As marketing and sales professionals, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the five-minute lead response time from a Harvard Business Review study. Since 2011, many businesses replicated this survey in various ways. All found similar results: Your lead response time is critical to sales.

The days of relying solely on email autoresponders and checking your CRM once a day are long gone. Many consumers now expect a real-time response. Not five minutes, not 24 hours, but real-time. Whether a prospect interacts with your brand on social media or leaves a review for your product, a speedy reply boosts your conversion rates.

This is part of the reason that the State of Inbound report found that “30 percent of salespeople say closing deals is getting harder and 40 percent say that getting a response from prospects is getting harder.” A successful marketing strategy takes timely response into account.

Why use marketing tools for automation

You’re probably already taking advantage of email autoresponders on your website. After all, we know that automating various marketing processes saves time and helps us acquire a higher number of leads. In fact, a study by VB Insight and Apsis determined that “80 percent of marketers using automation software generate more leads.”

Automation not only increases the number of leads, but it also raises revenue. HubSpot refers to a Strategic IC report that found that “companies that automate lead management see a 10 percent or more bump in revenue in 6-9 months.”

Automation works because it delivers a near-instant response to a prospect’s actions. But gone are the days of relying on autoresponders for all your lead generation. Increase your sales by using tools for advanced automation that respond quickly and accurately to common requests.

Use tools for lead generation

Provide rapid responses to reviews, questions and actions on your website by automating as much as possible. Several innovative options exist to handle the incoming data and get your leads into the right hands quickly.

Triggered Emails, also called behavioral marketing automation, target a specific behavior on your website and automatically responds to the web user with a personalized email. According to updated figures on the Get Response website, triggered emails outperform autoresponders. Triggered emails generate:

13.48 percent higher open rate.

4.26 percent higher click-through rate.

Chat Bots keep you on top of visitors on your site. An AI voice bot automatically responds to a lead and satisfies the consumers’ need for a fast answer.

In-app chat software also helps you interact with your leads in real-time. By employing messaging apps, you’ll capture these incoming leads with an immediate response. The Aspect Customer Experience Index reports that a consumer’s use of chat software will increase by 250 percent in the coming years.

CRM systems make lead generation tracking simple. Shopify recommends “auto-assigning leads for follow-up to the appropriate rep,” which “can cut down your lead response time.”

Leverage customer reviews for leads

Often we tend to think of customer reviews and social feedback as different from a lead. After all, they’ve already purchased the product. However, your public response to feedback generates more leads. A quick reply to a negative review furnishes proof that there are humans behind the brand — leverage customer reviews to boost your sales and assist with lead generation.

Every minute of your response time is crucial to conversion, which is why successful marketers take control across all channels for lead generation. With tools for automation and review collection services, you’ll stay on top of inquiries and product reviews. By providing a near-instant response, you’ll increase not only the number of leads but also the number of conversions.