Inside Sales Corner: Thursday is the New Tuesday for Sales Emails
Successful prospecting has a lot to do with getting the timing right.
Due to the digital age we live in now, today’s prospecting is much more sophisticated, timed to happen when those on the receiving end are the most receptive to our message. With the endless resources the internet provides, buyers are at least 57% of the way through their purchasing process. As sellers, it’s crucial to reach these people early in their research to get brand recognition and their consideration. But, connecting with prospects without feeling invasive and at a time they’ll actually be receptive is hard.
One of our Inside Sales team pros decided to conduct some tests to determine the best time for prospecting. They tracked results when sending out initial sales emails and follow-up sales emails. Below are the results, and how they will apply the information gathered to refine timing for future cold calls and sales emails.
What did you learn with this most recent round of testing?
The average email open rate across all sales email templates was 14.5% with a variance or +/- 4.5%. Below is a breakdown of email performance based on day of the week, time of day, and click-through rates.
Email open rates by day:
Email open rates were highest on Thursday, with Monday, Friday and Wednesday a close second, third and fourth. The worst day was Tuesday. InsideSales.com has ruined Tuesdays.
Email open rates by time of day:
- Between 8:15am-8:45am, the email open rate was 1.5-3% higher at 16.5%.
- Between 9:00am-9:30am and 1:30pm-2:00pm, the email open rate was 15%.
- Between 3:00pm-4:00pm was the worst time at 13.5%.
- I have not tested the 4-5:30pm timeframe yet.
Click throughs by day and call to action:
- Click throughs were 2 times higher on Thursday and Friday vs. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
- Click throughs were 2 times more likely to happen on a “Click Here” call to action vs. clicking on a URL in the message body (which probably reflects the power of suggestion).
- Click throughs were 3 times more likely to happen on a “Click Here” call to action vs. an attachment.
- For follow-up sales emails, click throughs were 2 times higher on a second message vs. a first, third, fourth and fifth message.
Based on all of this data, our takeaway is: Send your second message on Thursday at 8:15am with “Click Here” call to action in the body of the email to optimize your response rate.
How do these numbers change your initial outreach strategy? What can others learn from this testing?
Having deeper insights into the trends of how and when our targeted customers interact with our sales email messaging is critical. The insights gained from this testing at Tellwise helps change each subsequent outreach in a number of ways. There is a lot of work that goes into the planning of a campaign and this information will get us headed in the right direction as far as our timing and sales emails are concerned.
The numbers provided are specific to our targeted prospects. Each organization may have slightly different hot spots or trends based on whom they sell to. It is a good idea to start with industry averages then make variations for your initial A/B testing. Insidesales.com is a great resource for this kind of data. Then use the data you gather that’s specific to your own outreach as a benchmark to continuously improve your strategy.
How do these stats change how you tackle follow-up strategies?
Since the analytics are real-time, it is easy to modify messaging and timing of our sales emails at any time during a campaign. More importantly we will start to build a picture of individual prospects helping us to prioritize which prospects to spend more time on based on their level of interaction. Prioritizing which prospect we reach out to during the prime times will increase our chances of connecting with the most interested prospects.
What are the best practices around following up with prospects now that you have this insight?
Every sales team has a slightly different playbook for following up with prospects. I think about it with a “no prospect left behind” mindset. What I mean is that it is best to continue working all angles until you get to yes or no from that prospect or organization. It may take multiple email campaigns, multiple calls, and multiple demos, but if they fit your ideal profile customer then be persistent. After all, if you truly believe your solution can benefit their organization, you would be doing them an injustice by giving up after only a few attempts. And persistence is necessary: Studies show that 80% of deals are not made until the eighth to twelfth contact.
Not everything can be done on Thursday after 8:15am, so what does that mean for the other available times during the week? How do you take advantage of that time?
First of all, there are other days and times that are close in statistical significance. For example, Monday at 8:30am was a close second for email open rates. So these are not to be overlooked as good times for prospecting. You could also look at it from the other angle and learn when not to send emails or call. I think this kind of information about “when not to” is just as—if not more—important than when to reach out, and I use this information to prioritize how I spend my time. When I spend the optimal day and times doing cold calls and emails, there will be a noticeable increase in results. To make good use of the “when not to” times, I book demos and discovery calls. I also take care of all of my admin tasks during those times. Some of us even use this information as an excuse to go to the gym!
What is your final takeaway for other organizations that want to find optimal prospecting days and times for their own sales teams?
What I learned from testing at Tellwise will guide our own sales reps, but other organizations will need to do their own testing to determine their own ideal days, times and calls to action…and then apply the lessons in the same way we are at Tellwise. The usefulness of this kind of data in determining the best prospecting times applies across the board. However, it’s the data itself that might vary depending on your industry and CTA.