Our second blog in the Kipling’s Men series focusses on Kipling’s man ‘When’. As outbound lead generation is getting more difficult, and even more so at the moment, we look at when is the best time to reach out to your prospects in B2B marketing.
When is the best time to reach out to your prospects?
Business-to-business marketing often means dealing with multiple contacts in the buying process. This can result in multiple messages, but that is not for this blog. To some extent timing will be impacted by other Kipling’s men such as ‘who’ you are contacting, as you then need to understand their work patterns to establish when might be best to make contact.
Also ‘what’ you are reaching out to them for will also play a part regarding timing of your contact and whether you get their attention. In other words, ‘when’ could be tied to trigger points or events such as the announcement of falling profits, a merger or acquisition, a change of personnel in a senior role or even new legislation that will impact the business. All of these events will impact on when is the best possible time to make contact in different ways and over certain periods of time.
I always sell to the PA and treat them with the utmost respect
If you are targeting senior people in a business-to-business marketing setting, it is really important to build a strong rapport early on with their PAs. This will help you in establishing the best time and also approach to their boss. If you get them on side, the PA may also be able to tell you what is most likely to attract the attention of their boss. They often know what their boss may be looking for solutions to and can be very helpful in generating a lead.
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Physical timing is also critical
From a timing point of view, you also need to consider when your prospects are also most likely to be receptive to your message. For instance, the time of day can make all the difference: calling somebody mid-morning may get either no response or you could end up interrupting that person, which may lead to getting the wrong response. A negative at this stage could also give you nowhere else to go if they are the key decision maker.
I get so many calls that start with, ‘Hi John, how are you today?’, which do frustrate me for a number of reasons. They do not know me, but are making it sound as if we are best mates, which is overstepping personal boundaries. It also takes a minute or so to actually understand why they are calling, which is neither professional nor helpful. When calling it is very important to announce who you are, where you are calling from and why, but also have the common courtesy to check if it is convenient to talk. This is more likely to get a far better response and agreement for a call back if they are busy right now than anything else.
Picking the right day and time of the week can make all the difference in connecting with senior people. Later in the day tends to work as they often work late, but reception and PA’s are not around out of normal office hours.
Bear in mind the ebb and flow of your audience’s year?
Depending on the sector you are targeting in B2B marketing, there are also particular times of year that may provide more fruitful results. If you are selling into Government upping sales activity in January when departments are getting rid of old budget and planning for new may be best. For other companies, they will often start planning their budget three months before their year-end, so find out when that is and set up the campaign across quieter weeks in the summer.
Knowing ‘When’ to reach out to your target audience is really important. I hope these pointers have given you a few things to consider that will help you to get the best possible results from your outbound lead generation efforts.
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