Over the holiday break, someone from the portfolio forwarded me an article from July of last year that references data Connect and Sell released regarding their cold calling call-to conversation conversion ratio.
According to their data from 2010 sample, it takes 22 calls to have one legitimate conversation with a prospect. If that seems like a ridiculously low conversion to you (like it did to me), it’s important to know that the sample only took into consideration teams that were making straight dials — there were no voicemails being left that would lead to returned calls, and no supporting email marketing sent pre or post call attempt.
I decided to look into 3 outbound prospecting teams that I have worked with in the portfolio recently to see if this number was anywhere close to the conversation rate that they had in Q3 of 2011.
The results: the average number of dials that it takes to have one conversation between these 3 teams: 10 (granted these teams do leave voicemails –which may yield them a returned call– and they also send brief intro/follow up emails.)
So after reviewing this article, and doing a little bit of my own data analysis, here are my thoughts:
Like the article stresses, outbound prospectors need to have a LOT of dials to have an appropriate number of conversations. I think this is a very valid point. Lead Qualifiers who make 60 or less calls a day and think they are going to get anywhere should know better – this just ain’t going to cut it. Clearly, based on the average, even the lead qual teams in our portfolio should be making about 100 calls a day in order to hit their conversation goals (10/day). Because at the end of the day, appointment/opportunity creation is the most important KPI, and you can’t generate these without having conversations.
On the other hand, I think that 22 dials resulting in only 1 conversation is a HORRIBLE conversion, and any manager should be completely freaked out if this is their team’s track record.
If you have a really poor call to conversation conversation rate, you should do a thorough assessment of your prospecting organization, and see what may be going wrong. These factors may or may not be affecting your affecting your conversion rate:
- The quality of the lead data (names, titles, phone numbers, etc)
- The appropriateness of the segments that your outbound prospecting team is calling into
- The quality of voicemails messages – are they too long, wordy, pitchy?
- Your team’s approach with gatekeepers — are they pitching to these people, thereby being immediately sent to the decision maker’s mailbox?
- The model day your team has in place — are the making calls during appropriate time(s) to the particular time zones they are targeting?
- Do you have the right team in place — are they competent, using the right messaging, savvy with their calling/lead navigation, and being truthful with their CRM input?
The moral of the story: don’t just assume that if you are having SO few conversations its because that’s “just the way it is — that’s what all cold caller’s experience.” If the conversion rate is anything like 22:1, a piece of your prospecting machine is broken and should be fixed. TRUST ME. Find where the issue lies, and make the necessary changes to better your conversion rate. ASAP.