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Response is Important

Since I had started my own business, I have encountered occasions where people suddenly stop responding in the middle of discussions. Compared to when I belonged to known established companies, their response speed is probably slower more often than not. I try to respond as soon as possible, especially since I am forgetful these days, but I have always been told that I’m really quick at responding to emails. I found an interesting article (The Short Life of Online Sales Leads) published by Harvard Business School (HBS) in 2011 about online lead response on LinkeIn, and I would like to write about it today. I would like to write about it today.

To summarize the article, “Online advertising to reach potential customers nearly doubled from $12.5 billion to $22.9 billion between 2005 and 2009, and the market is full of businesses offering services and technology to help them do so, but many companies are too slow to follow up with those potential customers. The rationale for this was that “many companies are too slow to follow up with their prospective customers. “ As evidence, they surveyed 2,241 U.S. companies and measured the time it took them to respond to leads. The average response time for companies that responded within 30 days was 42 hours.

In percentage terms, 37% responded to a lead within one hour, followed by 16% within one to 24 hours, and 24% took longer than 24 hours to respond. And 23% had not responded in the first place. The three authors spell out the results as “shocking given the rapid decline in lead closing rates over time. In another study supporting the claim, for 1.25 million leads acquired by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S., leads that were responded to within one hour by the target companies were nearly seven times more likely than leads that were responded to after one hour and nearly 60 times more likely than leads that were responded to after 24 hours by prospective customers was higher.

Why are so many companies investing heavily in generating online leads but failing to respond at “Internet speed?” The authors mention three possibilities (This was in 2011)
(1) The company was accessing the CRM database daily and responding to leads from there, rather than responding when a lead made an inquiry.
(2) Sales people were primarily focused on lead generation and neglected to respond to leads that expressed interest.
(3) Leads were distributed to agents and partners from the viewpoint of geography and fairness (responses were delayed because they were made after distribution)

I don’t know what the current situation is, but from firsthand experience, I have a feeling that if we conducted the survey now, the results would be similar. We don’t get that many leads, and when we do, this article reminded us to try to respond as quickly and appropriately as possible. How about your company? Please check it out.

Masaki “Mark” Iino
Founder & CEO
P.S. We went to Togakushi for enjoying Soba which was made from newly harvested buckwheat.