Decid­ing when, and how often, to con­tact leads can be enough to turn a marketer’s hair gray. All too often, decid­ing on a strat­egy can seem ran­dom. You ask: When should I call?  Will I ever actu­ally reach a real per­son?  How often should I try?  This type of call­ing strat­egy is usu­ally deployed when a con­ver­sa­tion needs to take place to artic­u­late the value propo­si­tion and close the sale (obvi­ously – as opposed to ecommerce).

In recent weeks I have out­lined steps for a suc­cess­ful lead nur­tur­ing strat­egy, includ­ing the ele­ments of strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion and exam­ples of top-notch B2B and B2C lead gen­er­a­tion emails.

Today, I’ll go through some spe­cific tac­tics on know­ing when, and how often, to call leads.

Before I do, though, let me say that if you find it dif­fi­cult, if not down­right painful, to know the “right” strat­egy for when to con­tact a lead, you’re not alone. Most com­pa­nies that I have talked with tend not to con­tact leads in any struc­tured man­ner. Part of the fail­ure is a lack of good information.

Tac­tic #1. Call within 5 min­utes of ini­tial con­tact
A study from Insid​eSales​.com shows that the odds of con­tact­ing a lead by phone drops by 100x in the first 30 minutes.

In a B2B sce­nario, when a com­pany is sell­ing some­thing that is a con­sid­ered pur­chase, it is most effec­tive to fol­low up by phone within 5 min­utes of the ini­tial contact.

In other words, if a prospect comes to your site and fills out a form, you should get that info into the hands of the sales team immediately.

Think about it: someone’s at their desk and they’ve just down­loaded a white paper. The more time that goes by, the less likely they are to remem­ber the inter­ac­tion with your web­site. An hour later, and they’re in another meet­ing. Two days later, and they may have down­loaded mul­ti­ple other things from other sites. If you wait, you’re likely to have to remind them of what they were doing on your web­site in the first place.

Of course, it helps if you have a way to score the lead, so that you’re spend­ing time call­ing only the good ones. That way, you don’t waste your time or theirs.

Tac­tic #2. Call early or late
The best time to call (accord­ing to the study) is between 8:00 and 10:00 in the morn­ing, or between 4:00 and 5:00 in the afternoon.

It makes sense: when peo­ple arrive at work, they tend to take an hour or two to get orga­nized and think through their day before they begin sched­ul­ing meet­ings. That’s a good time to catch them at their desks.

It’s the same for con­sumers: early, they tend to be at home get­ting ready for their day. By 10:00 or so, they’re out run­ning errands, they’re get­ting kids to soc­cer games, and they’re less accessible.

Like­wise, meet­ings tend not to be planned for late in the day, and you’re more likely to catch peo­ple at their desks, or at home.

Lunchtime is the worst time to reach peo­ple. In fact, call­ing between 4:00 and 5:00 gives you a 114% bet­ter chance of reach­ing a con­tact than call­ing between 11:00 and 12:00, accord­ing to Insid​eSales​.com.

Tac­tic #3. Call on Wednes­day or Thurs­day
Wednes­days and Thurs­days tend to be the best days to con­tact a lead. The study shows that call­ing on a Thurs­day is 49.7 per­cent bet­ter than call­ing on Tuesday.

Tac­tic #4. Call up to four times (until you reach them), and send one email, in the first 24 hours.

Your CRM sys­tem needs a cus­tomized flag or field to remove the email automa­tion so as to pre­vent the email being sent if you do reach them on the phone.
Com­pa­nies that call at least four times within the first 24 hours, and who email at least once, have the best chance of suc­cess­fully reach­ing prospects, accord­ing to the study.

Calls should be spaced every 2 to 3 hours (for B2B) and every 4 to 6 hours (B2C).

Tac­tic #5. Test these tac­tics
Bear in mind that these tac­tics should not be taken as a given. There may be dif­fer­ent results for dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies, depend­ing upon their prospects. Rather, use these sug­ges­tions as the begin­ning of a con­ver­sa­tion within your com­pany. Begin inves­ti­gat­ing to see when the most effec­tive times and days are for your industry.

And remem­ber, com­pa­nies like Insid​eSales​.com have auto-calibrating tech­nol­ogy that will auto­mat­i­cally opti­mize dial­ing, to find the best time and day to call. The tech­nol­ogy begins to “learn” when con­nec­tion rates are higher and when the sales rep is more likely to have a con­ver­sa­tion last­ing 20 sec­onds or more. Such tools can be enor­mously help­ful in cre­at­ing a suc­cess­ful lead nur­tur­ing strategy.

In future posts, I’ll share with you the results of a sur­vey we did that looked at 500 com­pa­nies to see how they did in terms of a response strat­egy for qual­i­fied leads. (The sur­vey is likely to be rep­re­sen­ta­tive of all of you read­ing this blog today.) We’ll also dive into best prac­tices of lead scoring.

Next, I’ll share a long-term nur­tur­ing strat­egy, one which shows how often to con­tact a lead over sev­eral weeks.


Interesting information on the best days of the week. Thanks for the post.

Ecommerce Experts
Ecommerce Experts

Great statistics - I can see similar patterns with my sales activities also. Great article.