Why Lead Response Time Does NOT Matter
Marketers and sales teams will often say that how quickly you respond to web leads will determine the success of your lead generation campaign.
Businesses will say that quick lead response times can either “make or break” a marketing campaign.
But what if I was to tell you lead response time might not even matter?
… Instead of YOU (or your sales team) chasing leads, leads are chasing to work with YOU?
And what if instead of you following up with leads to get an appointment, leads have already booked an appointment straight in your calendar?
If you did all this, would the lead response time really matter?
Because leads will…
- Be excited and eager to speak to you
- Have already booked a day and time to speak to you
- Be pre-qualified and a good fit for your business
In other words, you will no longer need to keep chasing leads via text and phone calls just to speak to them.
But the big question is…
How can you get leads chasing you?
How to do this in more detail can be found in step 2 of my free training on how to get 10, 15, 30 or more high quality appointments each month with your ideal clients.
I recommend watching the free training first if you want a deep dive and real-life examples of how it all works.
Otherwise, keep reading for an overview of how this (new) strategy works…
Table of contents
- The old way of generating leads
- The new way of generating leads
- How can you get leads chasing you?
- How to reduce lead response times
- Split test an online calendar rather than a contact form
- Use a lead qualification application form
- Automate everything
- What happens if a lead does not convert straight away?
- So, does lead response time matter?
The old way of generating leads
The reason lead response time is so important to sales reps is because they are generating sales leads with a form fill.
A form fill to generate a sales lead is what I would call “the old way of generating leads”.
Sure, it can work. But there are better ways.
What is a form fill?
A form fill is when someone fills in a form requesting more information about your services. Typically they will give you their name, email, phone number and additional pre-qualifying information.
This is also known as an opt-in form.
You can have many different types of opt-in forms for different reasons.
Some of the most popular reasons to have an opt-in form include:
- Watch a free video
- Sign up for a webinar
- Download an ebook
- Request more information
- Request a callback
- Get a quote
Here’s an example of an online form form:
Many marketers will call these types of leads an “inquiry”. But I would call it a “lead”. An “inquiry” I would classify as a lead who is excited to definitely speak to you. And someone who just fills in a form online, in most cases, are not the best kind of leads.
An appointment in your calendar with someone excited to work to you is what I would classify as an “inquiry” and the BEST kind of lead.
Why is lead response time is important for lead forms?
If you generate a sales lead by having a prospect fill out an online form, it is absolutely critical that you follow up with them as fast as possible.
Because if you don’t, they will most likely forget that they filled in the form. The longer you wait before contacting them, the more likely that they will no longer be interested in what you do.
So it’s critical you follow up with your leads quickly!
If you CAN do this, great!
But the problem is… Most sales teams and small business owners struggle to respond to leads as fast as they should.
Average lead response time for small business owners
Unless you have a dedicated sales team with a highly efficient sales process, the average lead response time for many small business owners can range anywhere from an hour to 24 hours… or sometimes even more!
A slow lead response time will cause you to lose out on many converting leads.
Poor lead quality
Even if a sales rep or business owner DOES manage to get in contact with the lead quickly (within the first 5 minutes of a lead filling in a form), often they find the lead is only “somewhat interested”.
Many sales teams & business owners have reported that reaching out to leads who fill out an online form are:
- Shopping around for the best price
- Not sure if they want to work with you
- Sometimes can’t even remember who you are (since they contacted multiple companies)
- Or worse… They get no response from the lead
If you generate web leads through an online form, chances are you have experienced one or more of these types of problems.
The new way of generating leads
A new, better and more effective way to generate leads without needing to worry about the lead response time is for sales reps to ONLY speak to leads who definitely want to work with YOU.
By doing this you will:
- Not waste time (sales reps will only speak to people interested in your services)
- Have better quality prospects (because you only speak to qualified leads)
- More successful contact with the lead (since they actually WANT to speak to you)
In other words, instead of YOU chasing leads, the leads will be chasing YOU.
With some marketers, this type of lead can also be known as an inbound lead. In other words, it’s a lead that is reaching out to work with you because of helpful educational content that you’ve created.
How can you get leads chasing you?
To get leads chasing you, you need to build up enough value so that prospects understand:
- What are some alternative solutions to their problem
- Why your solution is better than those alternative solutions
If you can communicate these two points two leads in an effective way, then leads will WANT to work with you rather than anyone else.
This will greatly increase your chances of converting leads into clients.
How to reduce lead response times
To reduce lead response times, you need a way to prioritize the leads you speak to. Instead of speaking to everyone, it would be better only to speak to leads definitely want to work with you.
To do this, you can use a video sales letter to effectively communicate how you help leads convert into clients.
A video sales letter will allow you explain how you solve a problem for potential clients and why your solution is much better than other alternative solutions.
After prospects watch this video sales letter, give them the opportunity to click on a button below to speak to you.
To think about: If a lead sees an ad online and fills in a form to learn more, how likely are they to WANT to work with you? But if a lead watches a video presentation about how you can help them and then reaches out to work with you, don’t you think the lead will be much more qualified?
To see real-life example of what my video presentation looks like and how I use it for my lead generation business click here.
Split test an online calendar rather than a contact form
Another way to reduce the lead response time is to get leads to actually have meetings scheduled with you directly in your calendar.
If leads book a call with you in your calendar, then the lead response time won’t matter.
Because they have already agreed to speak to you at a specific day and time.
So you or an assigned sales rep no longer needs to worry about having a slow response time when reaching out to leads.
Tip: Even if you have a sales team, you can still use an online calendar scheduling tool. Most online scheduling tools allow you to share appointments with various sales reps. The calender scheduling tool I use is Calendly.
Use a lead qualification application form
Just because a lead schedules a call directly in your calendar, doesn’t mean you still can’t use an application form.
You can still use an application form (either before or after someone schedules a call with you in your calendar) to increase the show up rate for the leads you speak to.
An application form also allows you pre-qualify leads before you speak to them.
See also: How to create a successful lead generation campaign
For best results you need to automate every step in your sales funnel. tThis includes automating your:
- Follow up emails
- Forms and thank you pages
- Calendar confirmations
- And so on…
What happens if a lead does not convert straight away?
Even after speaking to a lead, some might not convert straight away. This does NOT mean the lead will not convert eventually. It just means that now might not be the right time for them.
The best way to get leads to convert is to have a weekly follow up email automation campaign. You can create an automation campaign using automation tools including an automated sales crm.
For generating warm leads, I recommend the Kartra automation tool. But many other tools are also good and can do something similar. The main reason I like using Kartra is because it is an all-in-one automation tool and it can handle a lot of the different parts of digital marketing
This is an email marketing campaign which follows up with leads each week with helpful content until they convert.
What is a good lead response time?
A good lead response time is less than one hour. Within 5 minutes would be even better. In general, the quicker you respond to leads, the more likely they will convert into clients.
However, a better strategy is to not even need to rely on a lead response time. You can do this by tweaking your sales funnel so that you only speak to leads who are definitely interested in working with you.
How do you respond to leads?
The most effect way to respond to leads is through text message. Next would be through email. And finally a phone call would be last. The reason phone call is last is because most people would prefer a text message first to arrange the best time to call.
Also depending on what kind of service you offer, some people might even prefer to communicate through text or email first until they are 100% sure they want to work with you.
Why is lead response time important?
A lead response time is important because it directly affects your conversion rate
How do you calculate lead response time?
To measure the lead response time, you need to calculate the time it takes for sales representatives to respond to a lead from the moment the lead is first generated. The first hour of a lead is usually the most important time period for getting leads to convert into potential customers.
What is a good lead capture rate?
It depends at which stage you are tracking the conversion rate. A typically good conversion rate from an opt-in landing page to a lead would be about 10-20%. However, this can differ from industry to industry.
What is lead follow up?
Lead follow up is what you follow up with leads multiple times through multiple channels, including email, text and phone calls.
What is average response time?
According to a Harvard business review study, 37% of businesses would contact leads within an hour, but 23% of businesses never even responded at all. The average response time was 42 hours.
Leads vs Inquiry: What’s the difference?
A lead is someone who fills out an online form to learn more about your services. At this point, they may or may not want to speak to you. An inquiry is a prospect who actually does want to speak to you to learn more about your services.
So, does lead response time matter?
If you’re generating leads using an online form fill only, then the lead response time does matter. However, if you’re generating leads by getting booked pre-qualified sales appointments in your calendar, the lead response time does not matter.
Because the lead has already scheduled a call in your calendar and is expecting your phone call. This means you have a much higher quality warm leads, rather than a low quality cold lead (that isn’t even sure if they definitely want to speak to you or if they’re even the right fit).
See this video to learn more about how to get higher quality leads and appointments in your business.
Ashley Davis (or ‘Ash’ for short) is the CEO & Founder of Skyline Social. For over 15 years, he has been helping business owners with lead generation. Ash specializes in helping businesses get high-quality leads, appointments and clients each month in an automated, scalable and profitable way. You can watch his free Masterclass training to learn more.