With all the ways small businesses are investing in generating leads online—from search advertising to email marketing to retargeting and more—it’s surprising that most don’t have effective solutions in place for managing and responding to their leads. In fact, 55% of companies don’t respond to new sales leads at all.

Think about your business. What does it cost you each time you lose a viable prospect because you didn’t call them back quickly enough, or because you didn’t have a way to stay in touch after your first interaction with them? Getting someone’s business isn’t always easy. But putting in place a system that helps you organize and follow up with leads makes getting more customers—and keeping them—much easier.

So, here are three reasons a good lead management system makes sense for any small business:

1. Up to half of consumers buy from the businesses that respond first.

Many consumers contact your local business to ask about products or services, get a price quote, or better yet, book an appointment. But if you aren’t able to answer, those calls may go to a voicemail system or answering service that can’t provide the information your prospects are looking for. But when you don’t respond quickly enough—or at all—it’s safe to assume those customers are going directly to your competitors— and that’s not what you want. You’re busy, and that’s understandable— you have a business to run. But that doesn’t mean you or someone on your staff shouldn’t make time provide a quick response to legitimate contacts. To ensure you can follow up as quickly as possible, it’s important to use a system that will record every call so that you can return the call and get the business. Better yet, find a comprehensive solution that will have a record of calls that don’t go to voicemail and notify you when you have a new contact so you can follow up immediately.

2. Nearly 75% of new leads are never contacted.

That sounds like a high percentage, right? What does your business do with the calls you’ve received from your online marketing to remind yourself to follow up with them at a later date? If you keep leads’ contact information scribbled on Post-it Notes or on the back of a business card, chances are their information will be lost and you won’t reach back out to them. In fact, research shows that if you don’t call a lead back within one hour, the chances you’ll call them at all decrease by over 10 times. Instead, you need a digital, accessible way to record new lead data, complete with all their contact information and any qualifying information they may provide, such as their interest in certain products or services. Even if it’s something as basic as manually noting lead information in a shared spreadsheet on Google Drive, having a system in place for recording this data will help you and your employees make sure your contacts are consistent and complete so you always know how to contact your leads. A call tracking system can also help you capture, track, and review every lead so you can not only follow up with them but also provide them with the right information they need to make the decision to buy from you.

3. Only half of leads are ready to buy when they contact you.

In many industries, especially those with highly-researched products or services or longer sales cycles (such as an auto dealer or kitchen remodeler), many consumers who contact your business will not be ready to make a purchase immediately.  It’s important not to leave those leads hanging. You need a way to stay in touch with them long after they contact you so you can stay top of mind and entice them to book and buy from your business. That’s where lead nurturing comes in. By sending new prospects – or even existing customers – regular email communications with relevant information about your industry, new product and service offerings, or promotions and specials, they are more likely to remember your business and buy from you.

How are you handling new leads in your business? What are you doing to follow up with them to ensure you close the sale?