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B2B Sales Response Time Is Critical — Here’s How to Use Automation to Speed It Up

4 min

In the business world, B2B sales response time is critical for success. The faster you can respond to an inquiry, the more likely you are to convert a lead. 

According to a study by Lead Response Management, you are 21x more likely to qualify a lead with a fast response time instead of waiting for over 30 minutes. With such a short window to make an impression, you could miss out on valuable sales opportunities if you’re not quick to respond. 

This is where automation comes in.

Automation can help by sending out emails and texts quickly and efficiently, or even scheduling meetings on your behalf. You can also use AI-driven automation to track a potential customer’s buyer journey and notify you when they are beginning to seriously consider making a purchase. 

4 Speed-to-Lead Statistics

When a prospect demonstrates purchase intent — either by filling out a form on your site or by conducting other online research that indicates serious interest — it’s critical to act fast. The goal of sales teams is to reach out and connect as quickly as possible. 

Unfortunately, as every moment ticks by, the likelihood of making contact and closing the sale decreases. In the case of inbound, the odds of qualifying a lead drop by 80% after just five minutes

1. Responding to Potential Leads Within One Minute Increases Conversions by 391%

According to a survey by Velocify, lead response time is the No. 1 predictor of conversion success. Reaching out to a lead within one minute after inquiry increases conversions by 391%! Waiting for an additional minute drops the odds of conversion to 120%, and waiting for an hour drops it to a meager 36%. 

With many other tasks on your sales team’s plate, it can be difficult to respond that quickly. Automation can reduce this wait time to zero.

Next level solution: Many revenue teams rely on generic automated messages to welcome new leads, but by incorporating AI into your tech stack, you can welcome prospects with personalized messages tailored to their interests, company characteristics, job role, and stage in the buyer journey. 

2. A Staggering 78% of B2B Customers Buy From the First Vendor to Respond

Speed-to-lead also directly impacts revenue. According to Lead Connect, a staggering 78% of B2B customers purchase from the vendor that responds first, regardless of whether they were the vendor they originally contacted. 

Most times, the first vendor to engage with a lead has the opportunity to shape their perception of the product and company. Being first also gives you the chance to build rapport and establish trust, two important factors in the B2B purchasing decision.

Next level solution: AI-driven account-based marketing and sales software can give you an even bigger advantage over competitors.

Traditionally, marketing and sales teams have defined “leads” as the people who fill out a form and share their contact information. The reality, though, is that potential customers do significant online research long before they fill out a form — if they ever bother to fill out a form.

These potential customers are in what 6sense calls The Dark Funnel™. They anonymously leave “digital breadcrumbs” all over the internet, providing clues about their readiness to buy – as well as the terms they are searching and competitors they may be researching. 

6sense gathers these digital breadcrumbs and uses them to identify accounts that are in-market and which accounts are extremely likely to buy. The first group becomes the focus of marketing efforts; the latter group becomes the focus of direct sales outreach.

Armed with this intel, there’s no need for you to wait for a potential customer to fill out a form. You can reach out to them based on their intent signals—and set the agenda by being the first to speak with the customer.    

3. Only 27% of Leads Are Ever Contacted

Despite the importance of speed-to-lead, many businesses fail to connect with most of their leads. According to Forbes, sales reps only contact 27% of leads. Even fewer leads receive contact within the critical first five minutes. 

This is because sales teams are overwhelmed with leads. They don’t have the capacity to follow up with all of them. Often, they are overwhelmed with  error-prone manual data processing tasks. Leveraging automation can help sales teams keep track of all their leads and connect with them on time. 

CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot, and Microsoft Dynamics help teams stay organized and keep track of which leads have not yet been reached. 

Next level solution: 6sense Revenue AI is designed to help marketing and sales teams stay focused on the tasks that are most likely to lead to revenue growth. But sometimes tasks — and great prospects — fall through the cracks.

That’s why 6sense is rolling out our new Conversational Email capability, which uses AI to look for prospects that may not have received attention, and then initiates conversations based on everything known about that potential customer. Once the customer responds, this technology can handle qualification and even schedule a call with BDRs.   

4. Slow B2B Sales Response Time Leads to a 15% Customer Churn Increase

The cost of poor lead management doesn’t just stop at missed opportunities. It can also result in increased customer churn. Poor response times can lead to a 15% increase in churn, damaging your bottom line. 

Making your customers wait for a response is a surefire way to alienate them…. which can push them into the open arms of your competition. This affects your entire sales funnel, as frustrated customers are less likely to convert and more likely to churn.

Next level solution: You can use a Customer Data Platform to keep track of existing customers, stay on top of communications, and get alerted when a customer is coming up for renewal or researching competitors.

Responding quickly when a customer has issues is basic, but customers don’t always tell you when they are unhappy. Sometimes, they just walk away. With AI-powered listening, you can spot potential trouble and proactively rescue customer relationships.

Automate Your B2B Sales Response Time With 6sense

6sense is a leading account-based orchestration platform that helps sales and marketing teams close more deals by spotting potential customers long before they ever fill out a form. We integrate with other leading revenue tools to orchestrate and personalize campaigns to engage potential customers. 

If you’re looking to speed up your B2B sales response time and close more deals, schedule a demo of our platform.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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