The Best Time to Contact Leads, According to Science

When to Contact Leads March 1st, 2017 Posted by Sales Enablement No Comment yet

Succeeding in sales, just like succeeding in love, all boils down to timing. To increase your odds of making a deal, you need to be contacting your leads at the right time—when they’re most interested in your product, when they have tie to chat, when their company has a wad of cash burning a hole in their pocket.

But how are you supposed to know when the right time is to reach out to a lead? So much of it is just blind luck. Barring a major press release, you won’t know when a company has been infused with new capital. And you’re never going to know the minute-by-minute schedule of the person you’re about to call. So what’s a salesperson to do?

Though there’s no surefire way to know that you are making contact at the perfect moment, thankfully there are statisticians who have been hard at work trying to understand just this question. Without further ado, here are some key statistics for you to keep in mind the next time you are planning your outreach.

Regardless of Your Outreach Method

When you are pursuing qualified web leads (prospects who have been actively engaged on your website) it pays to be fast: According to Inside Sales, if you follow up with web leads within 5 minutes, you’re 9 times more likely to convert them into a customer.

And this certainly makes sense. If someone is engaged with your content—reading multiple blog posts, filling out forms, viewing multiple pages, viewing your pricing pages—then they are definitely interested in something that your website has to offer. Even if an email or phone call only leads to a friendly chat, you are much better off prioritizing these leads over colder leads or, even worse, a cold call list.

It also pays to keep an eye out for trigger events within your industry. Trigger events are industry news that often signify that a company may be looking to spend money: New executives being hired, expansions, mergers, etc. Follow along with the news in your industry and for dream clients so that you’ll know if they might finally be looking to spend. Need some added incentive? Other research by Inside Sales also shows that 35 to 50 percent of sales go to the vendor that make first contact.

If You are Emailing Leads

If you’re planning to reach out to prospects—either with a one-off email or as a part of a broader lead-nurturing campaign—you can boost your click rates by keeping customer behavior in mind.

Statistically speaking, the best times to email prospects are at 8am and 3pm (according to GetResponse). They seem like odd numbers, but it makes sense. At 8am, people are checking their email before the rush of the workday begins, and at 3pm the day is starting to wind down. If you schedule your email to reach a lead at these times, they may actually have the bandwidth to read them—and maybe even reply.

The day you reach out can be just as important as the time. Mondays are terrible days for outreach: People are just too busy catching up on everything to devote time to an unexpected email. And Fridays aren’t much better because there’s too much to do before the week ends. (Everybody is working for the weekend, after all.)

That’s two days down. Out of the three remaining days, which is the best time to call? It seems that Tuesday emails have the highest open rate compared to other weekdays (according to Experian).

The takeaway? If you’re planning a big email campaign, it might just be in your best interest to schedule delivery for Tuesdays at 8am or 3pm.

If You are Calling Leads

Just as with emailing, there are certain times and days of the week that are more likely to lead to conversations with prospects than others.

The best time to cold call is from 4pm to 5pm. The second-best time is from 8am to 10am . The worst times are 11am and 2pm (all three of these stats from Inside Sales). The same lessons apply to calling as they do to email: The middle of the day is when people are busy doing the bulk of their work, so you should call before or after the rush.

Likewise, Mondays and Fridays are the worst days to call. Specifically, Mondays from 6am to noon, when everyone is getting caught up after the weekend, and Fridays in the afternoon, when everyone has already checked out for the weekend (according to RingDNA). But while Tuesdays are best for email outreach, it’s actually Wednesdays and Thursdays that are the best days to call—from 7am to 9am and from 4pm to 6pm (RingDNA).

Bringing it All Together

Statistically speaking, leads prefer to be contacted at certain times and on certain days. If you can coordinate your efforts so that your outreach reaches these leads at the exact point when they are more likely to have time to talk or read an email, then you will have made your job that much easier. One thing to keep in mind: These numbers are starting points for your outreach efforts, not golden standards set in stone. Experiment with your outreach times to see what works best for you, your industry, and your clients. Every business is different, so the optimal time to contact someone can be very different from the “statistical averages” presented here.


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Tim is an Inbound Marketing Consultant at Pepperland Marketing. Prior to joining the Pepperland team, Tim worked in the publishing industry, most recently as a book editor at The Taunton Press, where he sharpened his writing skills and learned to communicate complex ideas effectively. In addition to his work at Pepperland, he is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications including Grow Magazine, The Huffington Post, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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