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Drift is really cool. (and they’re growing to be a pretty big deal)

They created a really awesome survey/experiment on the “lead response time” for certain companies. The findings of that survey are pretty shocking. (Just check out their report for yourself!)

  • 90% of companies didn’t respond in the *recommended* 5-minute response time.
  • 58% of companies didn’t respond at all. (That’s bad, in case you were wondering.)

SERIOUSLY?! Collectively, we’re on pace to spend about $4.6 B-B-BILLION dollars on ads to send folks to shitty websites where, even if they do convert, they’re more likely to NOT get a response than they are to hear from somebody. I can think of dozens of more entertaining ways to waste $2.7 billion dollars.

And those numbers don’t even include all the money spent on people and technology involved with other kinds of marketing initiatives.

Why would teams ignore so many people with their hands raised high?

Here’s Why Your Current Lead Response Times Probably Suck

In short, you've either implemented misguided sales enablement strategies or you haven't properly invested into those resources. 

Instead of streamlining the path to sales reps (the people that can answer the questions your prospects are asking), you’ve likely built in a number of gates that ensure only the best leads get through. However, in your quest to shield your sales team from any futile effort whatsoever, you’ve built in a number of major delays that significantly decrease their chances of connecting with a key decision maker once they finally do reach out.

How does this play out IRL? Here are a few examples:

  • Sales waits for Marketing to pull lists of qualified leads together on a daily/weekly basis instead of receiving leads in real time
  • Your infrastructure routes leads based on somewhat arbitrary variables, prioritizing your business instead of your prospects, when another rep may be just as suited to provide the right information
  • Sales teams ignore their prospects’ buying signals and focus instead on generating their own leads

How You Can Improve Your Lead Response Time

Assuming you want to capture more ROI on the leads you’re generating, it’s not too late to make a few small changes that will have a great impact on your team’s success. Consider any or all of these strategies:

  1. Implement a real-time messaging app on your website: traditional forms are mostly out and conversational marketing is in! Give your prospects the opportunity to engage how they’d prefer. By allowing your prospects to start a conversation with you while they’re on your website, you’ve better aligned your process with how people actually shop.

    And as it turns out, only 15% of B2B companies are currently leveraging this approach, so there is a good chance that you could get out ahead of your competition by providing visitors a positive experience.
  2. Give your prospects access to sales people sooner: by eliminating many of the gatekeeping mechanisms you’ve probably built into your system (complicated lead scoring, compounded qualification criteria, a monitoring inbox, etc.), you’ll open up the opportunity for people who want to learn more about how your product/service can help them to learn faster and make decisions sooner.
  3. Coach your sales reps on conversational selling: with the evolution of the inbound approach, many sales folks understand the value of an “always be helping” mindset versus the old-school “always be closing” mindset; however, there are still plenty of aggressive sellers out there using more traditional interrogation-style questioning which is a major put off. And probably why marketers are somewhat leery of putting sales people on the frontline conversion points.

    If you’re not sure where to start, here’s a great explanation of the inbound selling methodology that should help you shift the paradigm of your sales team.

I realize that in the age of digital marketing, it’s not hard to send off an automated email response when someone submits an inquiry through your contact us page. It’s important to keep in mind that faster is not always better, particularly if it means sacrificing personalization. A conversational approach is key.

How You Can Build a Lead Response Time Mechanism in HubSpot

“What gets tracked, gets done.”

I’ve heard that around the agency no less than a dozen times during my tenure. And it’s absolutely true. Without any way to measure how your team is performing in terms of following up with leads, how will you know whether you need to improve or maintain performance? It’ll be a mystery. How will you hold your team accountable? You won’t.

Strangely, HubSpot CRM doesn’t yet have a built-in mechanism for capturing the amount of time it took an individual to follow up with a lead from the time of conversion. Given the importance, though, I’ve tinkered around with a few tools to create one.

I’m sure there are several workarounds or approaches, but below is the process I came up with.

 

Here's what you'll need to get started

  • Administrative access to HubSpot Marketing Professional
  • Access to paid Zapier account (check with the client to see if they have one; if not, talk with them about creating one (ideal) or use ours)
  • Access to client Google Drive in order to create a Google Sheet (if they do not have one, talk with them about creating one (ideal) or use ours)

 

Step 1: Connect HubSpot and HubSpot CRM accounts to Zapier

Step 2: Inside of HubSpot, create the following custom contact properties:

  • Lead Hand-off Timestamp (Single-line Text Field)
  • Time to First Contact (Number Field)

Step 3: Create a Google Sheet with the following column headers: 

  • Email
  • Time
  • First Contacted
  • Response Time

Step 4: Connect the Google Sheets account to Zapier

how to track company lead response time

 

Step 5: Create Zap #1 and HubSpot Workflow #1

5a. Select Zapier's Webhooks application as the Trigger app. Then select "Catch Hook" as the specific trigger. Copy the webhook URL (You may see an option to select a childhook—you can skip this).

 

lead follow up time tracking

 

what_is_your_campanys_lead_response_time_4

 

5b. Create a HubSpot workflow using your Sales lead hand-off parameters as the enrollment criteria and do not allow re-enrollment. Then add "Trigger a webhook" as the first action. Select “POST” as the webhook type. Paste in the URL webhook value from your clipboard. Run a test contact through the workflow. 

how to build a lead response tracker

5c. Back inside of Zapier's "Edit Options" tab, leave the Child Key field blank and click "Continue." 

5d. Test the Step. Because you ran a test contact through your HubSpot workflow, you should see that contact information specific to that record when you click the "view your hook" link.

5e. In Zapier, add the "Formatter by Zapier" app as the next Action. Select the "Date/Time" option. In the "Set Up Template" tab, set the attributes accordingly: Transform = Format

  • Input =
  • To Format = MMMM DD YYYY HH:mm:ss
  • To Timezone = select client's timezone

5f. Test the step. The output should be displayed as the time that you enrolled the test contact into Workflow #1.

how to track follow up time for leads

 

5g. Next, add HubSpot CRM as the next Action in this zap. Select the "Create or Update Contact" option. Specify which HubSpot CRM account you'd like to utilize.

create a lead follow up tracker

 

In the "Set Up Template" area, map the following:

  • [Contact Email] = contact's email address from Step 1

track sales follow-up times

  • [Lead Hand-off Timestamp] = output from Step 2
what-is-your-companys-lead-response-time8

5h. Finally, select the Google Sheets app as the last Action. Choose the "Create Spreadsheet Row" option. Connect to the proper Google Sheets account. In the "Edit Template" area, set/map the following: 

  • Spreadsheet = the one you created for this mechanism
  • Worksheet = same as above
  • Email = output email address from Step 1
  • Time = the output from Step 2

5i. Test the step. Make sure that the data displayed matches the expected output.

 

Step 6: Log an email/call on your test contact record inside HubSpot

Step 7: Create Zap #2 and HubSpot Workflow #2

7a. Select Zapier's Webhooks application as the Trigger app. Then select "Catch Hook" as the specific trigger. Copy the webhook URL.

7b. Create a HubSpot workflow using your Sales lead hand-off parameters AND “[Last Contacted] is less than 0 days ago” as the enrollment criteria and do not allow re-enrollment. Then add "Trigger a webhook" as the first action. Paste in the URL webhook value from your clipboard. Run your test contact through the workflow. 

how to create a lead response tracker

7c. Back inside of Zapier's "Edit Options" tab, leave the Child Key field blank and click "Continue." 

7d. Test the Step. Because you ran a test contact through your HubSpot workflow, you should see that contact information specific to that record when you click the "view your hook" link.


7e. Add HubSpot as your next action and choose the Search function, “Find Contact.” Indicate which HubSpot account you wish to use. In the “Set Up Options” section, select the email address input from Step 1. Continue and test.

7f. Add another Search function as Step 3. Select Google Sheets’ “Lookup Spreadsheet Row” function.

following up with sales leads on time

Indicate which Google Sheets account should be referenced. In the “Edit Options” section, set/map the following:

 

  • Spreadsheet = the one you created for this mechanism
  • Worksheet = same as above
  • Lookup Column = Email
  • Lookup Value = the email address output from Step 2

how to set up a lead response tracker 

 

7g. Continue and test. The output displayed should match what appears in the Google Sheet for your test contact.

setting up a lead follow-up report


7h. Add Google Sheets’ “Update Spreadsheet Row” as the next Action.

what-is-your-companys-lead-response-time-15

After you select the Action option and the related Google Sheets account, set/map the following in the “Edit Options” section:

 

  • Spreadsheet = the one you created for this mechanism
  • Worksheet = same as above
  • Row = Use a Custom Value (advanced)
  • Custom Value for Row ID = “Row”
  • Email = blank
  • Time = blank
  • First Contacted =
  • Response Time = =SUM(“”-“[Step 3 Time value]”) NOTE: be sure that the date and time format in your Google sheet matches the date and time format in your Zap, "MM/dd/yyyy h:mm AM/PM"

how to set up lead response time reporting 

 

7i. Continue and test.

7j. Add Google Sheets’ “Create Spreadsheet Row” as the next Action. This is counterintuitive, but it will work – promise. Connect the relevant spreadsheet and worksheet. Then set/map the following:

 

  • Email = email address input from Step 2
  • Time = blank
  • First Contacted =
  • Response Time = =SUM((“”-“[Lead Hand-off Timestamp]”)*24)
    • NOTE: [Lead Hand-off Timestamp] is a Zapier token in the dropdown from Step 1

 

7k. Finally, add HubSpot’s “Create or Update Contact” as the last Action. Connect relevant account. In the Edit Template section, set/map the following:

  • Contact Email = email address output from Step 2
  • Time to First Contact = Response Time value output from Step 4

Now, you have a field populating the amount of time it took a Sales rep to follow up with a lead that was handed off to them. How can you leverage this field for reporting purposes?

Creating a Dashboard Widget to Track Average Lead Response Time

Step 1: Navigate to the dashboard where you would like to implement the widget. Add a report.

Step 2: Find the “Average Days to Close” report template under the left-side “Contacts” tab. Click “Customize.”

Step 3: Within the Filters section along the left, change “Date Property” to “Sales Qualified Lead” (as long as this is the Lifecycle Stage that indicates a hand-off has been made to Sales; if not, adjust accordingly).

Step 4: Change the first field under the “Measures” section to “Became a sales qualified lead date.”

Step 5: Change the “Days to close” to “Time to First Contact.”

creating a dashboard widget to track lead follow up times

Step 6: Update the title of the widget and click “Update on dashboard.”

 

Boost Your Bottom Line with Improved Lead Response Times

Now that you’ve got a way to track how your team is performing when it comes to following up with leads in a timely manner, you can challenge them to adjust their methods. If you’re one of the 90% of organizations failing to follow up within five minutes, you’ve got some room for serious improvement. If you’re one of the 58% of organization failing to follow-up at all, holy shit, you’ve got your work cut out for you. At least you’ll know where you stand, though, and be able to craft a plan to improve accordingly. 

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Amanda Daume

Amanda Daume

Amanda is a lifelong learner and passionate about all things marketing. She is dedicated to the strategies behind growth promotion, branding and social media. She has spent the last five years refining her marketing skills. She’s a pretty good snowboarder too for someone who learned on the cornfields of Iowa. Amanda is constantly upping everyone’s ability here by implementing innovative ideas, whether it’s a better way to post socially or a better way to track sales qualified leads.

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