Lead Response Management

ResponseAudit Research – AA-ISP 2012

Christopher Tuttle

ResponseAudit LogoSince 2007, we at XANT have published research on the best practices around how and when to respond to marketing-generated leads.  In October 2007, we presented early findings at both the Boston and San Francisco Marketing Sherpa B2B Demand Generation Summits.  Since then, we have published our landmark Harvard Business Review article, “The Short Life on Online Sales Leads,” and later were covered in the Inc. Magazine article, “How to Best Harness Inbound Marketing Leads.”

All of our lead management research demonstrates the need to be extremely responsive and persistant to people who express interest in your product or services by filling out a web form, calling, or in some other way.  We recently created a lead management infographic summarizing the findings.

However, we have a less-known solution and research that explains the current state of the lead response industry in terms of typical response time, efforts and follow-up strategies to web leads called ResponseAudit.

A ResponseAudit is a secret shopper submission on a company’s web-form to identify the company’s response time, number of attempts and general follow-up strategies used by the sales rep assigned to follow up and respond to marketing-generated leads.  As our service, we then provide a detailed report to the sales management of the respective company to improve their response effectiveness.  We also aggregate the results of our customers’ de-identified audits to create industry research.

The following are the ResponseAudit results and data as co-presented with Liz Gelb-O’Connor of ADP at the 2012 AA-ISP Leadership Summit.

2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results
For each company audited, a report similar to this was generated.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Summary
This chart provides a summary of our findings from conferences spanning the last five years. Our data shows that the average first response time was cut in half between this year’s AA-ISP Conference and last year’s.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Average Response Time
According to our data collected over the past five years, it takes the average company nearly 47 hours to initially respond to a lead.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Average Response Attempts
According to our data from the past five years, a sales rep attempts contact an average of 1.30 times.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - 2011 vs 2012
Compared with the data from the 2011 AA-ISP Conference, in 2012, the average response time was cut in half and the response rate increased by 16 percent.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Response Methods
The most common response medium is email at 87%. Half of all leads are responded to only through email, and about a tenth are responded to only with a call.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Response Methods
Companies that respond more often use a balance of both calls and email, whereas those who respond less tend to use only email.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Response Time by Company Size
Mid-size companies (251-500 employees) respond the slowest.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Response Time by Company Revenue
Similarly, mid-size companies with annual revenues between 25-50 million are slowest to respond.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Response Time by Company Region
The response time data is very skewed–a few slow responses pull the average up. However, all median response times were under three hours. Twenty-five percent of companies in most regions took longer than 12 hours to initially respond. The Mountain Time Zone had the fastest response times.
2012 AA-ISP ResponseAudit Results - Response Time by Industry
The health and medical field had the fastest average first response time. The most common industry among AA-ISP members was software.
Response Time from Creation by 5 Min
After waiting 5 minutes from when a lead is first submitted, there is a 900% decrease in qualification rate.
Inside Sales Lead ResponseAudit

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