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How To Reduce Lead Response Time To Increase Sales And Customer Satisfaction

Have you ever stopped to think that customer response time can be decisive when winning or losing a deal?

Giving due attention to requests is paramount to providing exceptional service and building a solid relationship with your customer.

Responding quickly and nimbly still contributes to creating a strong brand perception .

In this way, when the lead is going to make the purchase decision, it is quite possible that he will remember your brand and not the competitor's brand - precisely because of this bridge of communication and proximity in quick responses.

The team's focus always ends up being the growth of the sales funnel.

Have you acquired enough customers this month?

What are your projections for the next month?

Are your leads getting enough publicity?

Your KPIs and end-of-month revenue often depend on the answers to these questions.

Unfortunately, companies often end up leaving lead response time aside, lost in the sea of ​​worries about future growth.

After all, the sales team is focused on building a healthy sales flow for the business, prioritizing the actual number of leads in the pipeline to generate end-of-month revenue.

However, lead response time is important if you want to focus on long-term growth .

The faster you respond to your leads, the more likely you are to drive them to the bottom of your sales funnel to finally drive conversion.

When it comes to lead response time, remember: time is money .

According to research , you are 21 times more likely to qualify your lead with a quick response time than waiting longer than 30 minutes.

The time window is short, and if you wait too long, you could end up losing a sale.

What is lead response time?

The lead response time metric is the average time it takes a salesperson to respond to and follow up on a customer contact made through service channels.

It can be, for example, a call, an email, a message through social networks or even filling out a form or even downloading content.

It is through these actions that it is possible to recognize that the user is interested in the product or service and that he or she can be qualified as a lead ready to be guided to the next stages of the sales funnel .

This metric can become more realistic if you segment leads by source.

In addition, you can score those who performed a high-value action.

For example, a lead who requested a demo is potentially more important to follow up than someone who signed up for your newsletter.

This score will help to qualify leads and prioritize those with the greatest potential.

Lead response time is also linked to customer satisfaction .

Because if the company takes too long to respond, the customer will feel like they haven't received proper attention, so they'll be frustrated and unhappy.

In this way, companies that value an amazing experience for their customers should pay attention to the response time.

But responding quickly is not enough.

It is also necessary to respond with quality , offering useful answers that will solve the customer's doubts and help them advance in the sales funnel.

Is response time the same as SLA?

Customer service SLA is widely used in technology and service companies.

Response time is directly connected to the SLA but they are not exactly the same.

SLA stands for Service Level Agreement (or Service Level Agreement, in Portuguese) and can be understood as an agreement between customer and supplier that ensures the quality of services provided in accordance with the initial demand of the company that hired the services.

The purpose of this agreement is to guarantee that the customer will receive the contracted solution with the quality, deadline and specifications previously agreed upon.

The SLA can be designed in two ways: customer-focused or service-focused.

That is, one can refer to the company's availability to keep itself running and the other refers to communication with the customer (support).

When we talk about service SLA , it is intrinsic that the SLA has its response time.

Recording on paper that your company has the technology available may not be enough.

This really should be part of the company culture.

The response time can also be part of the company's culture, representing a competitive differentiator.

For example, many companies tend to close contracts faster because they send quotes within minutes – not days like other competing companies.

This type of action must also be considered within the response time.

A customer service SLA can be decisive for attracting and retaining customers, but only if it is well structured.

When you create an SLA, remember to make all the terms clear, in addition to describing the channels of communication with the customer.

In addition, it is important to set a time limit for service and define key metrics to track performance.

How important is response time? 11 Facts and statistics

If you still have any doubts about the importance of response time, let's see facts and statistics that prove the magnitude of this metric within the business.

According to recent research :

  • 50% of leads will choose the organization that responded first.
  • A 1 minute response time can drive 391% more conversions;
  • 82% of consumers expect to receive responses within 10 minutes;
  • 71% of customers made purchases due to the quality of the experience and service offered by the company;
  • With lengthy response times, companies experience a 15% increase in churn ;
  • After 5 minutes of no response, the chances of creating a connection with the customer and qualifying that lead drop by 80%;
  • 24% of companies take more than 1 day to respond to a new lead – and 23% never respond to contacts.
  • Companies that contact a lead within the first hour are 7x more likely to qualify the prospect than an organization that responds within two hours.
  • 30% of potential customers will go to a competitor if you don't respond quickly enough.

How to calculate the average response time?

Now that you understand what lead response time is and how important it is to the success of your business, we are going to teach you step-by-step how to calculate your company's average response time and how to develop a sales strategy around it. his.

You can split the formula into two steps:

New Lead Time and/or Date – Follow Up Response Time and/or Date = Response Time

*Sum of response time for all leads / Number of leads = Average response time *

Response time can be counted in minutes, hours or days depending on how fast you respond.

It is not complex to make this calculation, it is a simple average.

For example, let's imagine a scenario where your company receives 2 customer requests in one day.

One of them took you 4 hours to answer the other you managed to answer in 1 hour.

The calculation would then be:

Image description

Response Time = (4+1) / 2 = 2.5 hours
Applying this formula within your sales strategy gives your brand a better chance of converting new leads quickly.

If you plan to actively track lead response time, it is critical to also create a dashboard with these metrics, listing response time at each stage of the sales funnel.

As a starting point, establish a goal for this time that serves as a parameter for service professionals.

Also consider KPIs around lead response time.

What is the optimal response time?

How many times have you filled out a form and the confirmation response has been, β€œThanks! We will contact you soon."

What exactly does "soon" mean ?

By β€œturning away” leads immediately after they show interest, you are driving them to the competition.

The optimal response time for returning via phone calls is 5 minutes or less.

According to a lead response management study by InsideSales (now XANT), you are 10x more likely to engage buyers in those 5 minutes than if you let 10 minutes go by.

If the service is via email – a channel with lower conversion rates than phone calls, according to this study – the response speed should be even faster.

When leads sign up for a newsletter, for example, 74% of subscribers expect an automated welcome email.

A Harvard University study shows that, on average, B2B sales teams take 42 hours to respond to a new lead, and 38% of those leads never respond.

It usually takes 3 or 4 days of direct communication before the first meeting takes place.

That means the longer it takes you to respond, the less likely the lead is to respond.

The same study that was conducted by Harvard Business Review also notes that companies that respond within an hour are nearly 7x more likely to have meaningful interactions with decision makers.

If it takes too long, you may miss the chance to effectively sell to the right people.

However, the Harvard Business Review study noted that only 37% of companies responded right away.

Research conducted by the scholars at Ricochet360 found that the average response time for web leads is 17 hours.

Since most companies don't respond within the first hour (or even the first day), it's clear that most sales teams are leaving too many business opportunities behind.

As the internet continues to influence our way of life, customers can expect brands to move closer to instant answers across all channels.

An example of this can be service through WhatsApp , online chats and chatbots.

How to reduce response time?

Overall, lead response times vary by industry, organization size, and lead type.

For example, you should respond to high-quality leads first (the most qualified) and work your way through the queue from there.

After finding out what your company's average response time is, you might be wondering what is the best way to reduce time and optimize customer service.

We separate some practical tips for you to apply in your business:

1. Make the 5-minute rule part of your team's DNA

For a qualified lead to be approached quickly, your team needs to have all the gears very well aligned.

Set the 5-minute rule as a goal for your team's SDRs or salespeople, and enlist the support of the marketing team to fulfill that mission.

2. Use automations and chatbots

Technology is your friend when it comes to reducing lead response time.

Count on automations to automatically send and distribute leads to the commercial team – and create automated alerts to follow-up at the right time.

Leverage the power of chatbots and online chats to give an instant response when a qualified lead contacts you.

3. Develop a sales cadence

The lead will not always respond to your first contact attempt.

And even when you do respond, the sale won't always close at that initial moment.

For these reasons, it's important to design a sales cadence, so your salespeople know which channels to use, when to contact them, and how many attempts to make before discarding an opportunity.

4. Have a FAQ for frequently asked questions

It is very common for some leads to always repeat the same questions and this can end up taking up your salespeople's time during the negotiation.

Identify these frequently asked questions and make the answers available on the landing page where conversions happen.

It is also possible to create a playbook so that employees know what to respond promptly in each situation.

5. Build an omnichannel strategy

It could be that your sales funnel is receiving leads from different channels: websites, social networks, WhatsApp…

When thinking about lead response time, it is essential to build an omnichannel strategy, capable of serving all leads with the same agility and quality.

6. Promote constant training with the team

The areas of marketing, sales and service are extremely dynamic.

There is always new information to be passed on, a new channel to be explored, a new employee to be taught or a process update that needs to be aligned.

Therefore, teams depend on constant training to maintain excellent service.

7. Record and organize information

Regardless of the sales software or CRM that your company uses, using it to record information about each attempt to contact or interact with the lead is essential to ensure agility in the commercial process.

8. Create sales scripts to streamline communication

Sales scripts also help – a lot – to reduce lead response time.

When the salesperson already knows what the focus of the call will be, the approach used and arrives armed with information, the process gains a lot of speed.

9. Distribute leads automatically

This point is closely related to the 2nd topic we mentioned here, about automations.

Using criteria for filtering and automatic distribution of leads , you gain in agility and even reduce the chances of a lead ending up without contact due to human error.

10. Build a community around your brand

Recent research shows that 67% of questions about your product or service can be answered by your own customers.

Not to mention its potential as a branding resource, creating this space where customers and prospects can interact (like a forum or community) can help you respond more quickly to your leads' questions.

11. Establish service metrics

Finally: we know that everything that cannot be measured cannot be managed.

So establishing metrics and goals and service is paramount if you want to optimize lead response time to increase sales and customer satisfaction.

Key service metrics to adopt in your sales cycle

Additionally, there are important metrics for you to consider when working to reduce your sales team's response time.

You can start by considering these basic metrics:

  • Average time (minutes/hours/days) to respond to leads
  • Average number of interactions per lead (your team is unlikely to be able to contact the lead and close the sale on the first attempt)
  • Average number of interactions needed to convert a lead into a customer
  • Average sales cycle length (number of days/weeks/months)
  • Number of tests and meetings scheduled
  • Number of contact attempts
  • Sales Cycle Length
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Other slightly more in-depth metrics focused on customer service operations (SAC):

  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)
  • First Call Resolution (FCR)
  • Average Waiting Time (AMR)
  • abandonment rate

Conclusion

If you want to qualify and convert leads, you need to get in touch with them ASAP.

However, it is still important to remember that once the lead is in your pipeline, the war is not won.

You still need to nurture leads with the right content, messaging, and cadence to close the deal.

To start driving change in your internal process, first review your sales team's current practices.

How many leads does your team contact per day?

How long do they take to respond?

How many contacts does it take to qualify a lead and close a sale?

All these insights will give you an idea of ​​where you are currently and what are the main gaps in your organization that need to be addressed.

From there, you should consider investing in the right technology that will automate the process and ensure your sales team doesn't waste time trying to clear out their inbox.

Instead of creating more work for your team, choosing the right technology platforms has the power to quickly qualify and score leads , as well as distribute leads across the team and even respond to the lead in minutes.

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