How to Quickly Respond to Inbound Leads (and Why It Matters)


When you hear the term “speed to lead”, what comes to mind? For most business owners, it’s a salesperson sitting by the phone, ready to answer the second it rings. Or maybe you imagine one of your team members sitting at the computer, instantly fielding emails and chat messages to move leads further into your sales funnel. Both are accurate pictures, but they’re incomplete. 

Inbound leads represent potential fresh customers or clients. But before you can reap the financial rewards they might offer, you must convert them. Speed is the most critical factor here, but it’s not the only one.

Why a quick response to leads is important

Before we explain how to respond to leads quickly, let’s talk about why it matters. Here are a few eye-opening statistics from HBR that should highlight why your sales team needs to be on point when it comes to responding to inbound leads.

  • Conversion rates are 8 times higher during the first five minutes after a query.
  • 78% of leads convert/purchase from the first business to respond to their queries.
  • 88% of consumers expect a response within an hour, but many businesses take a day to respond to emails. Forbes points out that the average response time for all industries is 47 hours.
  • A response sent even 30 minutes after a lead’s query/contact is 21 times less effective than the same response sent within the first five minutes.

As you can see, quick responses are essential to your success. However, how do you ensure that your team can respond as fast as possible? It’s not rocket science, but many businesses, particularly SMBs, find it more than a little challenging. We have a few simple, easy-to-implement tips that will help you respond as quickly as possible to every lead.

How to respond quickly to leads

While responding quickly to leads can be very challenging, it’s not impossible. We designed our list of tips so that any business can utilize them to improve speed to lead and decrease wait times. 

1. Design to engage from the beginning

First, make sure that your landing pages are designed to engage from the first moment a lead hits them. Each landing page needs a clear, unambiguous headline that follows logically from the content that led the visitor to the page (such as a PPC or social media ad). You need a contact form front and center, too, and a very clear call to action. 

2. Add web chat to the mix

One great way to respond quickly to leads is to skip the usual query process. In most situations, a lead would reach out to you via a web form or email, and then a sales team member would read the query and respond to it. You can circumvent that by adding a chatbot to your website. Today’s AI is advanced enough that chatbots can answer questions, provide information and guidance, and more. 

At, our industry-leading chat can respond differently based on factors like geographic location or specific trigger words, to initiate Q&As, playbooks, and more. And when the lead is ready to convert, the chatbot can seamlessly hand the lead off to a human agent.

3. Know each lead’s potential value

All leads are not created equal. Your team must know the potential value of each lead so they can be prioritized appropriately. For instance, a lead reaching out for more information about a problem they’re experiencing is unlikely to convert immediately. They’re likely still in the research and information-gathering stage of the process. However, a lead querying about a product or service may be ready to purchase right away. Other factors that play into lead prioritization include:

  • Budget
  • Purchase timeline
  • Specific requirements
  • Upsell potential

4. Automate your answering

When a lead reaches out, their call should not go to voicemail. By capturing each call as it occurs, you eliminate the need to respond promptly. This goes for email and SMS queries, too. By automating your responses, there’s no need to respond after the fact. You capture the lead at the moment of their query. Of course, you’re probably wondering how this differs from voicemail and other truly automated solutions.

What we’re talking about here is using live virtual receptionists to answer every call, chat, or SMS that comes through your business, both during normal business hours and after hours. Human agents can answer questions, provide guidance, handle lead screening and intake, and hand off warm leads to your team when they’re ready to take the next step.

It’s time to change the inbound lead response paradigm

You cannot afford to wait too long to respond to inbound leads. That allows your competitors to capture them. Well-designed landing pages, the use of advanced technology like AI-based chatbots embedded right on your website, and the use of virtual receptionists can ensure that leads never need to wait for a response in the first place. 

At, we’re committed to providing a full-spectrum solution to your sales generation needs, from website chat functionality to our expert virtual receptionists. We can offer around-the-clock service, lead screening and intake, warm phone transfers, appointment booking, and many other solutions so you never need to worry that you’re lagging when it comes to responding to your inbound leads. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to

Lead Screening
Lead Generation
Written by Mike Graner

Mike Graner is the Marketing Manager at He focuses on engaging content, company updates, and in-person events.

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