A common complaint among salespeople is not having enough quality leads. They might wish they had more leads or have higher quality leads or both. However, the problem might not be with the inquiries but with how the salesperson handles them.
Yes, the way a salesperson responds to a lead affects the value of the lead. It’s true. The longer a salesperson takes to respond to a sales inquiry, the less likely they’ll be to qualify the lead and turn it into a viable prospect. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll define qualifying the lead as having a meaningful conversation with a decision-maker who wants to move forward. Salespeople who wait too long, lose out.
Quite simply, most companies do not respond quick enough. This means that their lack of timely action sabotages their marketing efforts. In our post “What is a Good Lead Response Time?” we identified that a ten-minute response is the sweet spot for optimal lead qualification rates. A twenty-four-hour response rate or even the same business day is too slow. Four hours is an improvement, and one hour is even better, but ten minutes is ideal.
Each minute of delay between when the prospect inquires and the salesperson responds increases the chance they’ll have forgotten about you and moved on to something else. The longer you wait, the less they’ll care. This makes your job as a salesperson all that much harder.
According to the Harvard Business Review, about one fourth of companies respond to leads within five minutes. This is encouraging. However, another quarter of companies take more than one day, and another fourth aren’t even sure how long it takes them to react to a sales inquiry. (The remaining responses ranged from five minutes to twenty-four hours, with most falling outside the ten-minute target response rate.)
While it’s affirming that one quarter of companies get it right, it’s disillusioning that most of them are far off the mark. No wonder most salespeople complain about low lead qualification rates. But it’s not marketing’s fault. It’s most likely the sales team’s lack of a timely response.
This report also identified that firms responding to a lead within one hour were seven times more likely to qualify the lead then those who waited two. Furthermore, they were sixty times more likely to qualify the lead than companies who took a day or more to respond.
If you’re in marketing, this should alarm you. A great marketing campaign can be sabotaged by salespeople who don’t respond to leads fast enough. And there’s little you can do to compensate for their delay.
But if you’re in sales this is good news. You can greatly increase your lead qualification rates—not by demanding more money be invested in marketing or calling for higher quality campaigns—but by responding quicker to leads that your company’s existing marketing efforts produce.
Maximize your lead qualification rates by responding quickly to inquiries. This gives you the best chance to close more sales and receive the full value of your company’s marketing campaigns.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry, which helps clients improve the effectiveness of their communications and grow their business. Contact Janet at email@example.com or 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.