Is Your Lead Follow-Up Working?
We Tested 114 Companies.
State of Inbound Lead Management
Are you responding to Leads fast enough? We decided to test it.
What is Lead Management?
Lead management is the process of how a company engages with potential customers up until the point of purchase. This involves lead generation, lead routing, and lead contact.
A common Lead Management Process might look like this:
Sent a System-generated email
Sent a personalized email
Made a phone call
HBR shows a 10X decrease in your odds of contacting a lead if you wait longer than 5 minutes.
That's right, it's 10X LESS likely that you will get in touch with your lead if you wait longer than 5 minutes to call them.
This undoubtedly makes response time the most important factor in securing a lead and a system-generated email confirming the request is not going to cut it.
We tested 114 companies on their lead management
We wanted to know if companies were actually hitting the industry best-practice of 5 minutes, so we decided to test it.
Using actual credentials, we posed as real prospects to test how 114 of the leading B2B companies are pursuing inbound leads.
Then, at least one hour after we filled out demo requests, we searched each company on the review site G2. If the companies were effectively monitoring intent data, they would know we researched them and perceive us as a more important sales lead. This allowed us to test how each company is utilizing (or not utilizing) buyer intent data.
The end result? A comprehensive window into how today’s top B2B companies are doing at capitalizing on, qualifying, and nurturing leads.
Key FInding 1
Key FInding 2
Key FInding 3
Key FInding 4
Key FInding 5
Key FInding 6
Key Finding 7
1. Time to Email a Lead
2. Time to Call a Lead
3. Fastest by Company Size
4. Fastest by Industry
5. Chatbot Usage
6. Response with Lead Routing Tools
Conclusion: How to Hit the 5 minute Mark
According to a Harvard Business Review study, to maximize conversions to meetings, a company must respond to leads with a personalized response within 5 minutes, with full context. This research was based on 3 years of data with 15,000 unique leads and 100,000 call attempts.
After filling out demo requests for each company, we recorded when companies did the following:
We posed as a high-intent lead
Less than 1% of companies sent a personalized email within 5 minutes
Only one company out of 114 total sent a personalized email within 5 minutes. Even though research suggests the importance of a personalized response within 5 minutes, almost all of the companies weren’t able to meet this threshold.
Companies in the Sales industry responded the quickest
Companies selling Sales-related products had the fastest average response time. In comparison, companies selling Marketing-related products had the slowest average response time.
Even Lead Routing Tools don't hit the 5 minute mark
Companies using Lead Routing tools definitely had a faster response time compared to companies not using one, but they still don't make the 5 minute goal.
Companies using chatbots performed better
Companies using chatbots responded 19.4% faster than companies who don’t use chatbots on their websites. The companies using chatbots also had a higher response rate.
Only one company managed to send a personalized response within 5 minutes. On average, companies took 11 hours and 54 minutes to respond to leads with a personalized email—that’s way past the 5 minute mark.
It gets worse.
Almost a fifth of the companies never followed up to our demo requests at all. Talk about a missed opportunity.
The bottom line?
Companies are losing potential customers by not responding to high-intent leads faster.
18.4 % never responded
after 1 day
4 hours to 1 day
1 to 4 hours
30 mins to 1 hour
15 to 30 mins
5 to 15 mins
within 5 mins
KEY FINDING #1
99.1% of companies are not hitting the 5 minute best practice via Email
How Long Did It Take for Companies to Email a Lead?
Here’s how long it took for companies to send a high-intent lead a personalized email.
What does this mean?
Phone calls can be the most direct way to connect with and qualify a lead. Yet, only 31.2% of the companies we tested even called and left voicemails. The average time it took before a company called was 14 hours and 29 minutes.
None of the companies called within
58.4% of the companies that did call were able to call within an hour, but that still means almost half of the companies took at least 4 hours to establish contact with us.
22.2 % after
4 hours to 1 day
1 to 4 hours
15 mins to
within 15 mins
KEY FINDING #2
Only 31.2% of companies tried the phone.
41.7% called within the hour.
How Long Did It Take for Companies to Call a Lead?
Only 31.2% of the companies we tested called. Of those companies, here’s how long it took for them to reach out.
We also looked at the data according to company size.
The majority of the companies we reached out to were what we would call high-growth (51-200 employees) and mid-market (201-500 employees).
KEY FINDING #3
High-Growth Companies Responded Fastest
Respondents by Company Size
We reached out to 114 companies. The majority of them were high-growth and mid-market companies, but every company size is represented.
Who Responded Fastest by Company Size
High-growth companies (51-200 employees) responded fastest.
High-growth (51-200 employees) companies had the fastest response time averaging 6 hours, 45 minutes and, not surprisingly, Enterprise (10,001+ employees) companies had the slowest response time at 29 hours, 47 minutes.
There are several factors that could influence this. High-growth companies tend to be younger, allowing them to use newer technology and best-in-class tools because they aren’t bogged down by legacy processes and systems. They may also have a lower volume of leads, making it easier for them to reach out faster.
We also looked at the companies by industry. Marketing (26.3%) and IT (22.8%) had the most companies and Finance (7.9%) and Product (7.9%) had the least.
20.2 % HR
7.9 % Finance
22.8 % IT
26.3 % Marketing
14.9 % Sales
KEY FINDING #4
Companies selling Sales-Related Products Responded the Fastest
Respondents by Industry
Most respondent companies were selling to Marketing or IT.
Who Responded Fastest by Industry
Sales-related tools had the fastest average response time, but still pretty far from the 5 minute best-practice. Marketing related tools had the slowest average response time.
Looking at response time, companies selling Sales-related tools had the fastest average response time (2 hours, 18 minutes) with companies selling Product-related tools coming second-fastest (4 hours, 52 minutes). Companies selling Marketing-related products had the slowest average response time (12 hours, 26 minutes) and IT-related products being the second-slowest (10 hours, 47 minutes)
7.9 % Product
Not only did companies that have live chat have a faster response time average, they also had a higher response rate than the companies who were not utilizing live chat.
KEY FINDING #5
Companies Using Chatbots Did Better Overall
Chatbot Usage Amongst Companies
Just over half of the companies used chatbots and just under half did not at the time of the test.
Who Responded Fastest Based on Chatbot Usage
While not a huge difference, companies who were not using chatbots took ~2 hours longer to respond.
Companies with chatbots had an average response time of 8 hours, 36 minutes, while companies without chatbots had an average response time of 10 hours, 40 minutes.
Companies using chatbots had a higher response rate than companies without chatbots.
22.6% of companies without chatbots never followed up to our demo requests
14.8% of companies with chatbots didn’t respond
We were also curious if the tools companies were using for Marketing and Sales would affect their response times, so we looked at who responded fastest based on their Marketing Automation Platform, CRM, and Sales Outreach tool. We used ZoomInfo to gather this data.
See Full Breakdown
KEY FINDING #6
Companies Using Outreach, Salesforce CRM, and HubSpot responded Faster
Who Responded Fastest Based on Apps Used
Companies using Outreach, Salesforce CRM, and HubSpot had the fastest average response times.
Respondents by Sales Engagement Platform
Of the companies tested, more companies use Outreach than SalesLoft, and 5.3% use both. Almost half of the companies use other tools.
Sales Engagement Platform
A Sales Engagement Platform is important for enabling Sales teams to reach out quickly and easily in a personalized manner. We wanted to see if the tool used played a role in response time. Outreach users had a faster average response time.
13.2 % SalesLoft but not Outreach
29.8 % Outreach but not SalesLoft
5.3 % Outreach
Who Responded Fastest Based on Sales Engagement Platform
Companies using Outreach had a faster average response time compared to companies using SalesLoft. However, companies using SalesLoft still had a faster response time compared to companies that use other tools.
55.3 % Marketo
3.5 % Didn't use a MAP
Marketing Automation Tools
Marketing Automation tools also play a role in lead management. They often orchestrate drip campaigns or ABM campaigns. Though most of the companies use Marketo (55.3%), companies using HubSpot had the fastest average response time (9 hours, 43 minutes), and companies using Pardot had the slowest average response time (12 hours, 35 minutes). The average response times for Marketo and Eloqua were similar.
Who Responded Fastest by Marketing Automation Tool Used
Companies using HubSpot had the fastest response time average, although there isn’t significant variation between all platforms.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Sales and Marketing teams also use a CRM in their processes to turn a lead into a sale. We looked at what companies use for their CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Almost 15% of companies use Salesforce, with the rest using other tools. Companies using Salesforce had a faster average response time (11 hours) compared to companies that use other tools such as Zendesk (12 hours, 4 minutes).
Respondents by CRM Used
Almost 15% of companies use Salesforce, with the rest using other tools.
Who Responded Fastest by CRM Used
Companies using Salesforce had a faster average response time, but not significantly.
State of inbound lead management
Lead routing can be a big part of why it takes so long to respond to a lead. Before the rep can reach out, it has to get assigned to them. This sounds easy enough, but each company has their own structure and rules about what lead goes to which rep, and a number of companies are still manually assigning leads.
Lead Routing tools, like Leandata, Ringlead, and Chilipiper, are designed to make this process easier and faster.
Companies using a lead routing tool were 6X faster at responding with an average response time of 6 hours, compared to companies not using one at 10 hours, 26 minutes.
But even with a lead routing tool, companies are a long way from responding in 5 minutes or less. That means, the probability of the sales person connecting with that lead is going down 400%.
Even Lead Routing Tools Aren’t Enabling Companies to Hit the 5 Minute Mark
Do Lead Routing Tools Enable You Respond Faster?
The short answer, yes. This is the only tool category where we see a 6X difference between having a tool or not having one.
Look at it again:
Key Finding 1
Key Finding 3
Key Finding 5
Key Finding 2
Key Finding 4
Key Finding 6
So, how do you hit that 5 minute mark?
Most of the companies we analyzed are lacking when it comes to lead management. Less than 1% of companies managed to respond to our demo requests in five minutes or less.
This is shocking, especially because it’s well-known that waiting to connect with a lead for longer than five minutes from the completion of a demo request causes a 10x decrease in the ability of the salesperson to connect with that lead.
Your prospects’ budgets and their organizations’ needs have changed during this unprecedented time. For this reason, the research is even more relevant: no one can afford to wait for days to follow up with an inbound lead who is expressing direct interest in a product.
So, how do you enable your sales reps to hit that magical five-minute threshold?
Simple. You process, enrich, and assign the lead to the appropriate rep, and you do it within seconds of the lead coming in.
At Workato, we do this using an automation Workflow in tandem with our Workbot for Slack (but the bot works with Microsoft Teams and Workplace for Facebook as well).
Here’s what the real-time workflow looks like:
If the assigned rep has indicated they are accepting leads, a notification hits that rep’s Slack/Teams/Workplace chat console with all of the information about the lead. The rep calls the lead immediately.
If the rep has indicated they are not accepting leads, the notification goes to the next most qualified rep who is actively accepting leads.
When a new lead signs up for a demo through your webform, it is intelligently added to your CRM or marketing automation tool (which should be bidirectionally synced).
The lead is enriched using a tool like ZoomInfo or Clearbit, allowing you to get their phone number even if they didn’t provide one.
The lead is automatically assigned to the correct rep based on your org’s rules (by region, by persona, etc.).
Following up immediately continues to be a powerful tactic that companies can better utilize especially during this time. And if you’re looking for the most comprehensive solution to slow lead management, Workato’s Lead bot is specifically designed to help organizations run flawless lead management and most importantly, hit that magical 5 minute mark.
In fact, you can request a demo here and see if for yourself
Look at it Again
Conclusion: How to Hit the 5 Minute Mark