March/April 2022 Edition

What’s More Important, Speed To Lead vs. Contact Rate?

When you’re calling leads and potential prospects, which makes the most impact?: the speed in which you reach them or the overall contact rate? The short answer is they are equal in terms of closing a sale, and both should be optimized to make the most of every lead that enters your funnel.

Speed to Lead

Speed to lead is described as how long it takes your company to respond to a qualified prospect from the moment they become a lead. This is of course a calculated average and the moment they actually become a lead varies by company and by industry, but it makes perfect sense that the sooner you reach a lead after conversion, the higher the probability is that the sale will close. If someone is submitting a form to learn more, filling out an application to apply, there is no hotter lead than that first 5-10 minutes after they click submit, and the intent to purchase is high. So setting up your processes and system to reach them quickly for the first contact can only help lead toward success.

It’s also important to remember that not everyone wants to talk on the phone. Some people may prefer a text with a link, while others may respond better to a triggered email. Even further, other leads may even respond better to seeing an ad that reminds them they’re even interested or need your product on social. One method of communication should never be prioritized over another and a strategy to utilize phone, SMS, email, and social cohesively should always be in place.

Using those methods to entice leads to reach back out to you if they can’t be reached on the first touch is truly the ultimate goal. An inbound call or message from the ones ready to purchase is the hottest of lead for any type of industry.

Contact Rate

So what about the tire kickers? The ones that don’t know what they want yet and are just looking around? They probably don’t want to talk to anyone and feel pressured right away, so how do you go about warming that lead up? That is where contact rate comes in.

The contact rate is a number found by dividing the number of prospects that answered the phone, responded to a text, etc., by the number of users the contact center reached out to. This helps you determine if the list you are calling, be it from a purchased list or generated by your website, are actually interested in your company and the product(s) you offer.

In terms of straight cold calling, it takes an average of 8 touches to make a sale. Of course, contacting a lead that has filled out a form is not a cold call, but you’re not always going to reach them on the first try either. So it’s important to never stop after the first, second, or even third attempt. The key to a good contact rate is to find the perfect balance to be just aggressive enough but not irritating your potential customer. The cadence you utilize really depends upon what works best for the list you’re working through, which determines how many times they are called over how many days. You never want to completely bombard those prospects with 8 touches in one day or even in one week or more. All that is going to do is to help them decide to never do business with you, or worse, report you as spam. It’s a delicate strategy that you should work closely with your dialer manager to develop a process of trial and error and to always be able to adjust as needed when improvements must be made.

How to Improve Both

As with all things: test everything. Test how many touches are needed, test time of the day that you make calls, test the different methods of communication, test how quickly you need to be reaching out. All of these work together and should always be monitored. Strategies are forever going to be evolving and shifting, so testing and staying on top of it and future trends will help make sure your numbers stay strong. At the end of the day, your speed to lead and contact rates are going to work hand in hand, and both need to be as optimized as possible to help your company produce its best sales results.