How Quickly Should I Follow Up With Inbound Leads?

A few months ago I attended a session at Hubspot’s Inbound conference called 'The Art of The Five Minute Response Time.' Josh Harcus, author of A Closing Culture, spoke about the impact this strategy has had on his organization:

  • 6x revenue growth in 12 months
  • 9x shorter sales cycle
  • 500% growth in team

Since learning of this art, we've challenged our team to decrease our response time significantly, and the results have been just as exciting. 

Current State Of Sales Follow-ups

The Harvard Business Review found that 26.1 % of leads are followed-up with within 5 minutes, while the average response time for all leads is 42 hours. It's no secret that 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first, so if buyers are contacting you when they are ready to talk, why aren't we making every effort to speak with them immediately?  

Just look at the proof to the right. Dr. James Oldroyd published the Lead Response Management Study, which found that the odds of making a successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when a contact attempt occurs within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.

What's even worse than a delayed response? The average number of times a lead is followed up with is 1.3 times.  Not only are we not prioritizing these conversations, but we're giving up after just one call? 

The Ideal State Of Inbound Lead Response

The ideal inbound lead follow-up strategy combines both an urgency in response as well as a committed sales cadence if the prospect does not immediately answer.

The most successful cadence we've seen is from Hubspot:

Day 1

  • Immediate action - call lead within 5 minutes of form submission

  • If this results in no contact, follow-up with a phone call, voicemail, email, and LinkedIn request

  • If there is no response in 3 hours, call 1-2 additional times without leaving a voicemail

Day 2

  • Call in the morning of day two. If there is no answer, leave a voicemail and send an email.

  • If you have not heard from the lead, call around lunch time and again in the afternoon.

Day 3

  • Repeat day two's activities. Make sure you are recording all activity in a CRM.

  • After day 3, place 1-2 calls and send 1-2 emails per week. 

But Doesn't This Response Time and Cadence Feel Creepy?

There was a time when I thought this might be true. What would a lead think if they got a phone call immediately after submitting a form? It would look like we have nothing to do but sit by the phone and answer it!

But isn't that the kind of service we're all looking for? If I've submitted a form on a webpage, it means I'm interested in more information. I'm also a millennial and instant gratification is becoming an expectation. I don't think anything would thrill me more than an immediate answer to a question I've asked.