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Ita€™s the same formula every time: An unsolicited call from a breathless sales person just praying you spare him 10 or 15 seconds to spill out his canned pitch. The irony is that many of the same issues that haunted cold calling still apply to warm lead phone follow-up.
Therea€™s no shortage of dubious articles proclaiming theya€™ve found the silver bullet for lead calling success.
While wea€™ve always been pretty quick with our follow-up, it turns out that a flashing red siren has a certain way of really kicking things into gear. Before we implemented our alert system, we knew the industry average of 46 hours to contact online inquiries was way too slow. When we launched our alert system, we started with a simple premise: The best way to get in touch with someone who has submitted a web request is to reach out to them right away.
Herea€™s why we felt this was a reasonable assumption: By submitting a web request, the prospect, lead, or prospective buyer is communicating their interest.
We also reasoned that the more time that elapses, the larger the chance the prospect might find an alternate source to meet their needs or focus on other priorities. Ita€™s one thing for a prospect to a€?question attentiveness,a€? but does speed of follow-up truly affect vendor preference? Based on the research and common sense, we expected to see a positive correlation between quick outreach and improved contact rates.
Our numbers showed that following up within a minute doubled the number of contacts we were able to reach, compared to those we waited a day to follow up with. Perhaps the easiest way to visualise the efficiency impact of calling web prospects quickly is to look at the difference in the number of calls required to qualify a lead based on when we made the first call.
Herea€™s a potentially sticky situation: Youa€™ve tried reaching out a couple of times to a prospect, but you havena€™t been able to get in touch.
The contact initiated the communication, shared their contact info, and requested your follow-up. Youa€™ve already invested time preparing yourself by reviewing any info the contact has provided about their needs. If youa€™ve checked off each of these boxes, I have a hard time concluding anything other than that youa€™ve approached the situation with courtesy and reasonable expectations.
What we found out when we studied our own data was that there is a steep price to pay for cutting short follow-up. Earlier, we documented how decreasing the wait time between submission and follow-up created a positive effect on our contact and qualification rates. We spoke to almost twice as many contacts on our first call as on our second (42,% versus 22,2%). Of course, trying to find a sales person whoa€™d admit they make only one call to leads, is not productive and research shows that the average number of calls sales reps make before giving up is only 1,3.
Leta€™s start first with contact rates broken down by the hour of the day, relative to the average contact rate.
In this adjusted data set, call outcomes did vary by time of the day, but the variance was relatively mild. Mornings still emerged as the most effective time for us to make contact a€” with the notable exception of 8am to 9am calls. But looking at the effect of time of the day, it doesna€™t appear therea€™s that much meat on this particular analytical bone.

As a software matching service, qualifying prospects and matching appropriate solutions is an everyday proposition. But many sales people reserve particular days for contact follow-up and others for other sales and account management activity. Our data points to the middle of the week as the best time to contact leads, with Thursday as the strongest individual day and Friday as the weakest.
But amid the more subjective factors involved in making the most of your prospect follow-up, there are some objective steps you can take: Following up immediately and sticking with leads despite early failures to connect allows us to qualify a considerably larger number of prospects than we otherwise would be able to. Wea€™ve enacted a number of process changes a€” starting with our internal lead alert software a€” to increase the effectiveness of our outreach. Additionally, wea€™ve extended our commitment to decreasing the delay that prospects experience beyond ourselves.
The quicker we called contacts the more likely we were to speak with them and successfully qualify their interest.
Calling contacts a full 10 attempts led to nearly twice as many qualified leads versus calling only once. The middle of the week (T-Th) is a slightly more effective time to reach out to lead contacts. Be relevant to your prospects by understanding their issues and demonstrating you are qualified to resolve them. Do you call prospects to a€?touch basea€™ in an effort to move a stalled engagement along, and instead find yourself disappointed by a continued lack of action. Make change happen by generating excitement around an idea, and igniting the passion of your team. was designed for everyone from the novice job hunter to the HR professional.
And, a four page resume is waaaaay too long, unless you've been one of the chief officers of several smaller companies.
Achieved #1 ranking in regional Customer Service ranking for 2003 (top 3 in 2002 & 2004).
Because no matter what work a person does, he should be able to express himself to his colleagues and seniors. But with any luck, the trend towards warm call marketing to web generated leads will finish the job. On average, 80% of B2B sales calls end up in voicemail and over 90% of voicemails go unreturned. Call volume matters with web leads too, but calling warmer web prospects offers some smarter-not-harder shortcuts. But once we had the notification software in place, we were able to see exactly how wasteful that delay is.
Once theya€™ve requested follow-up, what better time to contact them than when their request is still fresh in their mind? There is published research that independently verifies the value of quick outreach and suggests that modern business buyers expect fast follow-up. When we saw this data, it was one of those, a€?Holy smokes, wea€™re going to have to make some changes,a€? moments that really good BI data occasionally serves up. Was it possible that speeding up outreach might mean we could talk to a larger amount of people, but qualify a smaller number of them? But regardless of how fast or slow follow-up is, statistically the first call is your best bet to get someone on the line. Similar to our experience with contact rates, we nearly doubled our qualification rate by continuing to reach out through the 10th call attempt. How quickly you call leads and how many attempts you make will have a far greater effect on your follow-up success, than when you call leads.

In these cases, ita€™s beneficial to have an understanding of which days yield better contact rates. The ability to quickly establish rapport with leads, identify the most compelling value proposition for each unique contact, and communicate persuasively with selective buyers requires tact and expertise. Recently, we halved the time it takes to make software matches between buyers and sellers by updating our system to conduct software matching twice daily instead of once. Calling within one minute of lead submission doubled our first call successful contact and qualification rates.
Research shows the average number of call attempts sales people make to inbound leads is 1,3 a€” far too few to maximise contact. However, the time of the day of call attempts had a relatively minor influence on lead contact. He's been helping software buyers make informed investments in business software for over a decade. If someone can’t narrate his information in a way that the addressee can’t understand then even a person with very quality information would be depreciated since the working life is built on contradiction, discussion and solution.
The marketing automation software provider, Marketo, recently reported that 93% of B2B buyers now begin their purchasing process with a web search.
And, the pressure to quickly and effectively communicate the value of your services is still very real.
What follows is our best attempt to a€?show the work.a€? We think ita€™s an equation that shows how any business can multiply its web lead follow-up success. By the time we reached the 10th call, we were down to less than 1 in 20 calls resulting in conversations.
By this point in our follow-up, wea€™ve essentially flattened the parabola that represents the increase in overall qualification rate. Over thousands of leads, the trend is visible, but over a smaller number, ita€™s unlikely to be a trend pronounced enough to arrange a schedule around. Over the past year, wea€™ve been able to get our average follow-up time down to within three minutes. With the assistance of our faster-acting software provider partners, wea€™re now able to refer some buyers to their top software recommendation within minutes. But day of the week is even less of a factor than time of the day on lead follow-up success. That’s why even though the employer with less information may reach higher positions if he has great social abilities. We qualified nearly twice as many prospects (39,6% versus 20,9%), just by picking up the phone immediately versus waiting an hour.
We discovered that continuing through the 10th call increased our overall contact rate to nearly 80% a€” almost doubling the contact rate resulting from calling just a single time. Having done so, we can move on without wondering what kind of opportunity cost we sacrificed by doing so.
By maintaining standard office hours, we end up making a disproportionate number of first call attempts in the morning. More than half the prospects who request follow-up on our site will hear from us within one minute.
The difference in contact rate between the best day (Thursday) and the worst (Friday), was less than 3%.

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