The Three Critical Metrics for Lead Response

Keep Total Lead Qualification Time Low to Maximize Results

We’ve discussed how low lead response times affect the likelihood of being able to eventually qualify leads, and then close sales. However, when looking at the big picture, there are three critical metrics we must track. Each one impacts the other two.

Lead Response Time

The first critical metric is lead response time. This is the length of time, hopefully measured in minutes, between when a prospect clicks submit on your inquiry form to when you, as the salesperson, react to it. Though the method of contact may vary from industry to industry, the default means of contact is the telephone.

Though email is faster, it’s also less personal and easier to ignore. And a mailing may be helpful, but the time it takes your prospect to receive it reduces their interest to next to worthless. Therefore, unless you have data to the contrary for your specific industry, or if the prospect specifically requests an alternate means of contact, always use the telephone.

How long does it take from when the prospect submits information to when you make the first call attempt? Note, this is not the time from when you receive a request until you act on it. No, this is from when the prospect clicks the submit key until you make your first call attempt. The time spent processing the request matters to your prospect. If it takes an average of ten minutes to process the request, then you’re already ten minutes late when you receive the lead information.

Lead Contact Time

Just because you dialed their number, doesn’t mean you contacted the prospect. Lead contact time is our second key metric. It might be one call, two calls, or three calls, even up to a dozen or more. Keep reaching out until you make contact.

And if you don’t reach the prospect, always leave a message. But this message shouldn’t ask them to call you. Because they won’t. Instead, leave your company name, your name, and that you’re responding to their inquiry. Tell them you’ll call back. If possible state when. Then do it. The clock is ticking. It’s crucial for you to make first contact as quickly as possible after the lead comes in.

Leaving a message on every call will pay off later. The more messages you leave, the more likely the prospect will connect your name with their inquiry. And the more likely you’ll eventually make contact. Some prospects will even subconsciously give you credit for your tenacity.

Lead Qualification Time

These two metrics prepare the way for the third all-critical one: lead qualification time. Lead qualification time is the time between first contact and qualifying the prospect as a viable candidate. You may think that because you’ve now made contact, there’s no rush to qualify them. But there is. The longer it takes to qualify them, the less likely you ever will. Therefore, lead qualification time is critical. Strive to make it happen quickly.

Total Lead Qualification Time

Now add up these three metrics: lead response time, lead contact time, and lead qualification time. The sum is overall lead qualification time. This measures the total time from when the prospect submits their request to when you confirm they’re a viable prospect. Statistically, the lower the time, the more likely you will one day close the sale.

The first moments after a prospect submits information is critical to overall sales success. You must call back quickly, persist until you connect, and strive to qualify them as fast as possible. The result is increased sales for your company and more commissions for you.

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 or 800-901-7706.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.