Similar to the Lead Response Management Survey, but with far more precise data, this study set out to fill the knowledge gap that exists between marketing and sales, where companies are using intuition and experience to manage lead response timing rather than science.
To begin the study, we engaged with Professor Oldroyd again, who was now a Faculty Fellow at MIT. The study was designed to identify what day of week, time of day and time from creation to call back a web-generated lead for optimal contact and qualification rates. This study did not address close ratios.
We used the data from the InsideSales.com system (critical to this purpose because it generates and stores quantitative call data linked directly with qualitative lead process and flow information).
We examined 3 years of data across six companies that generate and response to web leads, from over fifteen thousand leads and over one hundred thousand call attempts.
We focused on one question for this study:
When should companies call web-generated leads for optimal contact and qualification ratios?
To standardize the meaning of the results, we used the following definitions and terms:
LRM Study Summary
The behavioural study revealed when sales representatives had success around calling web-generated leads. To find these facts, we looked at leads that were captured through a web form, and attempted or called at least one time. Summarized below are some of the more interesting findings related to speed and timing when responding to web-generated leads:
LRM Study Details
Our first question was to see if there is a best day of the week to call to get the best contact and qualification ratios.
Does this mean that people don’t make commitments (qualify) just before leaving for a weekend?
Note that Monday was consistently poor for every category.
But notice that Friday wasn’t bad to make contact, just poor in qualifying.
Notice the effect of time of day ranged from a low of 19.1% to a high of 49.7%, these are significant numbers.
How many other strategies show a 50% greater chance of contacting a lead, merely by contacting on one day versus another?
Our next question was to see if there is a better time of day to call to get optimal contact and qualification ratios. We used the same definition of terms for call (attempt), contact, and qualify.
Here is what we found:
Does this mean that maybe people don’t want to commit or qualify before going to lunch?
Is it helpful to know that you have a 164% higher chance of qualifying a lead based on when you call it?
Day of week and time of day were found to be statistically significant variables in contacting and qualifying leads, but the significance of data we analyzed around response time dwarfed them both.
We started our analysis by measuring response times by hours and found an incredible drop in the odds of contacting and qualifying leads if you wait to begin calling for just 1 hour.
This is very interesting, but more interesting, and something we weren’t expecting, was a statistically significant effect Dr. Oldroyd found in the data that shows that:
After 20 hours every additional dial your salespeople make actually hurts your ability to make contact to qualify a lead.
What does that suggest?
Do additional call attempts after 20 hours actually turn people off to the point they actually hurt your chances of doing business? Can you warm them up again with different forms of media other than the phone?
We don’t know. But EVERYONE calls leads after 20 hours. Do they know that every additional call actually hurts them? Should your sales reps just stop calling after 20 hours? Ideally, if you had enough leads, and could make enough attempts to make contact in 20 hours, yes.
Is this realistic? It probably is not.
But as a general trend this data is EXTREMELY significant to salespeople.
We are looking into this more.
We figured if the first 20 hours sliced up by hours was important, we should look more precisely at the first 3 hours sliced up by 5 minute segments.
What are the results?
It is even more eye-opening:begin calling for just 1 hour�
How significant is a 100x increase in contact ratios on the value of leads?
How much effect does a 21x increase in qualification have on the overall sales revenue of a company?
How many companies understand the importance of this strategy?
For illustration we decided to test some of these principles first hand. We have a heavy concentration of use of our lead response management solutions by customers from the mortgage and insurance industries so we started calling several of the top lead providers in these two industries and signed up to get quotes on mortgages and insurance.
Lead providers typically sell these leads to varying numbers of lead customers, in these examples we assume the leads were given to anywhere from 4 to 7 customers based on how many called us back.
We recorded what happened.
Our president signed up with the top lead provider to get quotes on his mortgage.
Does that last one who called realize that the odds of qualifying this lead are several thousand times less than if they had called in five minutes?
Our Sales Manager and several of our sales reps filled out web-based health insurance questionnaires with several of the top lead providers we partner with in the insurance industry: