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A Complete Guide to Rapid Lead Response

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Kinsey Sullivan Wolf

Businesses in the US spent $2.8B on generating leads in 2020; it’s a top priority for marketing and sales leaders. 

This begs a question: if these leads are so valuable, why does it take the average company 42 hours to respond to a lead?

The data is clear: leads are only likely to be converted for a very short period of time after being generated. After that, they move on. 

Companies that respond to leads within 5 minutes are 100x more likely to win the sale than those that respond within 30 minutes. In fact, if you don’t connect with a lead within the first hour, you’re unlikely to ever connect with them. 

This means that the vast amount of money spent on attracting and converting leads is (most likely) wasted due to slow lead response. 

Enter rapid lead response, a marketing and sales strategy that ensures you’re connecting with leads at the peak moment of interest - and before competitors.

What is Rapid Lead Response?

Rapid lead response is the practice of contacting leads as quickly as possible after they’re generated or the inquiry is received. Rapid lead response is sometimes referred to as “speed to lead.”

If your company is spending valuable resources on marketing and lead generation, then rapid lead response matters. Around 70% of appointments go to the company that contacts a prospect first.

Benefits of Rapid Lead Response

There are three main benefits of rapid lead response:

  1. Rapid lead response can help you close more deals.
  2. Your prospects and customers will feel they’re being respected and taken care of.
  3. Fewer marketing and advertising dollars are wasted.

By now, you’ve already learned a few data points that speak to points one and three. But what about your prospects and customers? Is rapid lead response really better for them, too?

The answer to that is “yes.”. Research consistently shows that prospects and customers value helpful, responsive communication when making a buying decision.

Research also shows that when customers don’t feel valued, they don’t buy. One study suggested that almost 70% of sales are lost because the buyer believed the salesperson to be apathetic - not because mistakes were made.

Additional benefits of rapid lead response include:

  • Closing new deals more quickly.
  • Outperforming your competition.
  • Building an aligned and high-performance sales team.
  • Understanding what prospects want.
  • Knowing which lead sources deliver the best leads.

We’ve worked to help sales leaders implement rapid lead response strategies for almost a decade. In that time, we’ve found that rapid lead response gives sales leaders clarity and visibility into their sales team’s performance from lead creation to close. You’ll feel more confident and more in control of your sales, and finally be able to fine-tune performance.

How Does Rapid Lead Response Work?

In essence, rapid lead response is simple: respond to lead inquiries within 5 minutes - or an hour at the most - via call or text. (After all, businesses that respond within 5 minutes are 100x more likely to close the deal.)

The best response is always an immediate, personal one. Depending on your prospects, they may prefer a call, a text message, or both. 

Generally speaking, we recommend at least attempting a phone call, especially in high-information or business-to-business sales. More than 65% of B2B buyers report that discussing their situation with salespeople is valuable. In addition, consumers report wanting to have a personal conversation when making a complex buying decision.

Rapid lead response works by developing a clear system that your sales team uses to respond to leads quickly. You’ll learn more about what that system can look like next.

How Can I Implement Rapid Lead Response Strategies?

Any rapid lead response strategy should include:

  • A clearly defined process for fielding and connecting with leads.
  • A way to track relevant speed to lead KPIs, like time to respond.
  • Accountability, coaching, and compensation that reflect the importance of speed.

The actual rapid lead response system you implement will be customized to your business needs.

This system can be simple; for example, you might use your CRM to set up automated email alerts to sales when new leads come through, and a sales compensation approach that rewards speed. However, if your sales reps have lots of responsibilities or your team is large, this may not be adequate.

If you need more structure and alignment, an automated rapid lead response tool might be right for you. These softwares are purpose-built to get you connected to your prospects in seconds. 

Calldrip’s Respond is one such tool. It integrates with your CRM and automatically kicks off a call or text to connect one of your reps with leads within about 10 seconds of a lead inquiry being submitted. Chat widgets and self-scheduling tools also improve speed to lead

Lastly, you have the option to completely or partially outsource your rapid lead response. There are businesses that focus on outsourced lead response, and some software solutions do offer outsourced lead fielding and rapid response. (Our VIP Customer Connect is an outsourced rapid lead response service. We’re available when you can’t be.)

To learn more practical tips for implementing rapid lead response, download our recent white paper here.

Whatever approach you take, the important thing is that it’s consistent and embraced by all. 

Who is Rapid Lead Response Right For?

Rapid lead response is a high-impact strategy for any company where the sale involves a human touch. If phone calls, demos, consultations, explainers, or sales conversations are important to your business, rapid lead response is right for you. On the other hand, it’s not a great fit for companies like Spotify, where a salesperson never actually has a conversation with new prospects.

If your team is currently taking longer to respond to leads, you may worry that rapid lead response just isn’t possible. Rest assured, organizations like yours are exactly the ones who typically benefit most from rapid lead response. 

The right partner can help you develop the systems, implement the tools, and define the goals that will set your team up for success.

To learn more about rapid lead response, download our free eBook: How to Optimize Your Rapid Lead Response Efforts in 7 Steps.

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