Our research shows the most successful sales organizations require a minimum of nine contact attempts. Yet, on average, sales reps contact prospects only twice before giving up.

Kendra Lee

October 9, 2014

2 Min Read
Why Your Sales Team’s Prospecting Efforts Aren’t Delivering Results

When typical VAR sales reps are given contact information for a new prospect, initially they tend to adhere to a scripted, standardized outreach process. That might involve an initial phone call during which the salesperson leaves a brief but informative voice mail, a follow-up call a few days later that builds on the first voice mail, and (depending on their level of commitment) a third call the following week to check-in with the prospect.

If the prospect doesn’t respond to any of those phone calls, what’s the next step most salespeople take? You guessed it: They give up—and often for one of these reasons:

  • They get busy and forget about the prospect

  • They aren’t organized enough to use their CRM to manage follow-ups

  • They assume the prospect isn’t really interested

  • They aren’t sure what to say in the fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh calls

  • They aren’t equipped with a good follow-up strategy

While it’s true that VAR business owners and sales managers don’t want sales reps endlessly wasting time on uninterested leads, the fact is two or three contact attempts is not nearly enough. In fact, our research shows the most successful sales organizations require a minimum of nine contact attempts. Yet, on average, sales reps contact prospects only twice before giving up.

This lack of persistence is a critical mistake. It prevents sales organizations from taking advantage of the snowball effect in prospecting—the idea that the more you persist, the more your influence grows with prospects. The more your influence grows, the greater your chances of generating more prospect responses faster. By following-up beyond the second or third attempt, your reps convey a sense of commitment and establish a distinct advantage over competing sales teams that have already quit and moved on.

Most prospects are aware of sales reps’ tendency to give up after just two or three attempts. Prospects choose to weather the storm with the understanding that, after just a couple of calls, those reps will simply lose interest.

If, however, your sales reps persist beyond that point—following up a seventh, eighth or ninth time—then the metaphorical snowball effect comes into play. Your sales reps’ outreach becomes more difficult to ignore and, over time, prospects with even a shred of interest begin to pay attention to what they have to say. If those messages prove to be interesting or particularly valuable, guess what will happen next?

That’s right—prospects will pick up the phone and listen. And at that point, your sales team’s chances of closing the deal will grow significantly.

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About the Author(s)

Kendra Lee

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the award-winning books “The Sales Magnet” and “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.

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