Helping Customers Take the Next Step in Their Buying Journeys

When it comes to lead progression, two important factors are speed and persistence.

That’s according to new research from Velocify, which analyzed millions of interactions between interested buyers and sales representatives to determine the do’s and don’ts of connecting with prospective customers. In addition to lead progression data, “The Ultimate Guide to Inquiry Response: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage with Phone, Voicemail, and Email Best Practices” also conducted lead response assessments on hundreds of sales teams via the submission of virtual leads through company websites and the tracking of how sales teams responded by phone and email.

Here, some insight to help determine the best ways to respond to the actions of potential customers.

Don’t dilly-dally
In the moments after a potential customer fills out a form on a website, most likely he’s not in an important meeting or busy at work. In fact  the research shows that these next few minutes represent a precious window when the lead’s interest is at its pinnacle, and he’s probably available for a phone call. On this front, speed matters. 

Calling a lead within one minute of his data submission more than doubles conversion rates. Velocify’s research shows, however, that the average time for a sales team to respond is 48 hours, and just 3% of inquiries receive a phone response in less than a minute.

When it comes to email, however, the correlation between speed and conversion rate is not as strong—a significantly higher percentage of companies respond via email within an hour. The research shows this is largely due to the wide adoption and efficiency of marketing automation.

Persistence is key
Even if sales teams do respond within minutes, sometimes the potential customer doesn’t answer. That shouldn’t be a deterrent, according to the research. A salesperson should make between five and seven calls—by the sixth attempt 95% of leads who’ll eventually convert have been contacted. When it comes to emails, the research says to send between four and six before moving a lead to a nurture status.

Another interesting statistic: Only 8% of inquiries received between five and seven calls; 32% never received a single call; and 46% received between one and four calls. The email side wasn’t much better—just 7% received between four and six emails; 53% were under-emailed (between one and three emails); and 28% failed to receive a single email.

Leave a message after the beep…or else
Making those six calls to every unresponsive lead may seem excessive, but the report shows that many times inquiring buyers only notice missed calls when voicemails are left—so, in essence, if a salesperson leaves only one voicemail out of the six calls, the prospective buyer may only notice that one. That being said, the research shows that leaving a voicemail on each call attempt is actually detrimental to conversion rates. 

The research found that leads who receive two voicemails on six missed calls are 34% more likely to convert than leads who don’t receive any voicemails at all. However, only 12% of inquiries received two voicemails, while about half received no voicemails at all. Also, leaving five or six voicemails is worse than leaving none at all.

So, marketers now know how many of the six calls after which they should leave a voicemail: two. But the question still remains: After which of the six should they leave the messages? Well, the findings reveal that leaving the first voicemail on the second call attempt is optimal—that method has a 31% higher conversion rate than leaving that voicemail on any other call. The second voicemail should come following the fourth call for optimal results. 

Researchers also conclude from the study that sales teams must show a vested interest when prospective buyers take the time to submit their contact information. Not only does doing so maximize revenue, it also forges a good relationship between buyers and sellers.

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