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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2017-08-16


It’s no secret that a strong alliance between sales and marketing is essential to an organization’s success. But while the alliance can be strong, questions – and even disagreement – often arises as the two often opposing parties discuss how prospect outreach should be conducted, how long outbound messages should be, and how many times a lead should be touched.


Just in the nick of time — before the next argument breaks out, a new study by has emerged, with an analysis covering sales outreach cadence, frequencies, methods and practices of more than 8,500 companies. It’s no surprise that the report concludes that email remains the most successful tool for enabling B2B sales success, but it also found some other statistics that might be of interest to marketers:


  • Mediums: When it comes to outreach practices, email leads the way. Of the surveyed companies, about a third (32%) use a single email as their touch pattern, which results in almost two-thirds (61%) of initial contacts. A single email was the most common vehicle used to generate initial contacts; the second-most used method was a single phone call with a voicemail message, used by just 6% of those surveyed.


  • Cadence: Determining the sweet spot between reaching out enough but not overdoing it can be an ongoing question for sales and marketing pros. When it comes to outreach cadence, the study found that the median gap between the first and second sales touch is 16 hours, 45 minutes. After each subsequent contact attempt, the timing gap increases, averaging 4.23 days and reaching a maximum of seven days after eight contact attempts.


  • Attempts: The study found that the average number of attempts per lead was just over four. After that, if unsuccessful, it seems intuitive that the prospect just isn’t interested and it might be best for the sales and marketer to move on.


  • Length: The study found that the typical email contains 362 words. Meanwhile, almost half of all voicemails are over 30 seconds in duration.


  • Engagement: In engaging with leads over time, the study found that the median period between first and last contacts was just under five days. However, when broken down by industry, significantly different medians emerge. Software company representatives, for example, have the longest median lead engagement duration (61 days), while the transportation industry’s median was the shortest (12 days). The engagement results also differed by geographies. For example, U.K. companies, on average, attempted to contact a lead almost three days longer than their American counterparts. The median engagement in the U.K. was 7.4 days, while the median in the U.S. was only 4.9 days.


What does this data mean for B2B marketing and sales executives? To start, it can serve as an initial point at which to benchmark your own outreach figures to see how you’re performing compared to other companies. Are your outreach numbers wildly out of line? For example, if you’re making 12 communication attempts at leads, you’re well above the average amount spent by other firms. If the interim time between your first and second contact is three weeks, you may learn that this is also much longer than the average spent by many other companies.


Your own contact and engagement figures may, in fact, be warranted for your product, industry and sales cycle – as proven through ongoing testing of your email campaign outreach efforts. But if you haven’t yet conducted any extensive testing, the figures from this study can provide a starting point, and perhaps even serve to settle any disagreements between sales and marketing.




Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database. â€¨

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At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.

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