What is Speed to Lead? Everything You Need to Know About This Often-Overlooked Metric

by | Jul 20, 2022

Quality products and delivery are arguably the best ways to convert and retain leads. But before you get the ORDER or even the chance to prove your worth, your speed-to-lead can make or break your goals.

Speed-to-lead? What is it? Why is it as important as quality products and delivery to customer retention?

More importantly, what qualifies as GOOD speed-to-lead? And if it were poor, can it be improved?

This piece will answer those questions – and more. So, shall we begin?

What Is Speed To Lead?

Speed-to-lead is a metric that measures how quickly you respond or contact a new lead after it is submitted.

Put simply, speed-to-lead is the time between when a lead contacts you and when you or your representative respond. E.g.,

Say prospect “A” contacts ABC enterprises about buying a house in Austin. And then Jim (the sales representative) replies in 5 minutes.

That “5 minutes” is the speed-to-lead!

Now, Jim (from our example) could use whatever communication channel to reply to the lead. Be it through texts, calls, or emails – the “channels” don’t matter.

What counts is how fast your prospect gets the response.

Side tip: prioritize texts – they are not only fast but PERSONAL!

Now, you are wondering: replying quickly to a prospect’s inquiry is good for business. But why is it so important? Should you invest heavily in speed-to-lead?

Let’s find out.

Is Speed To Lead Important?

Short answer: Yes!

To REALLY understand the importance of speed-to-lead, imagine yourself as a prospect.

Imagine you saw an incredible product. It was so awesome that you jumped on a call to request a demo right away.

You’re eager and might even buy outrightly.

But unfortunately, 10 minutes have passed, and there has been no response. It’s almost 6 hours already, and still, zero feedback.

Would you still be eager about the product?

Unlikely! You might start thinking:

  • I don’t EXACTLY need this product; the copy almost conned me.
  • If the seller takes this long to answer my inquiries, they might deliver late too.
  • Maybe I should look around and see if there’s another seller.

So, you see, speed-to-lead is critical to your business. Specifically, you should prioritize it for the following reasons:

Convert Prospects Ahead Of Your Competition

Often, a prospect will have a shortlist of sellers. In other words, you are not the only one receiving those inquiries.

The prospects might already have contacted your competition.

Now, barring product quality, branding, and reviews, a fast speed-to-lead can help you win the prospect over. When you reply quickly, you get the first contact and lay your claims ahead of your competition.

Increased Likeliness Of Reply

Frankly, prospects won’t lie around waiting for your reply. They have other engagements and are busy; they are PROBABLY messaging you in their free time.

If your “speed-to-lead” is slow, you’ll miss the prospect’s leisure window.

In essence, the sooner you reply to your prospects’ inquiries, the higher the chances of getting a reply and converting such leads.

Enhanced Trust & Confidence

A prospect has never tested your service or products. For all they care, your reviews could be a “ruse.” Slow responses could solidify such thoughts.

On the other hand, a fast speed-to-lead will clear doubts. It is the first step to building trust and confidence. 

Note: while you still have to respond rightly, timely responses will score your business some points.

Quick fact: When Was The First Text Message Sent?

How To Improve Your Speed To Lead

Now that you understand the importance of speed-to-lead, you probably want to optimize it IMMEDIATELY. Hold on for a while!

Shouldn’t you know what the RIGHT speed-to-lead is first? Without a standard, what benchmark will you aim for?

So, let’s learn what makes a PERFECT speed-to-lead before improving it. Who knows, maybe your speed-to-lead might not even need improvements.

What Is A GOOD Speed-to-Lead?

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer here. The channel of communication ultimately determines the standard.

For example, if prospects contact you via a live chat, the standard speed-to-lead is 48 seconds (according to SuperOffice).

For Social media platforms, the average speed-to-lead is between 44 seconds and 30 minutes (according to eptica).

But overall, lead generation experts claim that the base speed-to-lead should be within 5 minutes. So, should you use that as your baseline?

Well, 5 minutes is a GREAT baseline. Amazingly enough, only a few companies can match it. So it’s definitely a great start.

Source: Workato

But you can do better. Other businesses are also aiming for the 5 minutes speed-to-lead. Why not make yours within 2 minutes?

The following tips can help!

3 Ways You Can Improve Your Speed-to-Lead

While it is great to reply quickly to all leads, it makes the most sense to prioritize the bottom-of-the-funnel prospects.

After, follow these tips:

Save Research Time With KYC Forms

Speed-to-lead is often delayed because you need time to research the prospect. Who are they? What are their pain points? And more importantly, how can your service help?

Thankfully, Know Your Customer (KYC) forms can help you cut the timeframe. Before a prospect DMs you, redirect them to a web form.

Note: keep the form short. Ask only vital questions!

Use Templates

Over time, you would understand your prospects and their needs. Now, gather the insights to create templates for different profiles.

So, the next time you get a similar inquiry from a prospect, you don’t need to compose a new message. Your template will suffice.

But ensure you regularly update the templates.

Automate The Process

Regardless of your templates and KYC forms, you need people behind the screen. But frankly, how many sales reps can you employ?

How about training costs?

Instead of a league of sales reps, try automating the lead conversion process. With automation, you’ll reduce workforce, time lag & training costs, and maintain fast response.

Using automated text messaging is a great way to reduce your speed to lead! When your prospect submits a form, you can immediately send an automatic text message to them showing relevant information, as well as giving them options to choose from to receive more info.

You can also text with them 1-on-1 through our simple to use dashboard and inbox system.

Summary

Speed-to-lead, simply enough, is how soon you respond to inquiries from prospects. But it is actually more than a timeframe.

Speed-to-lead is vital for lead conversion and customer retention. So, ensure yours is within the 5 minutes window – or even lesser.

Overall, you must learn to monitor your speed-to-lead. Has it improved since your tweaks? Can it be better?

With constant monitoring, you will know what more needs attention for lead conversion. More importantly, you will have time to focus on other crucial elements like your landing pages and lead response time.

And remember, your preferred automation tool will go a long way to ease the burden. So, choose carefully.

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