When really is the “best” time to call leads? By now, we know the answer to be between 8 and 9 in the morning as well as 4 to 5 in the afternoon. The best day of the week for a sales call? Everyone now knows it’s Wednesdays and Thursdays. That’s based on a widely-cited study from DR. James Oldroyd and InsideSales.com whose findings have now become woven into conventional marketing wisdom.
While Dr. Oldroyd’s research has certainly given us B2B folks some fresh insights on timing our calls, the way that most marketing blogs and news outlets have reported the study’s results leaves a lot to be desired. It’s not hard to find posts that try to promote the study’s findings as the de facto standard for every inside sales rep on Earth to follow, regardless of industry or context.
Will Thursdays work equally work for both an HR manager in the United Kingdom and a CEO at a startup in Singapore? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. The fact is that there’s no single, universally-valid “best” times for reaching out to different prospects via phone calls. The right time to talk to leads will depend on a whole set of factors unique to each individual prospect.
This is where a SMART telemarketing platform comes in handy. SMART is a technology for managing outbound calls that tell inside sales reps which prospects on a call list will most likely pick up the phone and are interested in listening.
This is based on a prospect’s reachability score—computed from that prospect’s lead score, time elapsed since last contact, positive phone contacts, email responses/actions, and website activity. This means SMART calling determines the “best” call schedule for every single prospect instead of assuming that it’s the same for all leads.
SMART calling clearly brings some measurable benefits to an inside sales team’s performance. Here’s a rundown of six ways it boosts sales team productivity (arranged in no particular order):
#1. More talk time, less downtime
With a SMART telemarketing platform, inside sales agents no longer need to carry out many non-value-added (NVA) activities in their workflow. That’s because the system updates reachability scores and lines up calls in real-time.
This means that reps avoid wasting time manually scrolling for the next call or dialing up unavailable prospects. In other words, SMART calling keeps a steady flow of willing and interested prospects on cue.
#2. Better quality of conversations
Lattice Engine estimates that 42% of sales reps feel they don’t have enough information before making a call. That’s a shocking statistic, especially with today’s buyer-led purchase process where prospects expect to speak with knowledgeable sales people.
With the time freed up by SMART calling, inside sales reps can review notes or brush up on a prospect in preparation for a call.
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#3. Reinforces earlier touch points
Depending on whom you ask, it takes 6 to 13 touch points to generate a viable lead. What’s even more interesting is that these touch points take place across different marketing channels.
A SMART telemarketing platform gauges a prospect’s reachability not only through her lead score but also with her responses and activities on past touch points such as calls, emails, and website visits.
#4. Higher lead quality
SMART calling prioritizes prospects not only on availability. It also ranks contacts according to their willingness and interest as well. Prospects with higher reachability have higher lead scores and tend to be more engaged on previous touch points.
This implies that leads higher up the calling cue have a higher likelihood of responding or converting once reps interact with them in live conversations.
#5. Purely data-driven
We’ve already become a little familiar with how reachability scores work. The key thing to consider is that reachability is based on actual prospect data. That’s why a SMART calling system is able to measure reachability for each prospect in the calling database.
These computations are made in real-time, so that reachability scores are kept up-to-date once new data points on any of the attributes become available.
#6. Motivated sales team
By helping inside sales reps focus on what they do best (having meaningful conversations with prospects) instead of doing mindless and repetitive tasks, a SMART telemarketing platform helps develop a more motivated team.
SMART calling removes the barriers that get in the way of most sales reps. Rather than spend a huge part of their day making a ton of calls to unavailable or uninterested contacts, reps can now give their full time and attention to what really matters.
It’s not very smart to simply follow one-size-fits-all tactics in sales and marketing. The best way to find out what’s going to work for you is to test it out using your own data. SMART calling builds on this idea by finding the different “best” times to talk to every decision-maker. It’s no longer just telemarketing, it’s smart telemarketing.