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July 12, 2016

How to Effectively Respond to Online Leads

By Chris Vendilli 2 Minute Read

As business people, we work so hard to develop qualified leads that you would think we would respond to them quickly. However, a study published in Forbes and previously in the Harvard Business Review and shows that 71 percent of qualified leads are never followed up with. Forbes goes on to report that companies take over 46 hours to respond to leads. These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes loss of potential business on a systemic level. The biggest reason businesses are losing these leads is because they are taking too long to respond. In fact, the same Harvard Business Review study reported that companies that get back to leads within one hour of receiving the query are 7 times more likely to have critical interactions with decision-makers than if they respond within two hours.

Do You Know How Long it Takes Your Company to Respond?

Response time is critical for both B2C and B2B businesses. If you can streamline the time it takes to respond to leads, you will get a significant increase in qualified leads with the same number of salespeople. Ultimately, your sales will grow.

The first step is to measure your own statistics to see where you are starting from. If your company has a lead system in place, it should be easy to find out how well you are doing. Besides response time, another issue is your frequency of response. If you can respond to a query six times, you increase your chance of making contact by 70 percent.

Lead Triage

You probably know that it is likely impossible that you can respond to every single lead within 30 minutes of their query. While you can streamline your lead response system, you may not be able to get back to prospects that quickly. If that is the case, you need to be able to prioritize leads and respond to the best prospects first. Lead scoring works when you can process incoming leads quickly into a few categories, qualified leads, unqualified leads and need more information. If this determination can be made quickly, you can contact the qualified leads to prioritize them.

Just the act of getting back to your prospect within 30 minutes will provide a WOW! factor. You are likely to reach them in the same location where they originated the query. Their frame of mind will still be in the same place and they will be able to respond to your questions readily. You can prioritize them easily and then determine how to nurture them.

Measure and Improve

The way to get the most effective improvement of your company's response metrics starts with measuring. Without measuring how well you are doing now, you will not be able to know what needs improvement. Measure your response time and then compare it to the effectiveness data shown in the study. Then you can examine your lead process and implement a fix to improve your response time and frequency.

Chris Vendilli
About the Author
Chris is the founder and CEO of Vendilli Digital Group. In his free time, you’ll find him camping, fishing, or playing beer league ice hockey with a bunch of guys who refuse to admit they’re already over the hill.

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