What is Lead Response Time?

The definition of lead response time refers to a metric that gauges how long it takes to follow up with a lead that has contacted a business (either by calling, emailing or filling out a form). Lead response came to the forefront following a famous study in the Harvard Business Review which showed that sales reps are seven times more likely to have a meaningful conversation with leads if they respond to them within the first hour. The study found that sales reps were 60 times more likely to qualify a lead than if they waited 24 hours to follow up with a lead. Sales managers can use sales management software to track a variety of call metrics including lead response time.

Warm and Cold Leads: The Importance of Following Up Fast

This famous study revealed that, for the companies they measured, 24% took more than 24 hours to respond to lead-initiated contact, with 23% of the companies never responding at all.

These are alarming numbers that businesses should guard against, especially because a similar paper written and published by LeadResponseManagement.org along with MIT professor James Oldroyd discovered that the chance of qualifying a lead drops to 10% after the first hour. Worse, no leads were qualified past the 10-hour mark. This basically means that postponing the pursuit of a lead for the next day will most likely result in the lead going “cold”.

The above numbers reveal one startling but obvious fact: lead response time is almost as important as pitching the sale itself. The more qualified leads a business can produce, the better and richer their selection of prospects is, and the higher their chance of converting.

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