Time is one of the most valuable assets we have. That’s why research on the topic of how to optimise the time of your sales reps has always fascinated me. But while I have a strong appreciation for good research, I equally despise the use of data that makes broad generalisations that can be quite harmful to an organisation, actually leading to suboptimal results.
One such statistic going around is that the BEST time to make a sales call is 4-6 pm, and if you want to narrow it down even further, 4-6 pm on Thursday. This is one of those stats that perpetuates laziness among sales reps. One or two hours of calling on leads each day is simply not enough, especially for reps whose primary job function is contacting and qualifying leads.
This brings me to Velocify’s newest study, “When to Call Sales Leads,” which reveals that calling at the so-called 'optimal' times results in small improvements compared with a strategy that solely focuses on following up quickly and then at strategic intervals. The study debunks the myth of achieving greater success by calling at the optimal time of day that too many sales reps have been mistakenly following. Let’s dive in further.
Minimal advantage to calling at the so called 'optimal' time of day
When we started research on this topic, we looked at millions of lead records and phone calls across hundreds of client databases, including B2B and B2C companies across several industries, in an effort to establish the success rate of different call times.
We did find that some differences exist between contact rates at different times of day, but ultimately, those differences are pretty trivial. In fact, the findings showcased that for calls made within a 12-hour window, the difference between the 'best' and 'worst' time to call was only 2.6%. This difference is probably not enough to base your entire calling strategy on.
Speed to call for the first contact attempt trumps all
On the other hand, the study found significant performance differences when comparing average contact and conversion rates based on time that elapsed after the prospect first showed interest and the first phone call was made.
What does this mean? Prospects that received a call within one minute of their initial inquiry were 391% more likely to convert than those called any time after that. While many industry findings will advise calling at 4 pm, if a new inquiry came in at 9 am, waiting 7 hours to follow up would clearly have a negative impact on the likelihood of conversion.
A sequence-based follow-up strategy drives real results
The report also found that following up in strategic intervals proved to be far more effective than scheduling calls for the optimal time of day. By using the optimal call sequence strategy – six calls over a 15-day period, according to our research – companies can look forward to overall improvement in contact rates by 110%.
“This new research validates what we see in our business every day,” said Dan Hansen, president and COO at MedPro Waste Disposal. “Responding to new leads fast, and leveraging a sequence-based approach to follow-up, has been a perfect formula for success. In fact, we saw a 20% increase in revenue in the first year using Velocify by mapping out and following our ideal sequenced-based sales process with every prospect.”
Velocify’s findings prove that timing matters, but time of day is not so important. In addition, the sequence in which a sales rep follows up can make or break the sale. Most sales reps would assume they know when to follow up and you may have a good system; however, I would urge you to revisit your best practices and see if you can upgrade to a great system in order to reach your highest conversion potential.
By Nick Hedges, CEO of Velocify. Velocify products transform and accelerate sales performance, they also help sales reps connect with more prospects, so they can spend their time doing what they do best – closing deals! More on-demand virtual learning experiences are available here. The Ultimate Guide to Inquiry Response.