I love it when I get an immediate response from an inquiry. Responding in real time provides a “wow” factor that demonstrates your organization’s dedication to the prospect and customer. What could be more important than responding to an inquiry? Think about it, you’re only top of mind for a short period of time so you must take advantage immediately. When a prospect or customer is calling or trying to connect with you the earth should stop rotating. I may have taken that a bit further than necessary but you get the point.

Real time response rules! It shouldn’t be surprising that the faster you can react to a sales inquiry the better results you’ll get. Here are just a few stats to get your attention on the importance of responding in real time:

– making contact increased 100 fold if the lead was called within five minutes, vs. 30
– the chances of qualifying a lead were 21 times better if the lead was called within 5 minutes
– 35-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first
(Source: InsideSales.com)

These are good enough reasons to make inbound response time a KPI (key performance indicators) for sales and customer reps.

Tips for turning your organization into a real time response team.

1) Add Live Chat to your site
This is a great way to interact with your visitors in real time to start the conversation. You’ll find that some of your visitors prefer this method of communication over email and phone because its a more anonymous way of communicating and a good way to get their most fundamental questions answered. Your reps can start the qualification process and collect valuable data along the the way. Once qualified you can turn the chat into a real time call if necessary. If you choose the right live chat provider you can also export your chat sessions and leads into your CRM system.

2) Respond to social posts
This is likely the most missed response opportunity. Start by monitoring posts about your company, prospects, customers and key competitors. Then start responding (engagement) to relevant post where you can help answer a question and provide valuable input. Social is one of the best ways to start the dialog with your prospects (future customers) and customers.  For btob sales LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are the best social platforms to start the engagement and monitoring process. 

3) Email response
Campaigns are reactive; we send the campaign and wait for a response, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be proactive. Sending a campaign will generate immediate response with opens and clicks. Immediately after hitting the send button start monitoring the opens and clicks to prioritize follow up. Again staying top of mind is critical, start calling those who have responded (open, clicks) to your emails while they’re still engaged. Marketing and sales should coordinate to create a best practice for follow up. Get more out of your most valuable inbound efforts and be proactive.

4) Pick up the phone
There is nothing worse than an inbound call going to voice mail during normal business hours. Monitor peak calling times and make sure you staff the phones accordingly. Make picking up the phone a KPI and measure connects (pick ups) vs. voice mails. Similar to chat the inbound call is by nature a real time event so make it a priority to pick up.

5) Inbound form submission – not all leads are equal
All inbound leads should be followed up in a timely manner. However, high quality leads need to be followed up in near real time. Typically leads that require more data like “request demo” or “contact us” should be called immediately. If you call just after submission the odds are in your favor to get them live as they are most likely still sitting in front of their screen. The reaction you receive is priceless, “Wow that was fast I just hit the submit button”. Set yourself apart from the competition from the very beginning of the relationship.

Put these best practices in place and no doubt you’ll see better results. Make sense? Would love to hear your thoughts?

Part of the “real time” series