Sales Best Practices

It’s All About Timing — Good Sales Reps Know When to Follow Up

Cari Murray's Avatar

Cari Murray

Senior Manager of Content Marketing

Your sales team knows time is precious, but they probably don’t know just how crucial it is to follow up with leads as soon as possible. Every single day that passes narrows the window of opportunity for sales success.

Don’t just take my word for it — new data from Outreach shows that conversion rates drop sharply as time elapses.

The good news is, now you know, and you can make it work for you and your team.

Why No News Is Bad News

After analyzing sales interactions with over 12 million prospects over the past year, we discovered a clear pattern. There is a direct link between responsiveness and the likelihood of closing a sale. The most interested buyers respond quickly, more positively, and are more likely to book a meeting.

Good news right? Let’s put it another way. The more time that goes by, the less likely a buyer is to ever respond to a seller. Listen closely to that silence — that’s the sound of your number shrinking.

What a Difference a Day Makes

The ideal situation is to create the highest probability of achieving the desired outcome, with the lowest cost of time, energy, and money. Make the process work for you and concentrate efforts in the crucial two-week early-sale period so that you don’t waste energy.

Check your Flux Capacitor because we are about to do some time-traveling. After just two days of buyer silence, the expected conversion rate drops 3x. Two days may not sound like a long time, but it’s an Ice Age in terms of how it impacts sales success.

This trend only continues. The hard numbers show that the longer buyers are silent, the less likely they are to set up a meeting.

Within a 14-day window, we see diminishing returns for high-touch, highly personalized engagement. At the end of 14 days, of the 12 million prospects we studied, only 2 percent ended up scheduling a sales meeting. About 60 percent of those interested buyers responded within a day, and over 92 percent responded within 14 days.

If you haven’t heard back from your prospect after 14 days, they have moved on — and so should you.

Get Time Back on Your Side

Nearly 9 in 10 silent buyers reply within two days of the latest message, which is why this early phase of the cycle is crucial.

The time between touches matters to sales performance, too. The important learning of this data is to make nine attempts of contact across multiple channels throughout the 14-day window.

Try testing this nine-touch, 14-day Sequence with teams, then iterate and improve to make it even better to target buyers.

  • 4 emails
  • 3 calls
  • 2 LinkedIn messages

Don’t Be Deafened by Silence

Focus on silence as a signal of buyer engagement. Buyers buy based on emotion, so it’s crucial to look closely for signals in their responses (or lack of responses) to early sales outreach. What’s the tone of voice? Which channels did they use to reply? Which materials or messages are hitting the mark?

Once you read the signs, you should A/B test your content to see what works, then set up best practices for your team. This provides guardrails to improve sales performance by helping your sales team send the right message at the right time through the right channel — which entices prospects to not only respond, but to respond positively.

Want to learn more? Check out our new infographic, and share the insights with your team to help break buyer silence!