The Science Behind Sales Calls

When it comes to the best time of day to call web-generated leads, or the optimum day of the week to qualify a lead, sales and marketing teams are often operating based on pure guesswork. Until recently, there hasn’t been a lot of data to suggest that calling prospects at a certain time of the day is more effective than any other.

The Lead Response Management Study, presented by, set out to fill in these knowledge gaps by examining three years of data across six companies. More than 15,000 leads and over 100,000 call attempts were analyzed. The study revolved around one question: “When should companies call web-generated leads for optimal contact and qualification ratios?”

Their answers focused on which days to call, what times, and how quickly. Here are a few quick definitions that you should know before diving into their study (pulled from the Lead Response Management website):

  • call – the physical action of a sales team member calling a lead
  • contact – a call that connects with a live person and lasts for a defined number of seconds
  • qualify – the stage in the lead qualification process where the lead is willing to enter the sales process, possibly by setting up a meeting with a sales rep (definitions of a ‘qualified’ lead vary from company to company)

Day of the Week

If you’re looking for the best day of the week to call to contact leads, Wednesdays and Thursdays are going to be your best bet. Calling on these days is 49.7% more effective than the worst day (Tuesday). The best day to contact a lead to qualify that lead is Thursday, which is 19.1% better than the worst day (Friday). The study also makes a point to mention that Mondays perform poorly in every category, whether it’s contacting or qualifying leads.

Time to Call

So now that you know which day of the week to call your web-generated leads, what about the best time of day? The Lead Response Management study revealed that there is, in fact, a better time of day to call to get optimum contact and qualification ratios. If your sales team is solely interested in making contact with a lead, 4 to 6 PM is going to be their sweet spot. This is 114% better than calling between 11 AM and 12 PM (right before lunch).

If your sales team is more focused on qualifying their leads, the study recommends calling between 8 and 9 AM or 4 and 5 PM. Calling before or after lunch, between 11 and 1 PM, is not recommended.

How Quickly to Call

While not a variable that is always taken into account, how quickly you call your prospects after they become leads can drastically affect the success of your sales calls. In fact, the statistics gathered in this portion of the survey were the most eye-opening of all.

It turns out, it does matter how quickly you call your leads, and it matters a lot. If you wait more than an hour after conversion to call a sales lead, the odds of making contact decrease by more than 10 times. Not only that, but the odds of calling and qualifying a lead decrease by more than 6 times if sales members wait more than an hour to make contact.

One of the most interesting findings of the study is that after 20 hours, each additional call that your sales team makes can actually hurt your odds of making contact with and qualifying a lead — possibly because there is such a fine line between being persistent and being irritating when it comes to sales calls.

Now, what does this mean? Unfortunately, we don’t all have a countless number of leads that we can pick through and toss out when they don’t answer our phone calls within the first 20 hours. But this data does suggest that it might be more effective to reach out to leads via different forms of media if you fail to make contact with them over the phone. Tools like marketing automation can help you do this by tracking your leads’ activities, making it easier to contact them with relevant information about their specific interests. While this portion of the study is inconclusive, it certainly represents an opportunity for further research.

What are your thoughts about this data? Do you think it will be helpful to sales teams going forward? Let us know in the comments!