Inside sales tips are a dime a dozen these days. Everybody’s a guru, it seems. Today’s tips are more practical than most because they are not based on anyone’s whims or intuition. They are based on rock-solid research and real sales data.
When you’re calling a lead, getting him or her on the phone may be the hardest part of the process. Let’s take a look at seven tips that will help you increase your contact rates.
The following list of best practices emerged from the Lead Response Management Research Study done by InsideSales.com in conjuction with Dr. James Oldroyd.
1. Respond Immediately
This first tip is basic. Contact your web leads immediately. The best way to get a lead on the phone is to contact him or her within five minutes of the web lead submission. If you do this, you are 100 times more likely to successfully contact a lead and 21 times more likely to qualify that lead. These numbers go down drastically if you wait even half an hour. So contact those leads, and do it in a matter of minutes.
2. Be Persistent
Don’t give up! The average sales rep only calls each lead once or twice. However, research shows that you can dramatically improve your contact rates by making six attempts. So keep calling.
3. Collect the Right Information
Depending on your company and customers, it might be better to call during certain hours of the day. Finding those times can really help your sales process. Consider adding a field to your web form with the question, “What is the optimal time to contact you?” If your lead wants to be contacted, he or she will let you know when.
4. Call at Optimal Times
If you aren’t able to collect specific information for each lead, you can generally improve your contact rates by calling at certain times of day, although optimal call times may vary by industry. Some of the best times to call are between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Make sure you adjust for different time zones. This is an inside sales tip you can take to the bank.
5. Call on the Best Days
Like time of day, there are also days of the week that are better than others for contacting your leads. Not surprisingly, Monday is not a great day for contacting leads. But neither is Tuesday (which is, in fact, the worst day to call). Wednesday and Thursday, it turns out, are usually the best days to call your leads. Always test, though. The best thing you can do is start researching what works for you and your target industry.
6. Get Direct Dial Numbers
Enough said. Don’t deal with gatekeepers. Get right to the source and you are far more likely to qualify your lead.
7. Use Smart Technology
This last cold calling tip is a tool, rather than a technique. The odds of your leads answering the phone are 57.8 percent higher if they recognize the area code than if you call from a toll, a blocked, or even a long distance number.
That’s why InsideSales.com includes LocalPresence™ in its PowerDialer™ software. LocalPresence allows you to have a local area code show up on your prospect’s Caller ID when you call, even if you are calling from a different area code.
All it takes is a little research and a little effort to see a worthwhile increase in your sales. Think about it. Imagine you have 10 sales reps. Using this last tip alone, you can increase their productivity by 57.8 percent. That’s the equivalent of hiring an additional six full-time sales reps.
Don’t work harder, just work smarter. And use these tips to help.
(Ken Krogue is the president and founder of InsideSales.com. Ken brings more than 24 years of experience in sales, development and marketing in both domestic and international markets and is a key thought leader for the inside sales industry. Prior to founding InsideSales.com, Ken was one of the original founders of UCN, now inContact (NASDAQ:SAAS), where he held a number of positions including Chief Operating Officer. Prior to inContact, he built and directed the inside sales division at FranklinCovey (NYSE:FC). Ken has received many industry awards, including being recognized among the Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2010 and 2012 by the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (AA-ISP). He is a weekly contributor on Forbes.com.)
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