the right format to attract people to your company based on their individual needs and interests.

But what if your inbound marketing efforts are a success and a potential lead visits your website?

What is the ideal response time for an inbound lead? Read on to find out.

Inbound Marketing Needs Inbound Sales

An inbound marketing approach needs a well-defined inbound sales process to succeed.

Inbound leads will be visiting your website and consuming your content, indicating that they have some level of interest in what you have to offer.

So, once a lead is viewing your web site and showing interest, how and when should you connect with these inbound leads?

Think for a moment, have you ever gone into a "big box" retail store thinking that they must have that little doohickey thing you need to fix your lawnmower?

However, you didn't make a purchase because no one helped you find it or re-assured you it was in fact what you need. Sound familiar?

Try thinking about your company's website as a physical storefront and greet/engage people as quickly as possible. Don't be like many of the big box retailers who ignore their customers and let them wander around aimlessly.

If you let them wander too long you'll lose money and credibility.

The Hard Facts

A study by the Harvard Business Review reveals the following about response time and the impact it has on qualifying leads:

  • Only about 26% of companies respond to inbound leads in 5 minutes or less.
  • The average response time of companies researched was 42 hours.
  • You are 21 x more likely to qualify a lead when called in 5 minutes compared to 30 minutes.
  • You are 4 x more likely to qualify a lead when called in 5 minutes compared to 10 minutes.

Respond in 5 Minutes or Less

As you can see, the research proves that organizations that are able to respond in 5 minutes or less have a significant advantage when attempting to qualify leads. So having a process that will allow your sales team to consistently respond to inbound leads in 5 minutes is a good thing.

Now we'll share a simple guide that will help you develop your own process to tackle this quick-response challenge.

  • Establish a SMART goal to go after. Example: By January 2017, 80% of inbound leads need to be called within 5 minutes of a website visit.
  • Develop a repeatable process to follow for inbound lead responses: 
    • Lead notification alert is sent.
    • Lead is assigned to sales rep.
    • Sales rep researches lead online.
    • Sales rep calls the lead within 5 minutes.
    • Sales rep takes notes during call.
    • Sales rep qualifies lead.
    • Sales rep schedules follow up meeting if qualified.
  • Once you have created a process, you should evaluate your technology tools to make sure your team has what they need to win.
    • Consider if your current technology either enables or hinders your team's ability to achieve their goal and ask your team for their input.
    • Five minutes is not a lot of time and the research step alone can take more than 5 minutes. In reality, research should be the only task your sales team needs to do before calling the inbound lead.
  • If you want your sales reps to crush their response time goal, they will need help to be as efficient as possible. We have had great results using HubSpot's marketing, sales, and CRM software stack because it's a single unified platform that either automates and streamlines numerous tasks and processes that will help save sales reps considerable time.

If you have defined your goal, established a process, and are confident the technology you have sets the sales team up for success, then it's time to put everything into action.

Your team will see immediate benefits once they start connecting with leads within 5 minutes.

Leads will be pleasantly surprised by your quick response, especially when you personalize the call based on the information you've captured.

By responding within 5 minutes you will qualify your leads faster, increase your revenue stream and shorten your sales cycle.

Did you notice how these benefits all impact your bottom line?

If you would like to learn more about inbound sales and marketing, please reach out to us- we're here to help.

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