Tips & Insights

Guide to Lead Response Management: Definition, Benefits and Tips

Imagine walking into a store, asking for help to buy a product you desperately need, just to find out there’s no one there to help you and being told you have to come back another day. That’s not good, right?

Well, that’s what’s probably happening right now with your online business. If your team is not able to help customers right when they need it, you’re losing sales to competitors.

The problem is widespread: statistics show that 53% of B2B companies spend more than half their marketing budget on lead generation. But what’s the point of spending so much money on generating leads if you’re letting most of them get cold with slow responses?

Thankfully, the solution is simple: you just need to respond as quickly as possible.

But... how can you make sure your team achieves that?

In this guide you’ll learn how a Lead Response Management Tool like Email Meter can raise the bar on what your sales team can achieve.

Quick responses = more deals closed

Multiple studies show correlation between faster response times and a higher rate of closed sales. An answer to a potential customer could lead to a sale if it arrives within 30 minutes, but if it arrives two days later that customer would have probably moved on.

According to a study on Lead Response Management published by Dr. James Oldroyd, sales people don't have long to contact a lead before it gets “cold". This research found that the odds of a lead entering the sales process are 21 times lower when replied to in 30 minutes versus 5 minutes after the lead arrives.

Imagine the impact that multiplying sales by 21 times could have on your company, just by answering faster.

A different study conducted by shows that 35–50% of sales go to the company who answers first. When a customer is looking for a solution and contacts you, you can bet they'll also be contacting your competitors. Responding quickly will leave a great impression, putting you in the best place to convert them to customers.

We can draw two important conclusions from this: you need to be the first to answer, and you need to answer quickly. That’s two simple things you can do to improve your sales process right away.

If your competitor’s lead response time is 3 hours, and your reps are able to contact them within 5 minutes, you will have the opportunity to move buyers further down your sales pipeline before your competition even contacts them.

Okay, but how much money am I missing out on?

We’ve seen the proof of how important answering quickly is, now let’s do some quick math and figure out exactly how much more money you could be making.

For this example we’ll use a fictional company named ACME and the findings from the previous studies as a reference.

ACME’s conversion rates look like this:

  • Average Deal Lifetime Value: $5,000
  • Lead to Demo Ratio: 15%
  • Demo to Closed Deal Ratio: 30%
  • Leads answered in less than 30 minutes: 50%

In this particular example, the value of a inbound lead for ACME is $5,000*0.15*0.30 = 225$ (the average value of a deal * how many leads move into the demo stage * how many demo’s lead to a closed deal = how much a lead is worth).

The problem is that the Inbound Lead to Demo Ratio is based on the entire set of inbound leads, including those that are instantly lost because of a slow response. So poor lead response time numbers mean that the “actual” value of a lead is much lower.

As we’ve learnt, most leads go cold if your company answers them after 30 minutes. As ACME only answers to 50% of leads under that mark, the real value of a lead for them is reduced to $112.5.

Investing in improving your team’s lead response time can generate a big return in revenue. Using the numbers of the example above, for every 100 leads ACME could be generating an extra 11,500$. Just by replying quicker!

We’ve prepared a simple spreadsheet so you can calculate how much money you’re missing out on using your own company data. You can find it here.

The importance of lead response times

After seeing the numbers, you know getting back to leads as quickly as possible should be a top priority for your sales team. But... are you confident that your team is answering on time?

Think twice. Multiple studies show that most companies are not answering nearly fast enough. Let’s take a look at the data:

A lead response time study of 2,241 US companies found that:

  • The average lead response time of B2B companies was 42 hours
  • Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour
  • 16% of companies responded within 1 to 24 hours
  • 23% of the companies never responded at all
Graphic showing the Average Lead Response Time for 2,241 US companies, using data from Harvard Business Review

As we can see, the standard for lead response time is surprisingly low.

But for you, this is great news! Companies who are willing to improve their response times are in a great position to close deals before their competition even answers.

How can you improve your Lead Response Management?

There is a simple solution to this problem — and it starts with taking a closer look at your sales team’s performance metrics.

A Lead Response Management Tool like Email Meter can help you monitor your team’s KPIs, spot bottlenecks, and bring your sales game to the next level.

Measure and improve your team’s response times

Do you know what your team’s lead response time is? Most sales managers hope it's quick, without ever actually measuring it. Not because they don't care about knowing, but simply because they don't know how to find out.

Screenshot of our Lead Response Management Software, showing different response time metrics

A tool like Email Meter gives you clear metrics on your sales team’s response times, including average lead response time, first reply time and much more. When you know how your team is doing, you can set goals and make faster responses an expectation for everyone.

Make sure you’re properly staffed

No matter how amazing your team is, if there is a mountain of leads coming in and only a limited number of people on hand to deal with them, replying quickly will be impossible. It’s not always a case of hiring more people, but also by ensuring you’re maximizing coverage during busy times.

Screenshot of Email Meter, showing a heatmap of the times where an user sends and receives more emails

Email Meter gives you an easy-to-understand heatmap to see when your team sends and receives more messages, day-by-day and hour-by-hour. If you discover you’re receiving lots of leads in the middle of the night, you can use that information to hire sales reps in different time zones or redistribute your team’s current schedule.

Monitor individual and team productivity

Having a good idea of how your team is doing across the board can help you see where you need to devote more time and where you should be rewarding hard work.

Screenshot of Email Meter, showing the Team View where users can view different metrics of individuals from their organization

Email Meter allows managers to measure both team and individual rep performance, tracking metrics like lead response time, workload, thread length and more. These insights help you see who’s excelling at their job, and who might need a little extra help.

Understand how conversations are handled

While a quick first response is key to close leads, you also want to make sure your reps are persistent enough to qualify leads. Do you know if they’re following up just once and then giving up?

Screenshot of Email Meter, showing graphics and metrics of Average Thread Length and Thread Length Distribution

With Email Meter you can dig deeper into conversations to understand how they are being handled. If you see a lot of really short threads, your agents might need a bit of encouragement to make sure they’re following up appropriately.

Don’t let anything slip through the cracks

If you’re feeling flooded with sales emails… well, congratulations! But chances are that some of them might slip through the cracks.

Screenshot of Email Meter, showing graphics and metrics for the Response Rate (how many emails were replied?)

Using Email Meter you can quickly check how many emails are still unopened and unanswered in your team’s inboxes. You can use our advanced filters to quickly find those emails which might have slipped through and make sure they’re answered as soon as possible.

Driving sales with Email Meter

If you want to maximize how many leads your team can convert to sales, we’re here to help! I recommend Email Meter, not only because it’s our own software, but because it’s one of the most reliable and affordable tools on the market. And that’s not only my opinion, but also that of thousands of leading companies around the world such as Uber, Netflix and Logitech.

Even if you’re already using a CRM, Email Meter integrates with your current setup to bring you the insights you need to handle leads efficiently and maximize revenue.

In this always-connected world, sales teams need adequate tools and processes to meet the demands of customers. Getting a clear understanding of your sales team’s performance is worth the time and money invested. It’s the only way to identify pain points, optimize your workflow on an individual and team level and make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

The more you empower your sales team with the best tools, the easier it will be for everyone to succeed. With the right lead response management system, your team can go above and beyond to generate revenue for your business.

So, are you looking to measure your sales team’s efficiency?

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