When the Harvard Business Review analyzed the relationship between lead qualification and lead response time, they found that the odds of qualifying a lead decreased by 400% when you took more than 5 minutes to send a personalized response.

Clearly, response time is a critical factor in engaging a lead effectively. But are today’s B2B companies responding fast enough? We decided to test it. 

Here’s a look at how we evaluated lead response time and what we found.

To see everything we learned, you can download the State of Inbound Lead Management.

How We Conducted the Experiment

If you’ve followed previous studies on lead response time, you’re likely familiar with those done by Drift and the Harvard Business Review. We’ll be the first to admit that their research inspired ours. 

Our study aimed to not only provide updated data to what they already discovered, but also add additional insight. More specifically, we aimed to uncover how lead response time varies across a myriad of factors—from company size to industry to region to technology used. We’re hoping this allows you to better assess where your organization stands as well as how you can improve your response time. 

With this context in mind, here’s how we ran the study: Using real credentials, we completed demo requests for 114 B2B companies that varied in size, industry, region, etc. Then, after waiting at least one hour, we searched each company on the software review site, G2—allowing us to assess whether organizations are leveraging intent data

Here are a couple things we’ve learned since getting the data back:

Most Companies aren’t Passing the Test 

Only one company managed to send a personalized email within 5 minutes. And, none called within 5 minutes. 

When it came to sending personalized emails, the average response time was 11 hours and 54 minutes. Here’s how it looks across different timeframes. 

A pie chart that breaks down how quickly organizations email inbound leads.

We also found that organizations by and large avoid using the phone: Only 31% of organizations tried calling us. And, similar to email, the average response time via phone was heavily delayed, coming in at 14 hours and 29 minutes.

A pie chart that breaks down how quickly organizations call inbound leads.

Bottom line: Companies are letting customers slip away by failing to respond to leads fast enough. 

Companies that Use Certain SaaS Apps had Better Response Times

We also wanted to see if the tools that companies were using for marketing and sales affected their response times. 

As it turns out, it did.

We used ZoomInfo to identify the apps each company uses, and we found that companies using Salesforce or HubSpot responded significantly faster than their peers, on average. 

But even with these tools, companies are still a long way from responding in 5 minutes or less. 

Clearly, the task of responding to leads in minutes is near-impossible, but if your organization can manage to do it, you should have a competitive advantage for years to come.

Anusha Kuppahally
About Anusha Kuppahally

Anusha is currently studying Business at Georgetown University. She's excited to learn from and write about the Business Systems Community as she earns her degree.