Almost all life science companies market via the internet these days. Of those, a vast majority have a method of capturing leads online – be it a contact form, an e-mail address, or even a post on the wall your company’s facebook page. Everyone always tried to have a fast response time to display their superior customer service to prospective customers, but it wasn’t until recently that we realized how important it is to have excellent response time to online leads.
A recent Harvard Business Review study found that online leads go cold incredibly quickly. Quoting the article: “Firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.” Wow. This data implies that companies that responded in 24 hours or more are potentially losing 98% of their sales from online leads.
Not to say we shouldn’t take that information with at least a little independent thought of our own. This information was compiled by tracking leads across 42 different companies in no particular sector, and includes both B2B and B2C sales leads. I can personally speak from my own experience both as a former scientist and as one who sold to them that scientists act more deliberately than the average consumer and therefore leads likely don’t go cold quite as fast. Still, even if you apply such an assumption, the data is still overwhelmingly supportive of cutting your lead response time down to a few hours at most.
The researchers go on to offer some reasons as to why companies aren’t responding faster to online leads: “Reasons include the practice of retrieving leads from CRM systems’ databases daily rather than continuously; sales forces focused on generating their own leads rather than reacting quickly to customer-driven signs of interest; and rules for distributing sales leads among agents and partners based on geography and “fairness.” ”
What is your company’s average or median response time? Do you keep track of it? If not, this data certainly encourages you to do so. After all, you wouldn’t want to be the company losing 98% of its leads.