September 28th, 2015
Inside Scoop on Lead Follow Up Strategies
Ken: This is a guest blog with wonderful insights from a detailed study on Lead Follow Up Strategies by Accounting Software. Enjoy…and STUDY this.
If you’re struggling to connect with web lead contacts, you’re not alone. On average, 80% of B2B sales calls end up in voicemail and over 90% of voicemails go unreturned according to numbers from the sales data verification service, RingLead.
Call volume matters with web leads too, but calling warmer web prospects offers some smarter-not-harder shortcuts.
Recently, Find Accounting Software gathered data about web lead follow-up that was too interesting to keep under our hats, entitled “Case Study: 63,256 Calls Boiled Down to the Most Effective Web Lead Follow-up Strategies.”
The study takes on four questions that every sales and marketing employee deals with on a daily basis:
- How does the speed of follow-up affect the results?
- How many calls should be attempted?
- What is the best time of day to call leads?
- What is the best day of the week to call leads?
The quicker we called contacts the more likely we were to speak with them and successfully qualify their interest. Calling within 1 minute of lead submission doubled our first call successful contact and qualification rates.
Would some people be turned off by the quick follow up? Definitely not. In fact, the quicker the call, the better the qualification rate. We qualified nearly twice as many prospects (39.6% versus 20.9%), just by picking up the phone immediately versus waiting an hour.
So how many follow up calls should be made?
Calling contacts a full 10 attempts lead to nearly twice as many qualified leads versus calling only once. Research shows the average number of call attempts salespeople make to inbound leads is 1.3—far too few to maximize contact.
Statistically the first call is your best bet to get someone on the line.
We found that we spoke to almost twice as many contacts on our first call as on our second (42.9% versus 22.2%). From there, the per call contact rates drop off. By the time we reached the 10th call, we were down to less than 1 in 20 individual calls resulting in conversations.
Admittedly, it is hard to get excited about a per call contact rate under 5%. But the cost of making an additional call is cheap (maybe 30-60 seconds). More importantly, over time the contact numbers add up. We discovered that continuing through the 10th call increased our overall contact rate to nearly 80%—almost doubling the contact rate resulting from calling just a single time.
What effect does time of day have on contact rates? We found a few brief points
- The difference in the effect of time of day for calls is fairly minimal
- If you don’t correct for some variables, the data can be a bit misleading
We generally experienced the most success calling leads in the morning hours. However, the time of the day of call attempts had a relatively minor influence on lead contact. The difference in contact rates for the best and worst hours of the day was less than 5%.
What is the best day to follow-up?
The middle of the week (T-Th) is a slightly more effective time to reach out to lead contacts. Calls on Thursday had the highest contact rate. But day of the week is even less of a factor than time of the day on lead follow-up success. The difference in contact rate between the best day (Thursday) and the worst (Friday), was less than 3%.
In summary, numbers are great, but they don’t mean much without acting on them. In our case, we’ve enacted a number of process changes to increase the effectiveness of our outreach. One measure of the progress can be seen in our follow up times. Over the past year, if you calculate our average follow-up time, we’ve been able to get it down to within 3 minutes. More than half the prospects who request follow-up on our site will now hear their phone ring within 1 minute.
Ken Thoreson “operationalizes” sales management systems and processes that pull revenue out of the doldrums into the fresh zone. During the past 17 years, our consulting, advisory, and platform services have illuminated, motivated, and rejuvenated the sales efforts for organizations throughout the world.
He was recently ranked for the third year in a row by Top Sales World magazine as one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers for 2015.
Ken has written 5 books, his latest book is: SLAMMED! for First Time Sales Managers, Ken provides Keynotes, consulting services and products designed to improve business performance. Need more sales management resources? Check out his Sales Management Tool Kit or the Acumen Project and his new Ignite Your Sales Team online video training program for sales leaders.