Have you ever picked up your phone, listened to a sales pitch, and then made a real-time decision to buy simply because the salesperson "caught you at the right time"? Do you think that your priorities and/or personality shift so much over a 24-hour cycle that making a major purchase could hinge on whether it's 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.?

One issue I see come up often in sales is a tendency to over-analyze the minutiae of customer interactions in hopes of finding a hidden advantage. The problem here is that false sense of importance can actually set an organization back. Planning a sales strategy around time of day is the perfect example. The questions above are obviously leading and somewhat exaggerated, but I think they reveal an important truth.

Some players in the sales world have made a big fuss recently about the best time of day to call prospective customers. Some sales organizations are even restructuring their strategy so salespeople only make calls at times of day that are proven to be "optimal." That's all well and good, but will sales success really be determined by the hour on the clock? Probably not. And if salespeople limit their phone outreach to only certain times of day, they're actually just setting themselves back. Instead, salespeople should time their outreach around consistency of contact with each potential customer. And prescriptive technology can help them with that.

It's Not About Timing-It's About Consistency

The unfortunate truth for most areas of sales is that deals rarely close at the first point of contact. Sales is all about relationship building, which means a series of interactions are usually required. Each one is a new opportunity to move the deal forward, but there's a lot at stake. Allow too much time to pass and the opportunity might go cold. Follow up too frequently, and the salesperson might end up wasting too many resources following a bad lead, or even worse, annoy a likely prospect.

According to new Velocify research, the absolute best timing for building conversions is as follows:

  • Contact attempt 1: Within one minute of the opportunity coming in.
  • Contact attempt 2: Within 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Contact attempt 3: Within one to two hours.
  • Contact attempt 4: Five days after the first point of contact.
  • Contact attempt 5: Fourteen days after the first point of contact.
  • Contact attempt 6: Fifteen days after the first point of contact.

Using this strategy more than doubles a salesperson's chance of successfully contacting their customers, and it's easily automated with today's sales solutions. By contrast, the chances of contact for salespeople calling at the "optimal" time-of-day approach, only goes up eight percent.

The crux of the time-of-day based argument is that the chances of conversion are so much higher at certain hours that those are the only times salespeople should get on the phone at all, spending the rest of the day on other types of outreach. Yet phone calls remain the single greatest driver of conversions-especially when implemented as part of a series. A six call sequence will ensure 95 percent of leads that will eventually convert are contacted. Does time-of-day really have such a powerful impact that it's worth limiting salespeople's strongest tactic to catch the optimal window?

The answer is simply and definitively no. Velocify research found that contact rates only vary by one to two percent throughout the day, with the average rate of contact success being 16 percent at any given time and the success rate for the "peak" hour of 2 p.m. being 17 percent. The difference is almost negligible, especially considering the massive cost of deferring a call if, for example, the salesperson missed the 2 p.m. target by a couple of hours.

Prescriptive solutions make implementing a sequenced approach easy. They can track each opportunity's journey and prompt salespeople about the best times to reach back out. Once the software knows the correct sequence, it can help ensure no lead or follow-up ever falls through the cracks.

Structuring a sales strategy around the time of day hamstrings the organization, limits productivity, and ultimately gives competitors an advantage. The logic of delaying might seem tempting to salespeople wary of wasting their energy on fruitless outreach, but the truth is that by pushing those calls off, they end up only hurting themselves. But taking an automated, sequence-based approach--that brings more engagements, more productivity, and more conversions.