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 (Inc.com 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.
Inc.com - How to Best Harness Inbound Marketing Leads

Inc.com – 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!

Ken

Top 30 Articles on www.KenKrogue.com (with total views) and a Summary of Ken’s Forbes Articles

  1. What is Inside Sales? Our Definition of Inside Sales | Ken Krogue – 90,920 Views
  2. Inside Sales Best Practices – 42,361 Views
  3. 31 Linkedin tips – How-to-use-Linkedin-Best-Practices for B2B Prospecting – 19,284 Views
  4. Inside Sales Tips by Ken Krogue – 14,997 Views
  5. Good to Great by Jim Collins – Ken’s Notes Summary – 9,758 Views
  6. About Ken Krogue – 7,439 Views
  7. Inside Sales is Top Method of Lead Generation – 6,439 Views
  8. My Final Comment on my “Death of SEO” column on Forbes – 6,411 Views
  9. Prediction – SEO will be Dead in 2 Years – 5,740 Views
  10. Inside Sales Training – 5,237 Views
  11. Inside Sales Best Practices: 7 Ways to Increase Contact Ratios – 5,202 Views
  12. Ken’s Forbes Articles – 4,960 Views
  13. Is Leaving a Voicemail Worthwhile? – 3,862 Views
  14. Inside Sales Best Practices: Gathering Direct Dial Phone Numbers – 3,624 Views
  15. KPI – Key Performance Indicators – 3,713 Views
  16. Inside Sales versus Outside Sales – 3.505 Views
  17. Harvard Business Review says Sales is No Longer About Relationships – 3,048 Views
  18. Behind the Cloud – Ken’s Notes – 2,745 Views
  19. Climb the Trust Ladder to Increase Results in Prospecting – W/ VIDEO! – 2,744 Views
  20. Inside Sales Tips – Skip to the Beep – 2,678 Views
  21. Lead Generation Strategies: When to Call, When Not to Call? – 2,232 Views
  22. Inside Sales Tips – No Vacations Last Week of the Month – 2,000 Views
  23. Inside Sales Tips – Specialize – 1,842 Views
  24. Ken Krogue’s Forbes Top 25 Most Popular Articles – 1,788 Views
  25. Ken Krogue – About Chauncey Riddle (My Mentor) – 1,396 Views
  26. Inside Sales Tips – Interest is The Counterfeit of Need – 1,375 Views
  27. 6 Reasons Salesforce Users Need Hosted Dialer Technology – 1,276 Views
  28. What is Lead Response Management – 1,204 Views
  29. Ken’s Rules: The Business Card Rule – 1,252 Views
  30. Inside Sales tips: Should Sales Reps be Held to Schedules? – 1,223 Views

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

 

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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.

    Ken