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Why it’s so important to follow up sales leads quickly (especially within one hour)

With the continued growth of social media and realtime communication our ability to be patient is diminishing. We expect near instant responses from our online interactions. When it comes to potential customers online it’s no different.

In today’s world sales leads usually derive from two sources – online and offline. While you may approach the two differently, one thing that both sources demand is to be followed-up in a swift and timely manner. In fact, you’re 60-times more likely to convert a sales prospect if you respond within the first hour than you are if you respond after 24 hours.

One of the most common places that customers initiate a sales prospect is the contact form on your website. If you decide to accept online enquiries using a contact form (which you should), make sure that these enquiries are being dealt with by an assigned member of staff. A customer should never have to wait longer than 24 hours for a response. If you can reply within the first hour even better. This instills confidence in the customer that yours is an active business, one that wants their custom. There is nothing worse than a customer taking the time to send an enquiry to a business and not receiving a reply.

Furthermore, when searching online for a service people tend to send enquires to more than one business. Responding before your competitors is one of the simplest ways of increasing your chances of converting that lead. As a reference, around 18.5% of all online leads turn into sales.

If your business is on social media you should be checking multiple times a day for comments and replies and responding to them – even if it’s as simple as acknowledging a kind comment about your product or service. A simple acknowledgement like this can resonate with customers and potential customers. If you have multiple social media accounts and find it hard to keep track of interactions, there are services like Chime for Chrome that aggregate notifications from each account into one simple feed.

Salesforce created the below graphic on online and offline leads, highlighting just how important it is to respond quickly to potential customers and the effect that this has on increasing conversions.

Converting offline and online sales leads infographic

Converting offline and online sales leads infographic

Connor McCarra

Connor is studying Marketing, Innovation and Technology at Dublin City University. He's a freelance web developer and online marketer with an interest in all things technology and mobile. You'll find him tweeting at @connormccarra.

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