Research-Based Advice for B2B Sales

This week I am pleased to showcase one of our Platinum members Doreen Ashton-Wagner from Greenfield Services. I learned a lot from this article and I know you will too. Doreen was generous to summarize her recent participation in an informative B2B Sales webinar.

Research-Based Advice for B2B Sales

By Doreen Ashton Wagner, Greenfield Services Inc.

In a recent webinar sponsored by the B2B Round Table, Dave Elkington CEO of offered some eye-opening statistics on the state of business-to-business sales practices in North America.  Elkington’s company conducts sales response audits and based on research with over 700 corporate sales organizations, they found:

  • At least 35% of companies do not respond to phone or internet leads at all. In some industries this number is as high as 63%.
  • When they do respond to a lead, most companies attempt to reach the prospect an average of 1.29 times.
  • The most successful sales organizations attempt to reach contacts an average of 6 to 8 times.
  • 78% of sales go to the company who responded first!

The lesson: to perform above the norm, you must respond quickly and be persistent.

Other interesting findings reported by Elkington included:

  • Sales reps improve their connection rate with prospects by almost 300% if they phone a direct line versus dialling a switchboard and extension.  To obtain a direct-dial line, reps should make it a habit to ask, “what is the best way for us to reach you directly?”  If a prospect is truly interested, they might even divulge a mobile phone number.
  • To avoid “telephone tag”, salespeople should make phone appointments.  Sending a calendar invitation (through MS-Outlook or Google Calendar) improves chances that such an appointment is kept by 20%.  For a 30% improvement, reps should send a reminder 4 to 12 hours prior to the appointment.
  • The best hours of the day to reach a prospect is 8 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m.  These two time frames are 150% more effective that 12 to 2 p.m.
  • Wednesdays and Thursdays are reportedly 80% better to connect with prospects than Mondays and Tuesdays.  Note:  I always hesitate to peg the “best times” because too often sales reps use it as an excuse for not prospecting.  The best time to prospect is everyday!
  • When following up on email inquiries, and assuming a phone number is provided, a salesperson should try to call the prospect first, even if they only reach voice mail.  This allows the rep to thank the prospect for their inquiry and make a personal connection.  Then answer the lead by return email.
  • Finally Elkington says, “Leave great a great voice mail or don’t leave one at all.”  He recommends testing different voice mail text, and using the one that garners the highest level of response.

To view the webinar, click here.  If you’re interested in learning more about B2B sales & marketing best practices, join the discussion on B2B Round Table on LinkedIN.


Thanks for sharing Doreen!

Dedicated to increasing your sales,



13 responses to “Research-Based Advice for B2B Sales

  1. Colleen….Thank you for sharing this research. I think every Sales Manager should look at this data and match it their own.

  2. […] your sales process? The proof is in the numbers. For more on statistics and sales results, read the full article by Doreen Ashton […]

  3. Cold calling … even the name is enough to strike fear into the heart of many a small business owner!

  4. I absolutely go along with what the guy on a couple of comments above just said

  5. […] You can read the full post here. […]

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