November 23, 2022

How to Reduce Sales Lead Response Time

Like most businesses, you most likely need to respond to leads more quickly. In fact, according to recent studies, only 7% of companies respond to leads within five minutes! Fifty-five percent of companies respond in five or more days. That's a massive opportunity for your business to connect and convert prospects. This blog post discusses lead response time and how to calculate this important sales benchmark. We'll also examine the three areas of lead management to optimize to increase speed to lead: lead qualification, lead scoring, and lead distribution. 

What is Lead Response Time?

Lead response time is essential for any business trying to generate more B2B sales leads. It measures the average time it takes a sales rep to follow up with a lead after they first qualify (usually through submitting a form).

Calculate Lead Response Time

You can calculate lead response time by taking the total time between lead creation and the first response, then dividing that number by the total number of leads that an individual rep has responded to. If you can reduce your lead response time and get sales reps to contact leads quickly, you can increase your conversation rate by up to 39%.

The Ideal Lead Response is...5 Minutes!

If you want to generate more B2B sales leads and increase the conversation rate, aim to respond in five minutes or less. Sales follow-up statistics show that the average lead response takes 47 hours, and only 27% of leads get contacted at all. However, sales reps that respond in under five minutes are 100 times more likely to convert opportunities.

How to Reduce Lead Response Time

Lead response time is highly dependent on the quality of your sales qualification process. Sales qualification determines whether a lead or prospect is fit for your product or service. It happens during the initial discovery steps and helps to identify which customers are most likely to stay long-term — which helps to prioritize and distribute leads among sales reps, leading to a more manageable pipeline and higher-value conversions into closed-won deals.

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To reduce lead response time, you should focus on optimizing three critical areas of the process: lead qualification, lead scoring, and lead distribution.

Lead Qualification: Choose the Right Framework

Lead qualification determines if someone has demonstrated a good fit for your product offering. The first form of lead qualification is a marketing-qualified lead (MQL), and the second is a sales-qualified lead (SQL). An MQL occurs when marketing brings in leads from the content they produce. The SQL process happens when salespeople assess if the prospect, sent over from marketing, would be a suitable customer for what the team is selling.

Despite varying opinions, all sales managers can improve and iterate the lead qualification process. BANT, FAINT, ANUM, and CHAMP are just a few frameworks that follow common principles, like the condition for budget and authority within an organization. Sales teams should use these frameworks to qualify leads quickly and accurately, prioritize the most high-value leads and respond as promptly as possible.

Lead Scoring: Use Insights to Prioritize Leads

Lead scoring allows sales reps to look at a lead's profile in-depth and gain insight into their interests and buying behavior. Lead scoring is a system for assigning numerical values to sales leads based on factors such as industry, size of the company, or their place in the buyer's journey.

By establishing a lead scoring system, sales reps are better able to prioritize high-value leads and focus their time and effort on the most qualified prospects. Sales teams can use lead scoring to quickly identify the leads with the highest potential for conversion and ensure that sales reps respond in a timely fashion.

Automated lead scoring is more accurate and efficient. HubSpot's predictive scoring, for example, uses machine learning to go through thousands of data points to find your best leads. This way, sales representatives can immediately prioritize the leads they should contact follow-up with based on their likelihood of becoming paying customers.

Download our pocket guide to HubSpot lead routing and learn how to implement an  efficient lead routing process at scale using HubSpot Sales Hub.

Lead Distribution: Automate for Scale and Efficiency

Once sales reps use lead qualification and scoring to determine their most promising prospects and the potential value of each deal, they can use lead routing, also known as lead distribution, to allocate leads quickly. This ensures that reps focus on connecting with those more likely to convert based on individual skill sets, availability, geography, capacity, and expertise in the market. By efficiently distributing leads amongst available reps, teams can drive higher conversion rates.

Automated lead distribution reduces the time sales reps spend manually assigning leads, freeing up their valuable time for more meaningful activities such as connecting with prospects. Lead distribution automation apps like Distributely are designed to streamline this process directly in HubSpot, helping businesses scale by reducing overhead expenses, improving customer experience, and shortening their sales cycle.

The Takeaway

By leveraging automation services such as HubSpot's predictive scoring and Distributely's lead distribution app, sales leaders can improve their sales conversions and prioritize high-value leads more quickly and accurately. This helps sales reps connect with the most qualified prospects so that sales teams can maximize their efforts and close more deals.

The combination of HubSpot's predictive scoring capabilities and Distributely's lead distribution app is the perfect solution for sales teams looking to scale quickly while increasing their conversion rates. Through automated processes prioritizing high-value leads, sales teams can focus less on manual processes and more on connecting with their most promising prospects. This integration help sales teams convert more leads into paying customers, enabling them to grow their business quickly and efficiently.

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Guido Bartolacci

Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.


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