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When should your sales reps make their calls?

27th Nov 2017
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What is the major (and most influenceable) factor separating the top 20% of your salespeople from their peers?

The answer is: Their sales conversations.

But coaching your reps to run better calls doesn’t have an impact unless they’re actually having those calls.

Which brings us to “step zero,” so to speak. Before you do anything else, you have to figure out when is the optimal time for your salespeople to pick up the phone and make their prospecting calls.

To find out when that ideal time is, the team analyzed 30,382 recordings of prospecting calls done by sales development representatives (SDRs).

Every call was mapped to the CRM stage and analyzed against the call’s outcome to correlate with success metrics.

Here is what the data from the research shows us:

When should you call leads?

Like all questions in sales, the answer is complicated. But the simple answer is that it depends on the phone number you dial.

When you have a direct number to the person you’re calling, your chances of connecting are higher in the morning. This makes sense; as the day goes on, people often become embroiled in putting out fires, get stuck in meetings that run over, and they’re more guarded with their time.

But if you’re calling the organization’s main line (as opposed to your contact’s direct line or cell phone), you’re better off calling in the afternoon. It’s likely that executive assistants and receptionists deal with fewer requests or calls in the middle of the day versus the start.

Which day should you call leads?

The day itself makes a difference. According to the InsideSales study on lead response management, Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to make contact with leads. In fact, calling on Thursday is 49.7% more effective than calling on the worst day, Tuesday.

Wednesday and Thursday are also most successful when it comes to calling leads to qualify them. For the purposes of the study, “qualification” means the lead agrees to enter the sales process (typically by scheduling a follow-up appointment with the rep.)

Now that you have this information, you may be tempted to prohibit outreach and qualification calls on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday.

But I wouldn’t advise that.

In sales, if you’re not first, you’re often last. You want reps to strike while your leads are hot. And furthermore, it’s simply not feasible to limit your proactive prospecting to two days of the week.

What I do feel comfortable suggesting is this: If your salesperson is calling a completely cold lead, they should do so in the middle of the week, if possible.

How many times should you call leads?

No matter how many contact attempts your SDRs currently make, I’m betting it’s not enough. As InsideSales famously revealed, the probability of making contact on the first call is relatively low. Yet the percentage climbs with each call a rep makes — from around 25% on the first call to 90% on the sixth call. InsideSales also found the typical salesperson attempts to contact a lead between 1.7 and 2.1 times before they give up.

You should also factor in where the lead came from. An inbound lead is more qualified by default than someone you found online and are reaching out to completely cold — after all, the inbound lead has already indicated a certain level of interest. With that in mind, you should pursue inbound opportunities more persistently.

Research and call vs. just calling

Why don’t SDRs make more calls? It might take mere seconds to call a lead, but reps typically spend anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes doing pre-call research: Checking out their LinkedIn profile, company website, latest press releases, etc.

Our research suggests, however, that this might not be the most effective strategy. Call volume is directly correlated with filling the pipeline with qualified opportunities. In other words, spending less time researching leads so you can call a greater number will lead to more opportunities in your pipeline.

But take this finding with a grain of salt.

First, while you don’t need to know every detail about the individual lead, you do need to be highly informed on their industry and persona. Let’s say you primarily work with HR directors at healthcare companies. To gain credibility with your prospect, you need to intimately know the healthcare space and pain points, responsibilities, and primary success metrics of the HR director’s role.

Second, if you’re calling a C-level person in an organization, the expectations are much higher. According to executives, only one thing is more important than the salesperson’s understanding of their business goals, objectives, and challenges — how trustworthy the salesperson is.

So if you try to reach a member of the C-suite with zero knowledge of their business, you’ll likely get nowhere.

Timing is everything.  By following these data-backed recommendations, your sales team will have the best possible chances of connecting with their buyers — and from there, blowing them away with their sales conversations.

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