Inside Sales Best Practices: 7 Ways to Increase Contact Ratios

Notice I did not say 7 Ways to Increase Contact Rates! What is the difference between a Ratio and a Rate? Socrates said “the beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.”

Socrates - The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms

Socrates – The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms

A Rate is contacts divided by time, like contacts per hour, or contacts per day. It results in a metric, or number, like 10 contacts today, or 1.25 contacts per hour.

A Ratio is contacts divided by dial attempts, which results in a percentage. For example, if I make 100 dials and talk to 10 people, I have a 10% contact ratio.

There are three more Ratios that I like a lot. They are the Correct Contact Ratio, the Contacted Ratio, and the Contactable Ratio.

A Correct Contact is the number of correct decision makers divided by time. Technically, a Contact could be anybody you speak to, whether they influence the buying process or not. A Correct Contact is talking to the right person. Why is tracking this important? It pushes your people to make sure they constantly seek the proverbial Decision Maker(s).

A Contacted Ratio is the percentage of leads you have actually contacted divided by the total leads. Why? According to eleven different ResponseAudit research studies we have done with over 10,000 companies, companies only actually contact 27% of their leads. I will show you in this article how to contact 85-92% of your leads, which we were able to do for nearly two straight years, that is a 3.4X increase!

A Contactable Ratio is the percentage of leads you receive with valid contact information (real phone number) divided by the total number of leads. Web leads in particular are notorious for junk contact information. People want the white paper or ebook, but they don’t want people calling them, so they put in bogus information. (Hint, usually only part of it is bogus.)

BryonGeddes-Dixie State College

Bryon Geddes of Dixie State College

My good friend Professor Bryon Geddes from Dixie State College of Utah and Director of Southern Utah Marketing Resources (S.U.M.R) asked me to share ways to increase contact ratios. He is leading an initiative at Dixie that we will be talking about soon.

Here goes:

    1. Get direct dial phone numbers: This trick was shown to me by Steve Richard of Vorsight and it is so common sense people miss it. Usually doubles or triples effectiveness. The best lead generation reps know this best practice. Vorsight has lots of amazing ways to do this (Steve, maybe a guest blog article with some ideas here?)
    2. Ask for the best time of day: This is also common sense. Put on your web form or other response mechanisms this question, “best time of day to respond?” The individual knows their own schedule better than anyone. When getting stopped by a gatekeeper, ask the same question.
    3. Know your best Time of Day to call: This came out in our original study with Dr. James Oldroyd ( recently mentioned this with a download link) , the contact ratios at 4 to 6pm was 114% higher than right after lunchtime. 8 am was the second best time to make contact. So rearrange your meetings and calling times.
    4. Know your best Day of Week to call: Wednesday and Thursday (again from original study) were 49.7% higher contact ratios than Tuesday. - How to Best Harness Inbound Marketing Leads – How to Best Harness Inbound Marketing Leads

  1. Call back Immediately: This was the biggest finding of all. In a study of over 100,000 datapoints (very statistically significant) Dr. Oldroyd and Dave Elkington found an incredible increase in contact ratios if you call a web lead back in less than 5 minutes. The odds of contacting that lead are 100x higher than even waiting 30 minutes. And the odds of qualifying that lead (setting an appointment to progress in the sales cycles) are 21 times higher. Kristina McElheran of Harvard Business Review (HBR), along with Dr. Oldroyd and Dave Elkington our CEO did a completely updated research study in an article called The Short Life of Online Leads with 10 times the data in March of 2011 that re-validated the original findings. Eleven ResponseAudit studies show the average response time is still just over 49 hours.
  2. Call back Persistently: In these same ResponseAudit studies we found that the average sales rep at a company only makes 1.41 calls before giving up. We find that you need to make 8-12 calls if you want to dramatically increase contact ratios. Think about it. The average contact ratio hovers between 10-11% in business-to-business (B2B). How many calls do you need to make to reach someone? 9 to 10.
  3. Caller IDs matter: What shows up on your caller ID when you dial a busy decision maker? A blocked number? A Toll Free number? A long distance number? Those are all red flags that say, “I don’t know you.” A local caller ID has been shown to be 17% to 193% more effective in getting people to answer than those other three. We have a product called LocalPresence that has been shown to increase contact rates by 58% as a byproduct of many of its other great benefits.

Ok, I’ll try and address contact rates next. Thanks for reading everyone, spread the word about contact ratios!


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A Complete Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes Articles, Including his newly updated “Definition of Inside Sales” and his #1 on all of Forbes (and his most controversial) article “The Death of SEO

Author: Ken Krogue | 
Summary of Ken Krogue’s Forbes articles


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7 thoughts on “Inside Sales Best Practices: 7 Ways to Increase Contact Ratios

  1. It seems there is a contradiction on a set of numbers used re: contact ratios. In the paragraph headed by “Contacted Ratios”, you state that the number of leads contacted is 27%. Under the paragraph headed by “Call back Persistently”, the average contact ratio in B2B is 10-11%.

    Can you explain?

  2. Jeff,

    Yes – they are different ratios:

    1- Contacted Ratios are the number of leads contacted.
    2- Contact Ratios are contacts (live conversations) in a period of time divided by the number of dials in that same period of time.

    Vastly different, One is about lead penetration, the other is tracking sales rep effectiveness.

    Great question.