min read

What is Lead Response Time?

The faster you respond, the better your chances of winning. Here's all you need to know to get started with speed to lead.

Sayani Deb
November 8, 2022
blog hero image
Table of Contents
Join the Buyer's Journey newsletter
Increase your pipeline conversions
Lets Talk

Believe it or not, lead response time can make or break a deal. When a company receives a new lead, time is the main essence. That means, it matters how fast you reach out to the lead after they show interest in your product or service.According to research, 88% of leads expect responses within 60 minutes of their query, and 30% want a response within 15 minutes.So, to stay ahead of the competition, companies must respond to their leads as fast as possible. In a nutshell, a fast response can make all the difference.Read on to get a deeper understanding of lead response time. By the end of this blog, you will know how speed to lead can turn into an asset, boosting your overall sales.

What is Lead Response Time?

Lead response time is the time taken by companies to reach out to the leads who have contacted the business via inbound or outbound channels. It is a metric that measures the lead follow-up time after the prospect has made a contact through an email, call, or web form.

What is an Ideal Lead Response Time?

The ideal lead response time or the golden window for lead follow-up is five minutes or less. 

Apart from the 5 minutes window, a Harvard study revealed that businesses responding to leads within one hour are 7 times more likely to have meaningful conversations. The chances of making a sale are higher. Meanwhile, companies that reach out any later may miss out on the chance to sell their product/ service effectively to the right people.

But guess what? We also did our own lead response times study to find out about the impact on demo requests. And the results are far from what an ideal buyer experience demands.

After testing 1000 B2B websites, we received 365 responses with a (massive) average response time of 1 day, 5 hours, and 17 minutes.

‍Here are some of our observations:

  1. Instantly responded: 172 companies
  2. Responded within an hour: 31 companies
  3. Responded within a day: 109 companies
  4. Responded within a week: 41 companies
  5. Responded only after a week: 12 companies

You can check out our entire report on lead response times with loaded GTM insights and B2B sales benchmarks.

Data from 1000 B2B companies that RevenueHero tested for the lead response times report.
Observations from RevenueHero’s lead response times report.

How to Calculate Lead Response Time?

The research revelations above clearly tell how important lead response time is for a company to boost lead conversions.Now, it is time to understand the calculation of lead response time. Once you know the calculation, you can create a sales strategy around it.To calculate the lead response time rate,

  • Consider the total amount of time between lead creation and your first response to the lead. Do the same for all leads assigned to a sales rep.
Time of new lead creation – lead follow-up time = Time-taken to respond
  • Divide the sum of the total time by the total number of leads to get the average lead response time.
Sum of time taken to respond for all leads/ Number of leads = Average lead response time.

Let’s consider an example for a better understanding. Say a sales rep responded to 3 leads on Wednesday. The following are the time taken by the sales rep to respond to each lead:

  • First lead = 2 minutes
  • Second lead = 9 minutes
  • Third lead = 7 minutes

So, the average lead response time for Wednesday would be;

Total time taken to respond to leads/ number of leads = [(2+9+7) minutes] / 3 = 6 minutes

Therefore, the average lead response time for Wednesday would be 6 minutes.Calculating lead response time is easier with lead distribution software. Check out the best lead distribution solutions worth investing in.

7 Important Lead Response Time Statistics to Consider in 2022

We believe in numbers. Hence, we have listed below a few lead response time stats that you must know about in 2022.

1. Businesses responding fast gain up to 50% of sales

The companies that make fast initial contact with the leads can close 35 to 50% of sales. So, ensure that your sales reps have sufficient resources to make the first contact as soon as possible.

2. Reaching out after 5 minutes drop conversion rates by 8 times

Responding to leads within the first five minutes shows an 8x jump in conversion rates.

first call response times

However, the 2021 Lead Response Research revealed that 57.1% of first call attempts to the lead occur after a week.Missing out the five-minute mark can cost you a lot of revenue. And if you do not contact the lead at all, 30% of the consumers are likely to switch to a competitor.

3. Responding to leads after 30 minutes is 21 times less effective

Your leads won’t be waiting for your call for 30 minutes. If you reach out within 5 minutes, you are more likely to close more sales. However, if you let 30 minutes or more elapse your chances of selling the product sink. Even after five minutes, leads are 10% less likely to respond.

4. Expect 391% more conversions for a one-minute response time

Aim for a one-minute lead response time if you are looking for a surefire way to get the best output. Research suggests that a one-minute lead response time can improve conversion rates by 391%. Whereas, if you are a minute late (that is, a two-minute response time) the conversion improvement rates come down to 160%.

5. Timing the calls right boosts conversions by 49%

To seal the deal, you must work on perfecting your timing. Speed to lead statistics reveal that by timing your phone call properly, you can get a 49% conversion gain. Calling too late or making too many calls may result in the lead moving to a different company.

6. The average B2B lead response time is 42 hours

It’s a shocker that the average first response time of B2B companies is 42 hours. The companies that take a day or more to respond to their leads literally lose hundreds (or thousands) of leads.Even waiting for 30 minutes to an hour makes a lead contact a competing brand. So, waiting for 42 hours pretty much leaves no hope for conversions.

7. Only 27% of leads ever get contacted

After knowing the average B2B lead response time, it should not come as a shock that only 27% of the leads get contacted at all. Speed to lead statistics suggest that due to slow lead response time, only 27% of the leads are reached out to by companies. However, if organizations take the right approach, they can contact around 92% of leads.

10 Tips to Improve Lead Response Time

The importance of speed to lead cannot be denied. So, we have compiled a list of tips to help you improve your lead response time.

1. Manage inbound leads better with sales CRMs

Sales CRM systems are beneficial to document the interactions between leads and sales reps. Sales acceleration platforms like RevenueHero can support your speed to lead by;Notifying sales reps at the right time to reach out to the leadsTracking the leads to identify the ones that still require the first responseScoring and prioritizing leads when the incoming volume is highSuch platforms can help you optimize the inbound lead response time.

2. Set benchmarks

To improve your speed to lead, you must get familiar with your benchmarks. Simply put, establish what a good lead response time is and what your goal should be.For instance, 41% of customers expect an email response from the company within 6 hours of sending it. But many organizations strive to respond to emails within 10 minutes.Setting goals helps the sales reps to achieve the benchmark. Though you should shoot for the lowest lead response time, the goals you set must be realistic. Try taking one step at a time. For example, if your current average speed to lead is one hour, setting a goal of 30 minutes would be more realistic than 5 minutes.

3. Get automation tools

In this fast-paced, competitive business environment, automation is a must. Though you cannot automate the sales call, you can send automated emails and texts to keep the communication flowing.Use automated emails, WhatsApp texts, or SMS to confirm the leads that you have received their message. Once you get the lead’s contact information, reach out immediately via calls or messages and tell them what they can expect next.For automation, AI chatbots can be helpful. They can respond to most of the standard queries instantly. Further, bots can also collect contact information by engaging leads in conversations. Moreover, they can also qualify leads by asking prospects ley questions.

4. Distribute leads properly

Most companies, nowadays, invest in good lead distribution software to automate lead distribution and make the process more efficient. However, you must ensure setting the right criteria for the lead assignment.For instance, your lead distribution software may assign leads in succession to each of the sales reps in the team, distributing the leads equally. If there are any inefficiencies in the system, it will disrupt the average lead response time. So, work on the flaws and streamline the best way you can.Choose the best-suited lead distribution criteria for your business. However, be it based on geography, sales reps’ skills, expertise, or any other factor, ensure an equal distribution to avoid overworking of sales reps.

5. Track speed to lead

To improve your lead response time, you must know your current position. We mean that you must track your speed to lead every day or at least weekly. Keep a record of your progress. This will ensure that you are at par with your ideal lead response time.Further, try to analyze the primary business metrics to find out how your lead response time affects the business functions. For instance, the lower the lead response time, the higher the conversions or sales.Also, track the individual performance of your sales reps. Keep an eye on their lead response time. This will help you identify the ones that require support and training to improve.

6. Offer live sales support

You can win over your leads with live sales support who can respond to any query within seconds.In case of scheduled appointments with a company, clients may be ready to fill out a web form and wait for their turn. But prospects with a time crunch often look for real-time live support when visiting company websites.Here are a few ways to offer live sales support.

  • Make yourself easily accessible by mentioning a contact number on the website
  • Offer an on-demand live video chat facility
  • Set up a standard live chat pop-up

You can pick any of the above options to take your customer service to the next level. However, the live video chat option works the best because prospects can get real-time face-to-face support. This can add a more human touch to your brand and improve your conversion rates.

7. Schedule your sales reps right using analytics

Scheduling the sales reps right is one of the secrets to boosting your conversion rates.To ensure faster lead response time, you must ensure that there are sufficient sales reps to attend to the leads. With the help of analytics, you can evaluate the lead generation data to find the best days to keep more sales reps handy.For instance, if you observe that most website leads come in on Wednesday afternoons, you can strengthen your sales support during that specific time.Further, hiring more sales reps can help you improve your speed to lead. You can specifically hire sales reps to improve the lead response time. They can be in charge of making the first response to leads as fast as possible.

8. Use more than one communication channel

Emails are hands-down the most effective and professional way to communicate to prospects. But to improve lead response time, it is necessary to use multiple communication channels.If you want to accelerate your lead response time, leverage the advantages of other communication channels.For instance, make it easy and convenient for leads to reach out to you via phone calls, live chats, SMS, WhatsApp, or social media. Also, you can respond to them via these channels for faster and more efficient communication.

9. Empower your sales reps

Your sales reps are the main characters of the entire improving speed to lead episode. So, you must empower and motivate them to perform better.Provide sales reps with the necessary tools and resources that can help them respond to leads faster. Further, you can free up their schedules and reduce other jobs to avoid burdening them.Also, you can give your sales reps the freedom to drop out of any administrative meetings if it collides with attending to a new prospect.

10. Build a collaborative environment

Foster a collaborative work culture within your organization. Ensure that all your sales reps work together and understand the value of teamwork.Provide your sales reps an environment where they are not shy about asking for favors or granting them. This will make it easier for your sales reps to help one another.For instance, if a lead requires an immediate response and the sales rep assigned to them is unavailable, the rep can forward the lead to another sales rep who can attend to them.

Make Speed to Lead a Priority to Level-up Sales

For better conversion rates and higher sales, improving the average lead response time is a must.However, making changes to the lead response strategy of a company can be quite challenging. So, take help from platforms like RevenueHero that can help you shoot up your sales.The platform ensures real-time lead routing. You can set up lead qualification workflows to assign the leads to the right sales reps. Moreover, your sales reps can schedule, qualify, and route the incoming leads from web forms at your convenience.

Related Resources

Revenuehero is fast and intuitive, custom-built for modern sales teams.
Request a Demo