Prospecting Spotlight: How Many Touchpoints Does It Take Sales to Connect with Buyers?

Marketing, Marketing Technology
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These days, making a sale on the first contact is almost unheard of. Typically, multiple touchpoints are required before the buyer is ready to commit, but the actual numbers vary depending on the industry niche and the size of the deal.

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The larger the deal, the more touchpoints—which means greater effort, persistence, and strategy are needed to bring it home. But since there’s no hard and fast roadmap to tell you when to reach out, how long between follow-ups—or even what method to use to connect with your prospects—where do you draw the line? How many touchpoints should you make before you move on?

You’re invested, so you can’t call it quits too soon. The details and timing are critical and highly nuanced. Every prospect is an individual—who is likely part of a team of buyers from whom they will need consensus.

So today, we’ll talk about what sales needs to do to break through and reach the buyer by working smarter, not harder.

What Are Marketing Touchpoints?

In a nutshell, marketing touchpoints are the interactions a customer makes with your brand throughout the buyer journey. Emails, voicemails, and in-person conversations are the most meaningful touchpoints. These are moments when you have the prospect’s undivided attention and can be used to develop rapport and personalize the connection.

How many touchpoints do you need?

Data supports the idea that engagement increases with successive touchpoints—to a point. After eight touchpoints, it’s not likely to get better. In other words, if you continue past eight touchpoints, engagements will flatline or even decrease over time, and you certainly don’t want your prospect to feel like they’re being harassed.

Top performers might convert in fewer than eight touchpoints, but they’re also usually able to schedule meetings more quickly too. Better, more efficient targeting and quality messaging also helps. When a prospect knows you’ve done your homework, when you’re presenting them with information that’s highly customized and value-focused, the more likely they are to stick with you.

So, while we can assume that eight touchpoints is the benchmark, there is plenty you can do to maximize value and convert in fewer than eight touchpoints.

Analyzing Your Touchpoint Data

Though we set the benchmark at eight touchpoints, that number will vary. What works for another company or industry might not work for you. To get a better idea of how many touchpoints work for your people, company, and products, you need to analyze the data within your organization.

Let’s break it down. First, separate your prospects into no contact, negatives, and positives. From that list, take the positives and break it down to determine how many convert to customers and how many become long-term leads.

Break it down further—by product, by team, by persona, by individual rep. At that point, you should be able to see patterns emerge. It could well be that you have several categories of customers, each with a particular type of behavior, and you’ll begin to identify your point of diminishing returns. Once you know that, you’ll be better able to optimize your time, and you’ll know that adding touchpoints isn’t necessarily going to move your prospect any further toward the goal.

Does timing matter?

Optimizing when you reach out is never a bad idea. According to most marketing professionals, response rates rise as the day, week, and month progresses. In other words, towards the end of the day, Thursday or Friday during the week and the last couple of days of the month are best.

If you’re like most salespeople, you probably do most of your prospecting on an opposite schedule. Hit it hard on Monday, and usually first thing in the morning. But take a moment to consider your buyer. This is likely when they are planning their week as well, prioritizing what they need to do, tweaking their schedule. It’s not the optimum time for a sales call.

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As the day and week near its end, you’re more liable to catch the prospect in a moment where they are less distracted and have more time for you.

As for emails, the magic time is five minutes before or after the top of the hour. This is when they will be either leaving a meeting or going into another one, and many will take that moment to check emails. Landing in that sweet spot means you’ll be among the top few emails they’ll see in their inbox, which dramatically increases your chances of getting a response.

Touchpoint frequency

Many marketers cluster their most frequent touchpoints within the first couple of weeks, gradually tapering off as the month goes by. However, you might get better results by turning that strategy upside down.

Diminishing frequency signals a lack of urgency. Try waiting a few days, a week, or even two weeks between the first and second touchpoint, picking up the pace over the ensuing weeks. So, if you wait two weeks between your first and second touchpoint, a week between two and three, then accelerating by a few days until months’ end, when you’ll reach out once in the morning and once later in the day.

It makes sense to increase the urgency closer to the endpoint instead of fading away to nothing.

Mix it up

Your touchpoints should not be all phone calls or all emails. Phone calls tend to generate better results than email but mixing it up is essential. In other words, all calls and no email or all email and no calls is not the best strategy. Three emails and two calls or two emails and three calls is a good balance—and balance is the key. Through it all, pay attention to the signals you’re getting and play to your buyers’ preferences.

Don’t ignore your digital touchpoints

Keep in mind that in financial services, the customer journey almost always begins online. Buyers today do a lot of online research before connecting with a rep or bringing their recommendations to the buying collective, so you need to ensure you’re making the most of those interactions as they inform what happens next.

According to data crunched by LSA, 90% of loans and 76% of tax prep inquiries begin with an online search. The same study supports the idea that most of those customers did not have a company in mind when they began their search, underscoring the importance of ensuring your online presence is capturing those leads and encouraging them to take the next step.

Omnichannel is essential, as is a solid content strategy. Lead magnets like white papers, tip sheets, and checklists establish authority and provide a basis for meaningful conversations going forward. Your CMS is ground zero for marketing collateral, and a well-stocked media library simplifies the task of satisfying customer queries about everything, from how-to’s to use case examples.

Reducing Touchpoints with Marketing Automation

You’re probably thinking, all these tips and insights are great, but it’s a lot to think about. Where does the “work smarter, not harder” part kick in?

Enabling marketing automation with HubSpot is the answer. HubSpot helps you save time and scale your efforts with automated drip campaigns and a powerful CRM that ensures you don’t miss any opportunities.

To learn more about touchpoint optimization, HubSpot marketing automation, and how we can help, start a conversation with Keller Hawthorne, our VP of Marketing Technology!

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And check out our recent webinar: Transforming HubSpot Marketing Data Into Actionable Sales Insights

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