We Tested 114 B2B Companies’ Lead Response Times. Here’s What We Learned

Study on lead response time

It’s imperative that organizations respond to inbound leads within minutes.

According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, which analyzed 15,000 unique leads and 100,000 call attempts, you decrease your odds of qualifying a lead by 400% when your response time goes from 5 to 10 minutes!

This begs the question: Are today’s leading B2B companies meeting this aggressive response time? We set out to answer this ourselves. 

Want to know what we learned? You can download the State of Inbound Lead Management to uncover all of our key insights.

You can also read on to better understand how we ran the study and to see what some of our biggest takeaways were.

Related: 5 front office automations worth implementing

How We Measured Lead Response Time

Our research was inspired by earlier studies from Drift and the Harvard Business Review. We not only wanted to complement these studies by providing up-to-date data, but we also wanted to filter the results by factors like industry, company size, region, technology used, etc. That way, readers can better understand their niche and take more appropriate steps toward improving their response rates.

So, how did we run the study? We filled out demo requests for 114 B2B companies. These companies varied in size, industry, region, among other factors. 

Then, at least one hour after we filled out a demo request for a company, we viewed their profile on the software review site, G2. This allowed us to test whether companies are utilizing buyer intent data

The end result? A comprehensive look at how today’s top B2B companies are engaging with inbound leads. 

Related: How to use lead routing to improve your time-to-response

What We Found: Companies Either Ignore Leads or Respond Late

A 5 minute response time proved to be elusive. Here’s what we uncovered: 

More than 99% of companies aren’t responding within 5 minutes.

Though companies by and large failed to respond quickly either by email or phone, they sent personalized emails more often and did so faster than they made phone calls.

Here’s more on how the two communication channels fared:


Only 1 of the 114 companies sent a personalized email within 5 minutes. In addition, it took companies 11 hours and 54 minutes, on average, to deliver this type of response.

A pie chart that shows how long it took companies to respond to leads by email.

It’s worth noting that nearly 1 in 5 companies didn’t respond by email altogether—ignoring what’s widely regarded as an essential way to engage leads.


Just 31% of companies responded to leads by phone.

Even when the reps at these companies did call, their response was heavily delayed. On average, it took companies 14 hours and 29 minutes to respond to leads. And, equally as bad, none of the companies called within 5 minutes and only 42% did so within the hour. 

A pie chart that shows how long it took companies to respond to leads over the phone.

Related: How to improve your speed to lead

Companies that use lead routing tools still take hours to respond to leads.

That isn’t to say that lead routing tools aren’t valuable. Organizations that don’t use one take nearly 13 hours, on average, to respond.

Two bars, where one shows how long it takes companies to respond with a lead routing tool, and the other shows how long it takes to respond without one.

But 3 hours and 32 minutes is still way too long, and it doesn’t bring you much closer to the 5 minute threshold you should be after.

Related: 2 lead management apps that can improve your response time

Ready to improve your lead response time? Learn how Workato’s Lead Bot can help by scheduling a demo with one of our automation experts!