Speed to lead is a marketing term that refers to the amount of time it takes before a business can respond to a new lead. It is said that the faster you respond, the higher your chances are in closing that lead, but is this really true?

To let you have an idea of how powerful this concept is, consider yourself in this situation. After becoming interested in a service, you filled out their online contact form to get in touch with a brand representative. Two days later and you still haven’t heard from them.

In this scenario, what will you do? Will you still wait?

Probably not. Most likely, you have already forgotten about them.

Keep in mind that your prospects don’t have the luxury to wait for your response when they can just look for other options instead. Everyone’s attention span is shorter when they are online – there are tons of distractions and a single Google search can present them with countless alternatives they can choose from!

If this is the case, isn’t it obvious that companies should be more focused on speed to lead?

Well, strangely enough, research suggested that the average lead response time among 2,241 US companies that responded within 30 days was 42 hours – almost two days! The worst part? Some companies didn’t even respond to their leads – talk about a wasted sale opportunity!

To help you picture more of what speed to lead is capable of doing, below are some of its benefits when it comes to sales conversion.

1. First Contact Advantage

Here’s bad news for you: your brand is only one of a prospect’s options and most probably, you are not their first choice. The good news? Most firms are slow to respond to their leads!

If you are positioning yourself for success you must consider having a faster response time so you can have an edge over your competitors. Your brand may not be the first to appear in a Google search but you have caught their attention, now position yourself as THE solution they need now!

During this stage, most customers are getting to the middle of the marketing funnel on their own or they are educating themselves before making a purchase decision. Being the first brand to reach out means that you can support them in this stage by letting them know what you can offer and how it can help them solve their problems – after all, 78% of buyers are said to choose the vendor that responds first!

2. Increased Likelihood of Meaningful Conversations

Research shows that the first hour is the most critical time for lead follow-up. Engaging leads within the first hour is identified with 38% engagement success and this percentage drops to about 8% if they are responded to within twenty-four hours.

The first hour the lead enters your system is also the time when their interest is at its peak. Anything beyond that and they are probably distracted by something else – who knows what they are doing after that first hour? They may be scrolling on Facebook, maybe searching Google for other brands, or perhaps talking to your competitor’s sales agent.

3. Higher Conversion Rates

How fast you respond to prospects can either make or break your conversion rate. Aside from the lead’s interest gradually decreasing, a slow response can actually affect your sales.

The chance of lead conversion is 391% higher if you are able to respond within the first minute. Two minutes and it becomes 160%, an additional minute and it declines to 98%! This percentage continues dropping and if you are to respond after a day or so, chances are they have already forgotten about your brand or have already closed a deal with someone else.

You can think of lead conversion as a race where speed is crucial. Letting your leads go cold is the same as a wasted opportunity you didn’t even have a chance to take part in. Think about it from a customer’s perspective and know what your brand is missing – who would even wait for several hours or days just to get in touch when others are ready now?

 With today’s technology, you have to improve your speed to lead. You may be missing out on a number of prospects, not because of your website or the goods and services you offer, but your mere inability to respond immediately.

Speed to lead isn’t just responding fast and saving your prospects’ time, it’s also a way of showing respect and a sense of urgency to them.