Calling a potential lead within 5 minutes of an inquiry (or them handing over an email or phone number through a landing page) increases the chance of successful contact 100 times. This lead is 22 times more likely to enter the sales pipeline, according to the Lead Response Management Study.
How to make a good lead go bad?
That isn’t the opening line of a Rihanna inspired sales joke. Good leads go bad when sales teams take too long to respond.
Faster Response Times: Warmer Leads
Online sales leads have a short shelf life. As anyone who has worked with an inbound pipeline knows, getting an email address and phone number is only part of the battle. Getting past gatekeepers and having a meaningful conversation with a decision maker is crucial for qualifying a lead.
Harvard Business Review (HBR) studied 1.25 million inbound sales leads received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in America. From that data, HBR found that those who called a lead within an hour were “seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.”
Why is time such a crucial factor? Not so long ago, leads would wait days for a call. Now several hours is a potential deal breaker. We have the Internet to blame. Consumers and decision makers want instant gratification. They have done their homework. Effectively, they have already ‘pre-qualified’ themselves, researching solutions, reading reviews, reading articles, assessing the options. When leads make contact, they are, in many respects, asking for you to validate their opinion that your company can solve their particular problem.
Deals move at different speeds in different sectors. In healthcare, where deal sizes are large and go through multiple stages, the average response time is 2 hours 5 minutes. In telecoms, 16 minutes is the average response time. So factor that in, but remember that those who respond quickly have the upper hand. Screen Sharing gives an extra edge to that as it adds visuals to purely verbal communications.
How to Increase Your Sales Qualifying Rates
• Directly connect marketing and sales. Emails and phone numbers that sit in a CRM are useless. Handing them over to the sales week once a week serves no purpose, as we see from the data. Instead, make sure your marketing funnel feeds directly into the sales pipeline in real-time.
• Train your team to sell. Part of this problem is that sales agents can’t always pick up the phone in 5 minutes. They could be in a sales meeting. Making a sale. Business owners could also be busy. And yet, the clock is ticking. Ensure someone - anyone who is in the office with access to a phone - can pick it up and qualify new leads, straight away.
• Align marketing around optimal days/times. According to Lead Response study data, Wednesday and Thursday, morning (8-9am) and afternoon (4-5pm) are the best days to pick up the phone and qualify a lead. Remember that, when planning the days/times to launch outbound marketing, email and advertising campaigns.
Time and speed matters. Providing you have effective processes and team members to deliver the results, you can increase lead qualifying rates 100 times, with a few strategic changes.
Software sales demand instant communications
Last time we interviewed sales professionals and evaluated how a perfect sales conversation should look like. This time we wanted to learn what the industry thinks of the issue of immediate gratification in modern sales. It seems that everybody in the industry is trying to solve the same problem - maintaining the attention of the ever-distracted buyer. You know our take on that (instant demos) but have a look at what our peers have to say:
Sujan Patel, CEO at Webprofits
“The average human has an attention span of between six and eight seconds. That’s less than that of a goldfish. Your call-to-action really needs to stand out to get the attention of your visitors. If the content targets visitors at the „awareness” stage, your primary goal is (probably) to ensure that the visitor remembers you. You wouldn’t ask a visitor at this point to buy something.”
Heather R Morgan, CEO at SalesFolk
“The salespeople who make solving their customers’ problems their mission are always the most successful. Similarly, companies who strive to add value to their prospective customers throughout the sales cycle tend to generate more leads, see shorter sales cycles, have higher close rates, and have customers with greater LTV. This ‘value-driven approach’ also helps you win in the long-run, since not everyone you have a sales conversation with is ready to buy, but when they are, they’ll remember the value you added, and that sense of reciprocity will bring them back to you when they’re ready to do business.”
Cory Bray, CEO at Careersofia
“Today’s prospects demand instant, personalized action. If inbound leads aren’t followed up with immediately, you’ll lose them. If you don’t discover serious pain in the first 5 minutes of a call, you’ll lose them. If a demo isn’t highly-relevant, they’re gone. Your competitors are offering highly-relevant solutions to solve their immediate throbbing pain…are you?”
Conor Lee, CEO at Hiplead
“Treat replies from outbound like inbound leads: call them within 5 minutes. Just because someone is interested now doesn’t mean they’ll be interested an hour from now. They might get hit with emergencies and decide that your call isn’t urgent. Or they might just forget about you. So be sure to call as soon as possible, while they still remember what you wrote.”
Brandon Bornancin, CEO at Webprofits
“Social listening is a great way to maximize your social selling success and by listening for strategic keywords that are used by your audience across the socialsphere, you will be able to identify new hot opportunities right at the time your audience is looking to purchase. AI can help leverage these opportunities through automated, relevant and instant social pitches.”
Justyna Polaczyk, Content Writer at LiveChat
“Typically our users request a chat within the first minute of their browsing session. I can’t imagine driving traffic to the site and not having an instant communication channel available for them!”