Every marketer’s dream is to get more and more prospects raising their hand to speak to sales.
Those are the marketing-qualified leads that you are excited to send over to sales. But the reality is, those are often short-lived opportunities. Ask your sales team what their connection rate is with inbound requests to see how true this statement really is.
We’re talking about your demo requests, contact form fills, pricing inquiries, and all the buying signals that get your sales teams pumped to follow up.
Once your buyer is ready to talk to sales, you want to make sure it happens quickly, and that most importantly, they show up. You don’t want to lose a real opportunity in between back-and-forth emails trying to schedule one call.
And that’s why response time can make or break your sale. You've got a very short window of opportunity to connect with them.
Here’s some B2B data that proves the impact of faster speeds-to-connect.
- According to HBR, if you don’t respond in 5 mins, the probability of establishing contact reduces by a whopping 400%.
- InsideSales says that you’re 100x more likely to actually speak with them if you engage within 5 minutes of them indicating interest.
Now think about what your average response time is.
Your initial response time (IRT) is crucial to determining how and when you will be able to connect with your target leads. This calculates the time it takes for your sales team to respond to an inbound inquiry on your website.
On average, an SDR takes about 42 hours to get in touch with their prospect. This is a lot of wasted time.
We live in a world of choices, many competitors, alternative solutions, and therefore the buying experience matters. That’s why you need to focus on creating a connection with your customers even before they buy.
Asking for a demo is the first step in the buying experience. Once a lead takes this step, you need to make a good impression so that the buyer feels confident in your company’s ability to meet their needs. Making them wait for 42 hours, or any amount of time it takes them to leave your website is definitely not the way to go.
You are spending a lot to get your buyers on your site. You don’t want your speed to connect to kill your deal.
So, how do you go about capturing the right leads at the right time?
Here are a few fool-proof ways to accelerate your speed to connect and increase your lead response time:
1. Automate Email Follow Up and Scheduling
Automation is a digital bonus to speed up your marketing operations. An easy way is to set up an email workflow that sends an email out immediately to any leads that fill out forms or exhibit interest in your product.
The automated email should acknowledge their interest and an opportunity for them to take the next step. It could be a link to your calendar in which they can schedule a meeting directly, or being able to reply to you with a question or even download some bottom-of-the-funnel content they can consume in the meantime.
This is probably your lowest hanging fruit. It will take you a mere 15 minutes or less to complete. It can yield the most results with the least amount of effort. This will shorten your response time and get more meetings into your calendar directly to avoid back-and-forth communication.
2. Embed scheduling into your contact and demo forms
When you integrate your calendar directly into your contact and demo forms, you enable your leads to take the first step and move the process forward. This not only allows you to filter and profile your qualified leads, but it also increases the likelihood that your prospect will show up. Besides, it's now in their calendar too.
The process is simple and efficient; and not to mention versatile, offering a seamless experience for both you and your leads. With this feature, you can embed your availability into the calendar, and decrease the friction in the scheduling process.
The downside of this approach is you will be exposing your AE's calendar to unqualified prospects as well. Taking the wrong meeting can affect the overall efficiency of your sales and marketing engine, causing it to go down rather than up. So, what do you do? Your tool should give you the ability to build different audiences, qualify the form submission in real-time and provide calendars only for the highly engaged or targeted new prospects.
Another way to do this is to offer up your AE's calendar for higher valued accounts and allow them to book demo meetings. And when it comes down to the anonymous or less engaged visitors, give them access to your SDR's calendar. This way, they can book a discovery call instead of a demo meeting, allowing you to maximize the time and efforts of your business development team.
This method eliminates the huge inefficiency of setting up meetings through back and forth emails and reduces the sales cycles up to 20%.
Bonus: It avoids ‘ghosting’ and drop-offs after form submission.
It’s time to start chasing deals not people.
3. Chat with your most engaged buyers on your website
While on your site, your buyers are actively thinking about you. It isn’t your best bet to be reactive at this point, and wait for them to submit a form. In fact only a mere 1% will do that, and then get stuck in a four-week follow up process.
So how do you filter out the qualified ones who are ready to speak to sales?
The moment your buyers are engaging with your high-value pages that detail your product or service, there’s reason to believe there’s some sort of buying intent.
This is where timing is everything; therefore the faster you can alert your sales team about your qualified leads on your site, the faster they can engage and speak with the buyer in real-time. When you build up your speed to engage, you can see the increased odds of booking that first meeting. This is where chatbots take the lead, as they can be configured to identify your qualified leads and alert sales when they meet an engagement threshold.
By putting a human at the frontline of your conversations, buyers feel more connected to your product. This elicits interest and propels the buying process forward.
4. Automate Lead Processing and Increase Sales Productivity with Data Enrichment
The manual process of researching and qualifying leads consumes a lot of time. Sales reps in particular waste valuable time figuring out the basic information about their leads (i.e. phone number, industry, company type); time that can otherwise be spent actually speaking to your prospects and selling.
In other instances, marketers require prospects to fill out long lead forms to gain this information that adds more friction and likely encourages bounce offs.
This slow and inconsistent process often leads to lost opportunities. With data enrichment, not only does the process become simpler, but also faster. As leads come in, they are screened and processed instantly, leading to automatic lead qualification.
With just a work email, you can instantly fill firmographic and demographic data points. This way, your forms are shorter and to-the-point, and your SDRs are able to reach out sooner with less data entry to be done.
Your Response Time Matters.
Reaching out to prospects when they are the most receptive is the fundamental key to converting leads. The faster you can reach out to leads when they are active and interested in your website, the easier it becomes to engage and establish a meaningful connection. Your prospects aren’t just leads, they are people who want to feel valued and seen, and the quicker you can connect the right SDRs with the right leads, the more productive your process becomes and ultimately— turn more leads into opportunities.
Let’s summarize how you can get your speed-to-connect up and pump up your pipeline:
- Follow up immediately, if not in real-time.
- Schedule your meeting time and date just as quickly and get that time slot in your prospect’s calendar. Your speed to meeting is valuable for conversion.
- Don’t always wait for highly engaged buyers to raise their hand to speak to sales. Proactively speak to them on your website while they’re there to connect faster.
- Alleviate some of the manual work on your BDR’s list of to-dos for every sales inquiry that comes inbound. By shortening your forms to encourage submissions, and auto-populating required form fields with data enrichment, you’ll find sales to be way more productive.
Insent is a human-first chat platform that leverages visitor intelligence to help you instantly identify the right accounts on your website and open a channel to speak to them right then and there.
Bonus: It integrates with your existing forms and accelerates your buyer's journey to your AEs calendar.
Aatharsha is the Digital Marketer at Insent. She loves creating B2B marketing experiences that help marketers stand out from the crowd and fill their funnel with qualified buyers.