Since 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.
For each company audited, a report similar to this was generated.
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.
According to our data collected over the past five years, it takes the average company nearly 47 hours to initially respond to a lead.
According to our data from the past five years, a sales rep attempts contact an average of 1.30 times.
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.
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.
Companies that respond more often use a balance of both calls and email, whereas those who respond less tend to use only email.
Mid-size companies (251-500 employees) respond the slowest.
Similarly, mid-size companies with annual revenues between 25-50 million are slowest to respond.
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.
The health and medical field had the fastest average first response time. The most common industry among AA-ISP members was software.
After waiting 5 minutes from when a lead is first submitted, there is a 900% decrease in qualification rate.
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How well are your sales teams responding to leads? Participate in a free Lead ResponseAudit and see how efficient your sales team actually is.