Prospective customers are often most responsive to whomever has the quickest response time. Buyers are seeking solutions to solve pressing business challenges, and they want someone who is responsive, efficient, and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, this is an area where many sales organization fail to implement best practices.

To uncover the most effective outreach strategies, and understand how actual sales organizations are responding to leads, my company, Velocify, analyzed the interactions between millions of front-line sales reps and leads, as well as the final outcomes, to formulate its new research report, “The Ultimate Guide to Inquiry Response.” This guide provides sales leaders and reps with the optimal strategy for conducting outreach to leads across multiple channels, ensuring that they are addressing each lead appropriately.

The report revealed an alarming gap between best practices and organizations’ actual processes for following up with prospective customers appropriately. The results show that many sales leaders looking to enhance speed-to-contact and overall conversion rates can benefit from implementing these best practices on a consistent basis. The study shows the improvements sales leaders must make to create and develop high-performing organizations, delivering the ideal contact strategy to engage the best fit for each lead and salesperson.

Key highlights from the study include:

  • Leads that receive two voicemails on six missed calls are 34 percent more likely to convert than those who don’t receive any voicemails at all, yet only 12 percent of leads receive two voicemails.
  • Making between five and seven calls to unresponsive leads offers the best ROI, yet only eight percent of leads receive between five and seven calls.
  • Calling a lead within one minute more than doubles conversion rates, yet only three percent of leads receive a call within one minute.

Email Response

Given today’s highly digital world, it is not surprising companies were better at sending email responses quickly compared to responding with a phone call. This may be a result of the wide array of marketing automation tools available to companies. Despite technological advancements, however, persistence in email was still not up to par with best practices. In fact, only seven percent of leads received between four and six emails, the optimal number of emails from a sales rep prior to moving into a nurture status, while an alarming 28 percent were never responded to via email at all.

Phone Response

Past studies have found that six is the optimal number of callbacks, while this study uncovered that only eight percent of leads received between five and seven calls. Leads are 1.72 times more likely to convert if called back within 30 minutes, and 2.14 times more likely to convert if called back within one minute. Given that the average sales team responds to inbound leads within 48 hours, this was an alarming finding.

Voicemail Response

The study found that while many people no longer think of voicemail as part of a successful contact strategy, it is actually very effective. Research found the ideal number of voicemails when following the six-call approach was two. In fact, leads who received two voicemails on six missed calls were 34 percent more likely to convert than leads who didn’t receive any voicemails at all. However, just 12 percent of leads were left two voicemails, while nearly half of the prospects did not receive a single voicemail.

It is clear that there is substantial room for improvement in many organizations’ approach to outreach. This report shows that organizations can drastically improve their conversion rates by implementing small processes that yield substantial rewards. Now is the time to empower front-line sales reps to achieve consistently better results.