Think back to the last time you were looking for a plumber and got in touch with a handful of local companies. Maybe your faucet was leaking or your garbage disposal was stuck — you needed someone quickly. So everything else being equal, whoever had the fastest response would probably be your choice.

Of course, B2B deals are more complex than this. Customers no longer rely on the salesperson to get educated. Instead, Nearly all B2B buying teams will contact your sales team after consuming at least four pieces of content, according to Gartner. So they’re entering the conversation once they’re nearly ready to make a decision on their own. 

What’s more, 78% of B2B customers will buy from the first company to respond to their inquiry. This makes your speed to lead one of the most important metrics to improve if you want to close more deals.

What is Speed to Lead?

Speed to lead is the average time it takes your company to respond to a prospect once they express interest. To calculate your speed to lead, you’ll need to identify when the prospect turns into a lead — this could be when they request a consultation, for example.

In general, the sooner your team can respond, the better.

How to measure your Speed to Lead using HubSpot:

First, create a date-time field for First Connection Date. To do this:

  1. You will need to use the “Create a property” Endpoint under Properties in the HubSpot API Documentation to create a date-time field in HubSpot
  2. Get the API Key in HubSpot under Settings > Integrations > API Key > Generate or Copy
  3. Set the following values under Create a property
    1. name = firstconnectiondate
    2. label = First Connection Date
    3. type = datetime
    4. fieldType = date
    5. groupName = conversioninformation
    6. objectType = contacts
    7. See all params > delete all of the Options
      Create a date time field in HubSpot
  4. Enter the API key and click "Send request"
    How to create a date time field in HubSpot
  5. Confirm the property was created in HubSpot by navigating to Settings > Properties > Contacts. Search for "First Connection Date" and confirm it shows in HubSpot. If it does not, read the error message under "Response" in the API documentation and try again.
  6. Confirm the property was created in HubSpot by navigating to Settings > Properties > Contacts. Search for "First Connection Date" and confirm it shows in HubSpot. If it does not, read the error message under "Response" in the API documentation and try again.

Now, you’ll need to create a workflow to populate the First Connection Date field. To do this:

  1. First, define what qualifies as sales making contact with the lead at your company. Some common options include the first sales email sent, first connected call, or first meeting with the lead.
  2. Enroll contacts into a new workflow triggered by one of the connection activities occurring. 
  3. Add an if/then workflow branch action for each type of enrollment trigger.
  4. Use the Copy property value or Set property value properties to update the First Connection Date field.

Next, it’s time to create a calculation field for Speed to Lead. To do this:

  1. Navigate to Settings > Properties > Contact Properties and select "Create property."
  2. Under group, select Conversion Information.
  3. Under Label, type "Speed to Lead" and click "Next."
  4. Set the Field type to "Calculation."
  5. Set the Calculated property type to "Time between."
  6. Set the Start Date as "First Conversion Date."
  7. Set the End Date to "First Connection Date."
  8. Click "Create."

And finally, it’s time to create a Speed to Lead Summary Report. To do this:

  1. Navigate to Reports > Reports > Create custom report.
  2. Select Single object > Contacts and click "Next."
  3. Click "Add Contact Property" and search for "Speed to Lead."
  4. Click "Visualization."
  5. Select "Summary" and drag "Speed to Lead" from Available properties to display to Displaying.
  6. Change "Total" next to "Speed to Lead" to "Average."
  7. Name the report "Average Speed to Lead."
  8. Click "Save" and "Add to existing dashboard" and add the report to the Sales or Sales Activities Dashboard.

How to Implement HubSpot Sales Automation to Decrease Speed to Lead

Using automation in your CRM is one of the most effective ways to decrease your speed to lead. Depending on your sales team’s size and how they typically engage with customers (phone calls, emails, etc), there’s a lot you can do to alert them once a prospect has become a lead.

First, you can use Kixie, a HubSpot integration with SMS and phone call functionalities that can be set up to trigger a phone call to your sales reps as soon as a qualified lead comes in. Kixie makes it possible to text or call leads based on triggers like opening a specific email. And automatically log all text, call, and email data within HubSpot for easy reporting.

Another option within the HubSpot CRM is setting up workflow automations that trigger alerts that notify the sales team of specific actions like submitting a form or booking a demo. To create a workflow, go to Workflows > Create Workflow and select one of the existing templates (we recommend ‘Notify your sales rep about a lead’ or ‘Send a notification when a meeting is scheduled’). You can also create a workflow from scratch.

To take workflow automation further, define specific parameters to assign leads to a specific sales rep for attribute-based assignment. Or assign leads to the next available rep — aka a round-robin assignment.

And finally, fast-track email communications by implementing HubSpot sales email integration or email sequences to streamline sales communications. You can use automated email threads and reminders for the sales team to engage.

Automation is essential for B2B sales enablement

We don’t need to tell you that B2B sales have significantly evolved in recent years. Buyers now are more informed than ever before and come to the sales rep when they’re almost ready to make a final decision — the ball is in their court. 

Your sales rep’s role is no longer to educate customers but to enable them to make a confident decision. Cleaning data, creating reports, and manually tracking leads as they move down the pipeline shouldn’t eat up your sales team’s time as it keeps them away from decision-makers. 

Thankfully, with tools like HubSpot and Salesforce, you can remove the manual work from the sales process and keep your sales team focused on providing stellar support and closing more deals instead of doing the heavy lifting in the early stages of a sale.

Are you developing your MarTech setup? Check these resources to make sure you’re on the right track.

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