Tardy and generic: Standards slipping with sales lead responses

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Chris Ward
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The average response time to sales leads is on the rise, according to research conducted by InsideSales.com.

Auditing nearly 5,000 sales leads across a number of markets including finance, telecoms and tech, the study found that sales representatives were getting slower in following up leads.

The study used a secret shopper approach to benchmark a company’s response to web leads via company websites, and found that the average response time was 38 hours and 35 minutes, up from 31 hours and 37 minutes in June 2016, an increase of 22%.

It also found that half of all leads don’t receive a personalised response, whilst 28.4% of first email responses were automatically generated.  

“The recent transformation of the sales process, where better analysis of data has left cold calls a thing of the past, makes these results particularly worrying for businesses,” said Martin Moran, vice president of EMEA at InsideSales.com. 

“Prospects are expecting a more personalised sales experience than ever before, particularly as an increasing number of sales teams now employ data driven analytics and insights in equal measures to better target accounts. The fact that half of all inquiries never even receive a personalised response seriously diminishes the value of this investment.”

77% of leads did not receive a phone call at all, despite the research finding it to be the most successful form of contact for following up sales inquiries.

The sharp decline in response approach is difficult to fathom, given the economic uncertainty surrounding many business decisions and the fact that sales targets are becoming harder and harder to hit.

57% of a consumer’s buying decision is completed before they are “willing” to talk to a sales rep, while 77% of B2B buyers don’t ever talk to a salesperson until after they have performed independent research into a product or service.

A survey of sales leaders by Artesian in 2015 stated that three-quarters of sales forces did not hit their targets on a regular basis, and that 30% of the respondents’ sales teams were viewed as “weak or struggling”.

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