When it comes to leads, consumer intent is much like a deli sandwich. If you are judging by appearance alone, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a lead that is five minutes old and one that is five hours old. Sure, they both look good, but looks can be deceiving – especially if you don’t know how old they are before buying them.

Marketers are smart enough today to know that what’s on the surface doesn’t tell the whole story about a consumer. But, without a way to determine the true age of a lead in real-time before purchasing it, they can end up sending their sales reps a lot of stale and soggy deli sandwiches that have no intent of tasting good.

“Speed to lead” is a crucial measurement because consumer intent to get a quote or make a purchase is highest at time zero. Most marketers have seen the Kellogg / MIT study by Dr. James Oldroyd that revealed that the odds of contacting a lead if they are called within five minutes are 100 times higher versus one called in 30 minutes. Intuitively, this makes sense because other companies have already had a chance to make their pitch. That’s why great salespeople want to be the first to pitch the consumer.

What if you don’t work at the deli?

If you don’t make the sandwich, you’re missing part of its journey. You have no idea how old it is when you go to consume it. For marketers and sales teams, speed to lead is typically measured as the time between lead receipt and the first contact attempt. But, if the lead didn’t originate on your own website, how would you know the true age of the lead in order to quantify speed to lead?

Answer: You wouldn’t.

The challenge is that it’s not about when you first received the lead, but rather when the consumer actually submitted an inquiry. What is crucial to determining the amount of time between the lead event and when the agent receives it is finding a resource of consumer intent data that enables you to see the full consumer journey, outside of just your website, so that you know the true time of origination for all of your leads. That will give you the true “lead age”—and the lower the lead age, the greater the level the likeliness of the consumer to be contacted, quoted and sold.

This layer of data will not only help predict performance, but also allow you to have productive conversations with your lead providers to improve that metric for your sales agents. After all, everyone wants to grab a deli sandwich that has just been made because, that is when it (in)tends to taste the best!

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