Close your hot leads before they go cold.

According to numerous studies, the maximum time leads are ready to wait for a response from a company is no longer than 5 minutes (Leadsimple). The average B2B business’s lead response time is 42 hours.

Now, let’s look at the two scenarios...

  1. Suppose you manage to provide your leads with a decent response within the first five minutes of them entering your sales pipeline. In that case, you’ll outdo the majority of your competitors and land yourself a scrumptious deal.
  2. If you fail to respond, you’ll never hear from them again, lose potential revenue and probably get a bad reputation among the lead’s network… stripping you of even more revenue opportunities.

It’s the first scenario you’d want to find yourself in, isn’t it?

Good news - NetHunt knows precisely what to do to reduce your response time and drive more sales. In this article, you'll know:

Read on!

Why do you need to respond to leads faster?

Time is the most valuable resource we have. It’s only natural that customers favour vendors that appreciate their time and don’t make them wait for a response over the ones that do. Here are a couple of stats that prove this point...

  • 50% of leads go with the vendor that responds first.
  • Responding within the first minute increases lead conversions by 391%.
  • Leads are ten times less likely to respond after 5 minutes.
  • Poor response times can increase churn by up to 15%.

The slower you are with your responses, the lower are your chances of driving sales. Easy. Now, how can you make sure you provide top of the line lead replies in the shortest time possible and secure your bag? NetHunt has a couple of actionable tips. Take note!

How to speed up response time using CRM

CRM software is among the most effective tools a salesperson can use to reduce response time. A wide variety of CRM configurations and strategies allows you to communicate with leads more straightforward and accurately, driving more sales.

Develop a lead scoring system to prioritise responses

Not all leads are equal. Some have a higher buying intent combined with a generally more immense business value and, therefore, are inevitably more valuable to your business than others. The different types of leads depend on where in your sales process they enter your pipeline.

  • Marketing Captured Lead (MCL). Cold leads who have engaged with a marketing campaign for the first time but haven’t been qualified to be sent to sales yet.
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). A lead engaged with marketing campaigns on multiple occasions and matched the persona within the defined buyer group.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Once an MQL agrees to meet with a sales representative, they become a SQL, and an opportunity is considered created.
  • Sales Accepted Lead (SAL). After the meeting is held and both the SDR and AE agree that there’s a buying potential and the lead is a good match for the company, they become a SAL and are ready to move on to the next stage of the sales funnel.
  • Closed – ReEngaged MQL. If an MQL is unresponsive or lacks qualification to be nurtured over time, it can be considered a closed, re-engaged lead. They can still present a selling opportunity.

To stop missing lead opportunities and land more deals, pay attention to leads with the highest probability to close. You need to develop a lead scoring system that highlights the most valuable leads entering your CRM. That way, you can prioritise interactions with them over responding to those who are less likely to generate revenue or take significantly longer to do so. There are several approaches to lead scoring.

You can either focus on the quality of the lead entering the system or put a numerical value on the probability of them converting and the predicted size of the deal.

To determine the lead status you add to your CRM, you need to account for several things at once: The lead source, their digital behaviour, firmographic details within the account (Account-Based), and demographic information about the lead (persona-based).

But remember, you gotta be quick. According to Vendasta’s stats: After 5 minutes, the odds of qualifying a lead decrease by a shocking 80%. Lead scoring allows you to identify who to get back to first if you’re hit with an avalanche of requests and suggests what type of follow-up to send based on the characteristics of the lead, so you’re not wasting time on guesswork.

Automate lead distribution among sales reps


You’re a doctor that has just witnessed a car crash, standing there with a crowd of spectators. The victim of the collision is badly injured and needs some urgent help. You know what to do to save the person before the ambulance arrives and takes them to the hospital, but you need someone to help you with your manipulations. If you simply start asking people to help you, it’s doubtful that you’ll receive the required assistance quickly. People are reluctant to take on tasks if they think someone else will do it instead. By not appointing someone directly, you’re losing precious time.

The same applies to the world of sales. If you want to respond to your leads quickly, so you don’t lose their interest, you need to appoint a sales rep that will deal with them promptly.

The easiest way to do it is to configure your CRM system to distribute new inbound leads among sales reps automatically. You can either allocate incoming leads to members of your sales team based on a set of specific criteria. For example, some sales reps are responsible for leads from a particular geographical area; some deal with certain firmographics or lead generation sources.

Similarly, you can do it reasonably among all the team members on a round-robin basis. Here’s how you can automate lead distribution on a round-robin basis in NetHunt CRM...

1️⃣ Head to the Workflows tab on the left sidebar of your NetHunt dashboard.

2️⃣ Edit or start a new Workflow for when a new lead enters the system.

3️⃣ We can set Workflows to create a new task for any member of our sales team. For example, we can ask them to call the new lead. To make sure workload is even, we can set the Edit type to Distribute among our chosen Values - or, our sales team.

4️⃣ Set a due date and priority label for the task.

5️⃣ Et voila, a new form submission creates a new record, assigned to Monica, and automatically creates a task for the same manager:

Set up automatic notifications

You can assign hundreds of leads to your sales team automatically, but none of that matters if your sales reps don’t know they have a new lead to work with.

The next step to reducing the response time with the help of a CRM system is to set up automated alerts for every noteworthy change that occurs in the sales pipeline. You should configure a workflow that instantly sends out a notification (or two), using their preferred channel of communications, to relevant sales reps when a task is created.

There’s a variety of different events that can trigger a notification:

  • A new lead enters the pipeline
  • A deal changes stage
  • A field value changes

Tip. Don’t limit your notifications to email only. It’s in your best interest to maximise the chances of that alert getting noticed as soon as possible. So, think of the communication channel most popular among your employees, and integrate your CRM with that platform. For instance, you could set up automated Slack or Google Chat notifications.

Watch this video to learn how to send automatic Slack notifications in NetHunt CRM

Automate your first interaction

Even if your system is working overtime, automatically assigning tasks to sales reps and alerting them via all the possible channels, it takes them some time to react to those notifications and reach out to leads.

A manual first interaction can be a real timebomb (pun intended!) waiting to annihilate your business and strip you of a deal. There are so many things that can go wrong…

  • Your sales rep is away from their workplace, so they don’t see the notification in time.
  • Your office WiFi is acting up, slowing down your rep’s work.
  • The correct response is buried under a pile of irrelevant outreach messages, so it takes your sales rep a while to find it.
  • Your sales rep messes up and sends the wrong welcome email to the lead.
  • Your lead is in a different timezone, so all your sales reps are asleep when the lead contacts you.

Each of the situations mentioned above are bad; you-can-forget-about-landing-that-deal kind of bad. They all share one thing in common - they're the result of human error.

Solution? Eliminate the manual work! The majority of sound CRM systems allow you to set trigger-based email campaigns to automated welcome email drips. Just make sure you personalise the email, so it doesn’t appear to be robotic.

Make use of email templates

It’s not just initial outreach that requires at least some level of automation to reduce response time. Even though subsequent communication with leads is less predictable and can take unexpected turns, you still can prepare yourself and respond to your leads’ requests faster.

Arm yourself with a selection of canned responses that’ll make your life easier. To do that, identify the list of the most common lead requests and write templates for each of them. NetHunt allows you to create email templates right from a Gmail email draft.

Save as a new template in NetHunt CRM

Then, all you need to do is choose the appropriate template from your CRM’s email template library and either touch it up manually or using macros.

Prioritise live chats and demo calls over web forms

You can kill two birds with one stone if you prompt leads to interact with your business through live chat or as part of a demo call. Web forms get long, messy, and take time.

  • Your leads are satisfied; they don’t have to wait for a response.
  • You shorten your sales cycle with less touchpoints.
How businesses improve sales and support with live chat
Live chat can positively influence your sales and customer support. Get five tips on how to increase conversion and order value with live chat.

Suppose your tools are all tied to a single ecosystem in CRM. In that case, you’ll automatically get inbound lead records, and you’ll be able to access the entire history of interactions over time.

Minimise time spent on administrative work

If you want your sales reps to deliver timely responses to leads, you need to make sure they aren’t busy with anything else. Their job is to communicate with leads and build relationships with them, not religiously to update a CRM system.

That being said, we also need to mention that relevant and reliable data lays the foundation of any business, so it’s essential to update your CRM regularly with fresh information…

That’s why you should seek a CRM solution that allows sales reps to not worry about data capture and data enrichment. This task needs to be delegated to the software to focus on the things that matter. Some of the essential administrative tasks that take away the time sales reps could’ve spent on responding to leads include...

  • Sales reporting
  • Lead generation
  • Data enrichment
  • Data entry, activity logs

Gather more information about your leads

Finally… It’s not just about the amount of time it takes for you to get back to your lead but also about the quality of the responses you provide. You must pair the timeliness of your answers with their hyper-personalisation and relevance. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how quickly you reply; your leads will seek a vendor that understands their needs better, even if they’re a tad slower with their responses.

To make sure you know exactly what to say in your message to the lead, you need to take advantage of the following CRM strategies and add-ons:

  • Marketing functionality. Know precisely what marketing campaigns your leads have interacted with to hit them with the most relevant sales enablements that match their stage in the buyer’s journey.
  • Social listening carried out with a social CRM. Identify lead opportunities by tapping into relevant conversations online.
  • Social selling. Integrate your CRM system with popular social media platforms to gradually build a relationship with your lead without immediately forcing them to make a purchase.

That’s all we had time for - don’t waste any of yours and get to responding!

Table of Contents