What’s the Best Day and Time to Follow Up on Leads?

Clock FaceI subscribe to the Marketing Sherpa newsletter and find the data on direct marketing to be invaluable. A recent article about when to follow up on leads caught my attention.

MarketingSherpa’s will be hosting a B-to-B Demand Generation Summit next mont, but in the meantime they have released data compiled by Steve Fitzgerald and Steve Heath of FranklinCovey. They rely on a telemarketing team to contact Web users who abandon online shopping carts for their time management-training workshops.

They tried tried placing follow-up calls 15-30 minutes after prospects bailed out of the online registration forms. But the results were terrible. Not only did they fail to convert leads into sales, they offended their customers. The main reason people abandon online shopping carts is that they don’t want to put their credit card information online or have to get the approval from their manager for the typical purchase on the FranklinCovey website.

So they implemented three strategies:
Strategy #1. Follow up on abandoned shopping cart leads within 24 hours
Strategy #2. Schedule phone calls for 3-6 p.m.
Strategy #3. Focus on Friday calls for the best contact rates

What were their findings? I recommend reading the article and checking the FranklinCovey’s Telemarketing Analysis, but in summary:

The highest rates of completed phone calls — leaving a message or setting an appointment to discuss options — and sales conversions occurred when calls were placed the day after visitors abandoned their shopping carts.

Call production dropped off rapidly by the second day, with sales reps recording:

  • Four times fewer conversions
  • Roughly six times fewer completed contacts

The best conversion rates occurred between 3:30 and 4:25 in the afternoon, with conversions rapidly declining for calls placed after 4:45 p.m. Anecdotal reports from the sales team confirmed that they saw good conversion rates in the late afternoon but that very few contacts were willing to complete a transaction after 5 p.m.

However, the rate of completed contacts gradually rose in the late afternoon, peaking between 5:15 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. So while calls made after 5 p.m. were not likely to result in a sale, it was still a good time to try to leave a message or set an appointment to follow up about workshop registration.

Contacts increased each day of the week, with the highest rates coming on Friday. Friday calls resulted in 241% more contacts than Monday calls.

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