I hate to say it but the answer is rapidly becoming....Instantly! Here's why.
As businesses move towards 'Inbound Marketing'* and away from 'Interruption Marketing'** form submissions are becoming more prevalent and more important.
We are moving to a point where the customer expectation will be for companies to respond to form submissions almost instantly. We can see this happening now in highly competitive markets such as retail energy sales, phone and internet service providers, retail insurance. Twice in the last week I have been contacted from a form submission before I have had a chance to leave the website!
There are two very good reasons for an instant response:
- The lead is available - you can contact them now, they are not doing anything else - we know that, they have just submitted a form on the web. This can be a massive time saver for your team because you may be able to get them in one call instead of multiple failed attempts later when they are at work etc.
- Your chances of converting the lead with an instant response are massively higher than if you call later; a) because the issue is at the forefront of their mind, the individual is motivated about the matter, that is why they filled in the form - if they can sort it out now they will and b) because you have beaten the competition. There is a strong chance yours isn't the only form they have filled out, so if you can get to them before the competition you get the business - hopefully.
In order to get the best return from your investment and all the effort you are making to generate more leads through your internet presence, the faster you can respond to form submissions the better.
My advice to all businesses is to review their response times and take a view. "Instant" may not be necessary, feasible or viable at this stage. But it should be something on your radar and something to plan your business processes around.
Marketing automation software is also contributing to this trend as it makes it possible for teams of staff to see exactly who is on their website and what they are doing. Alerts can be sent to team members when an individual is on a contact page thus helping the team to respond the second the form is submitted.
*Inbound Marketing roughly speaking is, attracting leads by presenting them with information they want to receive in return for information about them and then nurturing those leads by communicating with them with the right information at the right time based on our knowledge of their needs.
**Interruption Marketing - eg: Advertising, telesales. Pushing your product or service in front of people regardless of whether they may be interested in it at the time.