Ever been frustrated when calling a lead and, before you even had a chance to provide them with a quote, they bought from someone else instead? Or maybe they say they had already been bombarded by other callers, and therefore weren’t interested in what you have to say? A majority of sales reps (if not all of them!) have experienced this at one time or another during their career. No salesperson wants to miss an opportunity to secure new business, hit their sales goals, and generate new revenue for their company. Even if you already have a great sales team, “Speed to Lead” is crucial to your success.
What is “Speed to Lead” & Why Does it Matter?
Sales experts have found that “Speed to Lead,” or calling a prospect as quickly as possible after they submit a quote request, is the single largest driver of lead conversion during a sale.
A 2007 study conducted by InsideSales.com sparked further research about this topic, after revealing “best practices for speed to lead.” InsideSales.com’s groundbreaking study found that responding to web-based leads within 5 minutes results in a 900% increase in contact rates.
Since this study, industry experts have found that the first 2-5 minutes after a prospect submits a request is considered the “Golden Window” for making contact and establishing rapport. In fact, calling within 5 minutes is 21x more effective than calling after 30 minutes! After waiting more than 5 minutes, your chances of reaching the prospect start decreasing by 10x.
Ok…this might sound like common sense. But consider that most companies are not executing a “calling fast” strategy. The InsideSales.com study reported that 51% of leads are never contacted at all, on average. Companies like Forbes have later gone as far to say that companies are wasting an estimated 71% of Internet leads they could have worked. Companies are throwing valuable leads right in the trash! So it’s safe to say salespeople who call within this time frame – or sooner! – have a serious advantage over their competition when trying to close a sale.
Advantages to being “the first caller”
The first caller to reach the buyer has an overwhelming advantage over competing businesses that are slower to reach their customers. Here are some of the top reasons for striving to be the first caller:
- Buyers want an easy purchase. Online buying behavior is changing. Attention spans have dropped and customer priorities are shifting towards “ease of purchase” and “best price.” This means if you make it easy on your prospect to buy and your price matches their expectations, they’ll most likely do business with you right then and there.
- Calling first lets you frame the conversation around your company’s strengths before your competition has a chance to chime in. Psychology shows that people tend to remember the first piece of information or conversation they receive over others. If you reach the prospect first, there’s a high chance that they’ll compare later sales conversations back to yours.
- Many buyers go online because they’re ready to buy now. If you can win over the buyer and respond to their pain points and needs, they’ll likely want to secure your product or service sooner rather than later.
- Calling quickly assures the prospect is available. If you call as soon as the lead submits the quote request, you know that they’re sitting in front of their computer, thinking about their need for your product or service. When you follow up in that same moment, you’re catching them right in their time of need. Don’t wait too long, or they may not be able to pick up the phone. You’ll end up calling and re-calling, and prolonging the sales cycle.
How to boost your contact rate
- Make “speed to lead” part of your team’s sales system. Require that your team calls all prospects within five minutes of receipt. Measure their performance by reviewing time stamps of when calls were placed. Most phone systems have web-based applications that you can use to review outbound calling stats. Use those functions.
- Actually call the prospect! Don’t assume email, live-chat, or other forms of reaching out can take the place of calling. Even though many professionals have moved almost entirely online during their workday, a phone call can be a pattern interrupter. You may get more of their undivided attention. Many experts still believe that following up by phone is more effective than an email.
- Distribute lead contact info directly to the sales rep. Sales managers often make the mistake of routing prospects to their email address first – then forwarding that info to a sales rep. This just prolongs the sales process and delays that first call. Is your Sales Manager really available to re-route leads every minute of the day? 99% of businesses will say no! Set yourself up for calling fast by creating a shorter path from the lead to the desk of the designated sales rep.
- Integrate your CRM system with a lead generation program. In the sales world, it’s crucial to have a CRM. But what’s even better is integrating your CRM with your lead generation method. That way, as soon as the buyer clicks “submit” on the lead form, your CRM will alert you and you can call immediately. Even better – you’ll be able to log, track and analyze each call.
- If you don’t get the lead on the phone on the first call, don’t give up! Sales research shows that calling fast and often leads to successful contact rates. The ideal number to call is 6 times. In fact, calling 6 times gives you a 93% chance of speaking to the lead. Compare this to a 39% chance when only calling once! The takeaway: be persistent.
If you make “Speed to Lead” a top priority in your sales department, you’ll see higher close rates and higher revenue as a result. Even better – if you choose a lead generation program like 360Connect, you’ll decrease your marketing budget and get leads fed directly into your CRM. All you’ll have to do is focus on calling & selling! Want to know more about our revenue growth model? Feel free to fill out our supplier form to set up a time to talk.