It’s a situation that sales people know all too well: You get a lead on the phone and they couldn’t seem any less interested in the product, even though you know it’s the right product at the right time for that company.
There is a reason for that and an ideal time to call a sales lead, according to some new data.
The data, compiled by James Oldroyd, a visiting research fellow at MIT, and InsideSales’ David Elkington, looked at three years of 100,000 call attempts across 15,000 leads.
For example, the data found that calls made between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. had a 164 percent better connection rate than those made between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
The data found that the best day of the week to make contact was Thursday, when contact was made 2,340 times on the first call. Wednesday was the next best day to make contact, with 2,260 first calls bearing fruit, followed by Friday at 1,980 calls connecting.
The worst day of the week to make that first call was Tuesday, when only 1,590 first calls results in contact, followed by Monday at 1,640 first calls making contact.
The difference in the success rate of a call made on Thursday compared to a call made on Tuesday was a 49 percent difference.
The best time of the day to call was between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., followed by from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., while the worst times of the day to call were between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Response time once contact was made was probably found to be the most critical factor, as even a difference of five minutes from the moment an interested lead completes a web form to the time a sales representative contacts them can decrease the odds of qualifying 400 percent.
The data found that the best time to make such a call was five minutes after the web form was filled out – which probably explains why car salesmen are so quick with the follow through whenever someone browses the dealership’s vehicles online. Results fell 10 times if a salesman waited even five more minutes to make contact.
“Our research indicates that many firms are too slow to follow up on these leads,” according to an article Oldroyd and Elkington wrote for the Harvard Business Review explaining their findings. “We audited 2,241 U.S. companies, measuring how long each took to respond to a web-generated test lead. Although 37 percent responded to their lead within an hour, and 16 percent responded within one to 24 hours, 24 percent took more than 24 hours—and 23 percent of the companies never responded at all. The average response time, among companies that responded within 30 days, was 42 hours.”
The data also found that many sales reps give up on leads too soon. The most, almost 40 percent, give up after just one call, about 30 percent gave up on the second call and about 15 percent gave up after the third call. Less than five percent of sales reps even attempted as many as six calls.
Since 30 percent of leads never even make contact, both Oldroyd and Elkington felt that salesmen should always make at least six call attempts. The data backed up this claim as 90 percent of salesman who made at least six call attempts made contact. Only about 30 percent of first calls resulted in contact being made.
“By just making a few more call attempts, sales reps can experience up to a 70 percent increase in contact rates,” according to Oldroyd and Elkington’s data.
Oldroyd and Elkington believe that most sales organizations need new tools and processes to meet consumers’ demands in the online age when customers are used to being able to access whatever they want whenever they want with the click of a button.
“Companies are making big investments in order to obtain customer queries from the internet, and they should be responding at internet speed,” according to Oldroyd and Elkington.