Persistence Leads to Increased Sales Performance

This is a best practice for sales people by guest poster Erica Bell.

What time is it?
Timing is everything…

Now, you’re probably thinking you’ve heard this many times before – how being persistent while on a call or making a pitch can improve your results. However, this article isn’t just about being persistent; it isn’t enough to just keep trying. Continuing your sales efforts at the right time and through the right means is how you can increase the performance of your sales and those of your team members. Accurate and efficient lead management with the use of CRM software is how your team can turn things.

Seeing the Numbers

If you’re cold calling or are following up with inbound leads, make sure you’re doing so at the right time and with the right information in your hand. The time it takes you to call is essential. The time of day you choose to call is also important. If you’re calling a business after their working hours, your chances of being successful won’t be very high. Not only does time of day matter, but so does where your prospect is in the buying stages.

  • According to a 2011 study by Harvard Business Review, firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.
  • In another study, InsideSales found that making 6 calls to a lead creates up to a 90% chance of contacting a lead… but only 10% of reps even make 3 calls (and 30% of leads in the study didn’t get called at all). They also found the best time to respond to a lead is within 5 minutes!
  • In a study from Dr. James Oldroyd from the Kellogg School of Management, Thursday was the best day to contact a lead in order to qualify that lead. Tuesday and Wednesday ranked second and third, respectively. Thursday was almost 20% better than Friday, which was the worst day of all. He also found B2B prospects are easier to reach and more willing to talk on Thursday.
  • In Oldroyd’s study, the best time to call during the day is early morning (8 to 9 am) followed by late afternoon (4 to 5 pm). The 9 to 10 am slot ranked third, with 2 to 3 pm coming in fourth place.

Make sure your persistence involves following up on various days and on more than one occasion. Just because you may not make contact the first few times doesn’t mean you should abandon the lead. Call until you make contact or reach 6 outreach efforts.

Reading the Data

You want to provide the right information at the right time. Every time you get a lead on the phone, make sure you are ready to provide them with information that will add value to their business or clients. Whether it is the offer for a free whitepaper for research, a new idea on how you can benefit their business or clients or something else, take data from your CRM or sales software to map out buying behavior.

  • Pay attention to region. Conduct some research into who you are calling, the region where they are located, and their hours of operation. Make sure you are calling during hours that are convenient for them, not you.
  • Look at their industry. Different industries can mean different approaches, times to call and more. Spend some time in your sales tracking database to look for trends in various industries.

Hearing No

Sales teams hear no. A lot. Just because you hear no doesn’t mean you should give up hope. If you have an inbound lead, it’s clear that they displayed some type of interest, even if it was just research. Here are a few questions you can ask an inbound lead who is saying no.

  • How they found your site/business. Ask how they found your site or business and you can determine what they were really looking for. You’ll know whether your business can help them or not.
  • Why they chose to fill out the form. This is an elaboration on the first question. You’ll get more specifics into what their needs are and what they are hoping to get from your company.
  • What their chief reason for saying no is. If they’re saying no, ask why. You may be able to work with them on a better fit solution, product or price.

If you’re hearing no from a cold call, you too should be asking why they are saying no. Don’t take “No” as the end of the conversation. Sales teams can find out whether this contact is worth reaching out to in the future. Update your sales software with the reason why. Just because a prospect isn’t ready to buy now doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future as both your companies grow.

Persistence in sales means approaching leads with something new and valuable each and every call, and making more than one call.

Use your CRM or sales software to see when your sales team has the most success reaching out and after what number of calls. It will vary from company to company, but making multiple calls and varying times and gathering information from prospects can lead to a more successful team overall.

Author Bio:

Erica Bell is a small business writer who focuses on topics such as call center software solutions and lead nurturing campaigns. She is a web content writer for Business.com Media, Inc.

Image “What time is it?” by fotologic on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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