While the Internet in many respects can expedite b-to-b sales cycles, it can also facilitate the potential for failure. Indeed, time management – combined with lead monitoring – seems to be fundamentally changing b-to-b sales.
Here’s some more ammo: a recent study showing a direct correlation between the time it takes to contact a lead and conversion rate. The study, which was conducted by Leads360, is derived from the data of several million Internet-generated leads. It found that 88% of all leads that eventually convert were called within the first 24 hours. What’s more, sales leads called within 60 seconds of being first generated online showed a fourfold (391%) increase compared with average conversion rates.
But the window doesn’t close if b-to-b sales reps don’t respond after one minute. Wait an hour, though, and you’re toast. After missing the critical initial time window of the first couple minutes, calling prospects within the first 30 minutes was found to increase conversion rates by an average of 62%, and calling within one hour was found to improve conversion by an average of 36%, according to the study.
“These findings echo previous MIT lead response research, but place more emphasis on speed-to-call. The data also suggests that the advantage due to speed is less significant after the first two minutes have elapsed and is greatly reduced after the first hour,” the study said.
The study added: “While it may be a bit of a pipedream to think that you can always get to your leads within a minute of them popping up, this stat still shows the importance of getting to your leads quickly.”
The findings are another example of how the Web is sparking more and more job functions throughout business that must be newly created. Perhaps senior managers need to create a job that is the b-to-b sales equivalent to air-traffic controller: someone who is dedicated to monitoring the company’s eco-system online, watching when exactly potential leads land and having a process in place on how to quickly direct the lead to the proper channel or sales rep.
The impact of speed on lead generation:
- Speed-to-call is a strong driver of lead conversion, especially within the first few minutes
- Even leads that eventually become qualified are sensitive to initial speed-to-call
- Receiving and reacting to leads in real-time is critical to maximizing conversion rates
- Smart lead buyers and sellers measure reaction time to new leads in seconds, not hours
- Achieving first contact with a prospect represents a crucial advantage that should never be surrendered
- Leveraging automated lead distribution and dialing technology is required for high conversion rates