Speed to Lead Statistics – 19 Surprising Facts About Lead Response Times

Daniel Threlfall

By Daniel Threlfall

Speed to Lead Statistics – 19 Surprising Facts About Lead Response Times

Speed to lead statistics can be scary to look at.

Why?

Because they reveal that your business probably doesn’t have a fast enough lead response time.

Your lead response might be amazing. You might even be qualifying a ton of leads. But the harsh truth is that you’re probably not fast enough.

Speed to lead statistics consistently prove that the faster you can respond to a lead, the more likely you are to qualify and process that lead. If you wait even a little bit, there’s a good chance you’ll lose the lead forever.

This is a frightening prospect, and it’s not something to take lightly. You need to have a rock-solid game plan in place if you want to optimize your lead response time.

Lead response is something you have to think about early on. Before you can onboard your customers, you have to qualify them, and you can’t do that without having great response times.

And if you need to meet a lead generation quota, then you absolutely need to prioritize speed.

Before we dive into these statistics, let’s look at why they’re so important.

A Speed to Lead Parable

True story.

In my role as the marketing director for a SaaS business, I was looking for a new customer data platform to aggregate and display all the metrics and KPIs that the business used. 

I had done my research, knew the options, and was ready to make contact with one of the 3 providers I had narrowed it down to. 

I filled out the demo request form on the first website — email, name, phone, company name. Then I clicked “Get a demo.”

speed to lead statistics - capture form

Next, I was given the option to schedule a call for later that day or week, or call right away. 

I don’t mess around. And, by nature, I tend to be slightly impatient.

I want a call right away. After all, I had allocated one hour on my Thursday morning to get this product that my business needed!

So, I clicked “call me now.” 

Now, when I’m not traveling, my typical work setup looks like this — standing desk, Macbook Pro, huge external display and my iPhone on the right side of the desk.

Within 12 seconds, I felt a vibration on the right side of my desk — my phone lit up with a call from a number in California. 

I picked up my phone, talked with the sales rep for 15 minutes and he closed me.

Just like that, I became a customer. 

(I forgot what other two options I had been considering.) 

Speed to Lead Statistics: What They Teach Us About Rapid-Response Lead Conversion

We’re painfully aware that lightning-fast speed is the ticket to converting leads. That’s exactly why we implemented real-time lead qualification into Chili Piper.

But you’re probably wondering why it’s so important and how important it is.

In a nutshell, the speed of your lead response can make or break your close rate.

Think about it. Most of the time, you’re just one of the solutions a prospect is considering. You’ll be fighting all your competitors for the sale. And if you don’t respond as fast as possible, a competitor will beat you to it and almost always get the sale instead of you.

If that’s not enough, consider how quickly leads go cold. 

We’ve all been there. You respond to a lead before the day’s over, but you never hear back from them. This happens way too often. Yet it’s an avoidable problem if you simply prioritize speed.

Even if you’re using awesome lead generation tools and adhering to best practices, you still need to make sure you’re as fast as possible. 

After all, if you lose your lead, tools and strategies probably won’t bring them back.

If you’re interested, check out the success of one business that implemented Chili Piper.

The Truth About Lead Response Times

It’s easy to think that most businesses are on the ball when it comes to speedy response times. However, this isn’t the case.

A study in the Harvard Business Review showed that only 37% of businesses responded within an hour.

speed to lead statistics - HBR study

Source: Harvard Business Review

That means 63% of the businesses surveyed were taking way too long to respond to their leads. And as you’ll see, even waiting an hour can have disastrous consequences.

While that Harvard Business Review study was published back in 2011, not a lot has changed. 

The average business is still incredibly slow when it comes to lead response times. And what’s more, the response timeframe has shortened since then. 

There are more options now than ever before, so if you want to capture a lead, you have to act quickly, and that means you have to improve your lead response time.

How to Improve Your Lead Response Time 

For many businesses, the reason they don’t respond to their leads quickly is because they don’t have the right software. That’s because lots of lead routing software doesn’t prioritize speed.

There’s another major problem that vexes sales teams — an operational problem.

Many sales teams hobble along with broken processes. Sales reps aren’t alerted, and leads end up sitting in queues. 

There might even be major bottlenecks such as a team member whose responsibility is to assign leads to the sales reps. 

This is an enormous liability, since a delay of minutes or hours ends up hemorrhaging leads, as the speed to lead statistics below reveal.

Chili Piper solves all of this. 

Whenever a lead fills out a form on your website, Chili Piper kicks in and qualifies the lead in real-time.

The software instantly engages the lead by getting them to schedule a call. 

Since the lead is still on your website, they’ll take action immediately.

speed to lead statistics - chili piper flow

The tool also matches the lead to the right sales representative based on the routing rules that your team has set up to distribute leads and meetings. 

It happens automatically. And it happens fast. 

Picture this:

  1. A lead on your website clicks the call to action button and fills out her information.
  2. 3 seconds in: The lead chooses between scheduling a call or talking right now. 
  3. 4 seconds in: The lead chooses to talk now. 
  4. 10 seconds in: The lead receives a call from the sales rep. 

TEN SECONDS. 

The average response time for sales teams using Chili Piper — ten to twenty seconds. 

If there’s one speed to lead statistic to remember, it should be that one. You can be on the phone with a lead in a matter of just a few seconds. 

Remember, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes within the software.

When implementing Chili Piper and integrating it with your existing software, you set up precise routing rules so qualified leads are routed to the ideal sales rep.

So, when Scott calls the lead, he’s the perfect rep for the situation.

There’s no waiting, no complicated funnel, and no back and forth between your team members. 

Using Salesforce or other software integrations, Chili Piper automatically qualifies the lead, and your team can take it from there. It’s as simple as that.

What if a lead doesn’t end up converting on the site? This obviously happens all the time. 

Chili Piper has real-time alerting and notifications to the reps to whom the lead was assigned to for follow up. Leaky bucket, fixed.

19 Speed to Lead Statistics You Need to Know

Here are the cold hard speed to lead statistics that you absolutely need to know.

Each of these speed to lead statistics underscores the same point ad nauseam. Speed to lead matters.

The point here isn’t to memorize a bunch of numbers. The point is to take these aggregate statistics to remember the central point of this article — sales times must prioritize speed to lead in order to improve conversions. 

One more point to keep in mind as you read these numbers. Chili Piper qualifies and routs leads in ten to twenty seconds. 

Okay, here we go. 

1. 5 minutes is the ideal timeframe for responding to a lead.

I know it sounds crazy. Five minutes? 

Believe it or not, that’s the perfect time frame for qualifying a lead. It’s the “golden window” that gives you the highest chances of converting that lead. 

speed to lead statistics - five minute response time

Source: LeadSimple

2. Calling within 5 minutes is 21x more effective than calling after 30 minutes.

That 5 -minute mark might be hard to believe, but the numbers don’t lie. 

You really need to make contact within 5 minutes if you want to convert.

These speed to lead statistics from LeadSimple show that calling within 5 minutes is 21 times more effective than calling after half an hour has elapsed.

speed to lead statistics - 21x more effective

Source: LeadSimple

Take a look at that graph. After just 5 minutes, the number of qualified leads absolutely tanks. 

In fact, if you wait more than 30 minutes, you’ll probably lose that lead.

3. After 5 minutes, the odds of qualifying a lead drop by 80%.

Vendasta’s speed to lead statistics show that after 5 minutes, the odds of qualifying a lead decrease by a heart-stopping 80%.

Source: Vendasta

Depending on your industry, even five minutes may even be too long. Contacting leads instantly is best, but if you really want to land that sale, don’t wait longer than five minutes.

4. 50% of leads go with the vendor that responds first.

One of the biggest dangers of waiting too long to respond is that a competitor might respond before you do. That usually spells doom for your lead.

You know the saying “if you’re not first, you’re last.” That applies here, because 50% of leads will choose the first vendor that responds to them.

This data is a little old at this point, which means this figure could be even higher. That further emphasizes how important fast response times are.

This reminds me of another saying that any sales rep should keep in mind: “Being first is free.”

5. Businesses who contact a lead within the first hour are 7 times more likely to qualify the lead than businesses who respond within two hours.

Here is another one of the revealing insights from the speed to lead statistics in that Harvard Business Review study. 

They crunched data from 1.25 million leads and found that the first hour is crucial. 

From the data, response time within the first sixty minutes gave those sales teams a 7x advantage over the latecomers. 

Waiting until hour two greatly decreases the odds of closing.

6. Responding within the first minute increases lead conversions by 391%.

Speed to lead statistics from Velocify show that responding to a lead within 1 minute has a 391% improvement on lead conversion rate.

After that first minute, it drops off dramatically. At two minutes, you’re still looking at a 160% improvement, but it steadily declines from there.

391% improvement on lead conversion rate

Source: Xoombi

Wait a day (like many other businesses) and you’re looking at a meager 17% improvement. That’s not bad, but it’s not going to increase your margins.

7. Timing your calls right increases conversions by 49%.

If you really want to close on a lead, you have to perfect your timing. As those Velocify speed to lead statistics reveal, calling at the right time results in a 49% conversion gain.

49% conversion gain from calling leads

Source: Xoombi

Call too late or make too many calls, and your lead will have probably moved on––or worse, they’ll have forgotten they even interacted with you.

8. Timing your emails right increases conversions by 53%.

The same principle applies if you’re qualifying leads via email as well.

If you wait to email your leads or bombard them with multiple emails, you’ll be far less likely to close. But if you time it just right, you can increase your conversions by up to 53%.

53% conversion gain from timing emails

Source: Xoombi

9. Leads are 10 times less likely to respond after 5 minutes.

Most leads won’t respond after the first hour, but how does that hour break down?

According to the Lead Response Management study, it looks something like this:

speed to lead response time after five minutes

Just like we’ve seen, the first 5 minutes are where most leads respond. After 5 minutes, the odds of leads responding decrease about 10 times.

10. Leads contacted within 5 minutes are 21 times more likely to be qualified as leads contacted within 30 minutes.

Going off this data, it seems fairly standard that there are three major drop-off points: 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and 60 minutes. And the gaps between them are vast.

If you want to qualify a lead, do it within 5 minutes. After that, there’s a decrease in conversion that’s similar to the speed to lead statistics we’ve looked at so far:

speed to lead statistics after five minutes

Source: InsideSales

11. The average B2B business’s lead response time is 42 hours.

One of the most shocking speed to lead statistics comes from a Hubspot roundup. 

They point out that the average lead response time is 42 hours.

42 hours speed to lead statistics

These businesses are losing literally hundreds (if not thousands) of leads by waiting so long to call their leads. 

Even waiting 30 minutes is way too long, so waiting 42 hours is pretty much the equivalent of placing every last nail in the coffin. 

12. The average response time on digital leads is 17 hours.

While companies are faster with digital leads, it’s not much better. 

That response time, according to Ricochet 360, clocks in at an average of 17 hours.

17 hours average response time

In seventeen hours, I can get a solid night’s sleep, watch an episode of Tiger King, and get in a full day of work.

If I’m a lead, you’ve lost me. 

If you’re a business who is in the 17-hour average camp, then you need to improve your lead response time, no question about it. 

Again, even waiting 1 hour can mean losing a lead.

13. For the best lead response times, contact leads on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

There are a lot of factors that play into optimizing lead response time. For instance, certain days perform better than others when it comes to certain aspects.

If you want to have the best chance at making a fast initial contact with a lead, Wednesdays and Thursdays are your best bet.

day of the week speed to lead statistics

Of course, this doesn’t mean you should only contact leads on Wednesdays and Thursdays. But it does mean you should be aware of how different days perform and adjust your approach based on that. 

14. Thursdays are also the best days for qualifying leads.

According to the Lead Resource Management study’s speed to lead statistics, Thursdays are pretty much the best day to do anything with leads, and that includes qualifying them.

Qualifying a lead on Thursday is 19.1% superior to qualifying on Friday, which is the worst-performing day. No shock there.

qualified leads, speed to lead statistics

Source: InsideSales

This means that fast lead response times can be especially effective on Thursdays.

14. Due to slow lead response times, only about 27% of leads ever get contacted.

By now, you know that the average B2B business is just bleeding leads, so it shouldn’t come as a shock that only 27% of leads ever get contacted at all.

This comes from some helpful speed to lead statistics that InsideSales cofounder Ken Krogue provided to Forbes. He also noted that with the right approach, businesses can contact upward of 92% of leads.

That jump from 27% to 92% is game-changing. That can mean the difference between upending your entire sales ecosystem and qualifying leads like crazy.

The fact that 27% of leads are simply sloughed off into the ether makes me either want to question my existence or cry into a glass of Merlot. 

How many millions of dollars is more than a quarter of your leads worth? 

Losing a whopping 27% of all pipeline opportunity is the equivalent of shoving bucketloads of cash into a bonfire. 

15. Less than 25% of companies call their web leads.

You also know that it’s ideal to contact a lead within 5 minutes. Strangely, while calling a lead is one of the best ways of moving that lead forward, less than a quarter of businesses are calling web leads.

missed opportunity by not calling leads

Source: OpenView

16. Poor response times can increase churn by up to 15%.

Believe it or not, your response times can also affect your customer churn. It’s really a domino effect that can damage other parts of your sales process, making your entire funnel less effective. 

On the other hand, if you put in the work to improve your lead response time, you can mitigate your churn.

poor response time higher churn

Source: Website Builder

17. 30% of your leads will choose one of your competitors if you don’t respond.

Sometimes, you’ll get leads who really want your product over everyone else’s. These types of leads are rarer, but they’re worth their weight in gold.

But even these leads aren’t immune to bad lead response times. On the whole, about 30% of your leads will change their mind and go with a competitor if they don’t hear from you.

unresponsiveness in speed to lead statistics

Source: Website Builder

Like many of the speed to lead stats in this list, this number may be even higher.

18. 24% of customers say that initial contact is critical.

First impressions are lasting, and that holds true in sales. 

24% of customers think that the most important aspect of brand interaction is the first contact.

first contact is critical

Source: Website Builder

And, you guessed it, if your initial contact with a lead is too late, you won’t make a great first impression. 

By that point, your lead might already be with a competitor.

19. Calling a lead within 5 hours is 40% more effective than calling after 24 hours.

A repeated theme of these statistics is that sooner equals better. 

Even if you call within 5 hours, you’re 40% more likely to move the lead along than if you were to call after a day had passed.

speed to lead statistics - calling within five hours is 40% more effective

Source: LeadSimple

Speed to Lead Statistics: The Bottom Line

All of these speed to lead statistics point to one huge lesson: If you want to qualify a lead, then you need to contact them within the first 5 minutes. 

After that, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to win them over.

This sounds intimidating, but it’s actually easy to achieve with a one-two punch of proactive strategy and the right technology.

Start by finding out what your average lead response time is. Survey your sales team and look at a spread of interactions with web leads. How long are you taking? 

This will also give you an idea of how many leads you might be losing.

Then you need technology that does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. While you can use various solutions for this, it’s best to use software that’s dedicated to improving your lead response time.

Chili Piper does this by automatically qualifying leads as soon as they make contact. This immediate engagement dramatically increases lead generation because the lead is being contacted within that precious 5-minute window.

So if you’re tired of sweating over the idea of losing hundreds or even thousands of leads, take Chili Piper for a spin by requesting a demo

Once you get used to immediately contacting (and converting) leads, it’s hard to go back.

Want to see how Chili Piper works?

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