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Call us for a chat on +44 (0)20 7836 3678 or email Amanda Francis


The best days to set and attend new business meetings

Over the next few weeks I will be diving into 12 years of data to share some of our insights into the questions we are most often asked by clients.

We could go back further still but 12 years gives us:

• 2 million calls
• 280,000 decision maker conversations

Which is a pretty robust sample size…..I have included a glossary of terms I will be using in this series of blogs at the end.

On a daily basis we analyse this data to ensure we can set and price realistic campaign outcomes for clients. Typically this means looking at:

• Access and conversion rates by agency type
• Access and conversion rates by target sector
• Individual campaign performance v expectations

But we can analyse this data in many more ways. Here are some of the commonly asked questions we will be shedding some light on in the coming weeks:

• Best day to phone a prospect – if you don’t have enough time for outbound lead generation how can you make sure you pick the right time to secure a new business meeting?
• Best day to meet a prospect – As above
• How important is proximity to the prospect – are you more likely to win new business from a company on your doorstep?
• How important is seniority of job title – does it need to be a Director?
• Does the gender come into it at all – can you profile for chemistry?

Today we are looking at the best day to set a new business meeting and the best day to attend a meeting.

Question 1
When is the best day to call prospects?

The question we’re most often asked by clients “when is the best day to call prospects?”

This is a perfectly natural question to ask if you’re a marketing agency that would like to maximise the 20 hours per month you can devote to outbound new business. However, if you’re a new business agency reaching out to prospects 8 hours per day then the answer is of little consequence. It’s a bit like asking a teacher “when is the best time to teach?” – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings apparently…

This doesn’t mean we don’t know the answer….the table below covers new business meetings set in 2018

Day SET SET % Total
Monday 383 17%
Tuesday 453 20%
Wednesday 470 21%
Thursday 466 21%
Friday 442 20%

 

But this doesn’t mean Wednesday is the best day to set meetings. There’s very little in it between Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And there’s nothing wrong with Mondays – it’s a popular day for team members to take holiday (never mind the 4 Monday bank holidays). We will therefore make less calls per year on a Monday than a Wednesday, which in turn will impact on the absolute number of meetings set – but it’s a decent day conversion wise.

Having said this, and returning to my earlier point, at Alchemis we talk to prospects on behalf of clients lead generation activity all day every day – so we have to make it work, all day every day!
The key advice I would offer a marketing agency that wanted to spend 2-3 days per month on outbound lead generation activity would be:

• Allocate a 5 hour block for outbound calling with an hour for lunch / emails – you will need the break
• Have a defined target list of prospects / companies ready to reach out to. This list should share a common denominator (e.g. industry sector) so that you get to immerse yourself in the issues and terminology of your audience. 25-60 companies would be about right for one day depending on the number of relevant decision makers at each company
• Finally, if I had to recommend a day, I’d say Tuesday. Something will always come up on a Monday (or you just won’t fancy it…). Tuesday gives you time to speak with prospects, send information to those that are most interested and then follow up by phone over Wednesday – Friday. Wednesday could also work but by Thursday and Friday you will find that follow-up calls will have to be made after the weekend, which could mean that some of the urgency is lost.

Question 2
So if there’s not much in it in terms of best day to call, what about the best day to set a new business meeting FOR?

There are several outcomes we could try and measure here but the most obvious ones would be:
• Attended % – on what day are new business meetings most likely to stick
• Win % – what day is best to meet if you want to come away with a new business win under your belt
The analysis threw up some interesting results, which in turn have thrown up a host of other questions and led to much hypothesising around the office.
The first thing to say is that, as opposed to the analysis of the best day to set a meeting, which didn’t point decisively to any one day being superior, there is a big difference in outcomes depending on the day the meeting has been set for!
We looked at 18, 357 meetings set over a 10 year period and found the following…
Mondays and Fridays are best

Win rate

Day Win %
Monday 9.1
Tuesday 7.4
Wednesday 7.9
Thursday 8.7
Friday 9.3
TOTAL 8.3

 

Meetings attended on a Friday had the highest win rate, followed closely by Monday meetings. These meetings were about 15% more likely to result in a win. A Friday meeting is over 20% more likely to result in a new business win than a meeting on Tuesday. Just consider the impact this could have on your business if it were as simple as doing all your new business meetings on a Friday or Monday!
A word about this data. The overall new business win rate for clients is about 1/9 of single unique prospects met or 11%. We will sometimes set follow-up meetings with a prospect meaning it could take 2-3 meetings with a single unique prospect to generate 1 win.

Attended rate
New business meetings are most likely to ‘stick’ on a Friday or Tuesday. Monday has a similar attended rate but Wednesday and Thursday are markedly worse. A Friday meet is about 8% more likely to happen than a Thursday meeting. When combined with the higher win rate on Fridays it really does point to Fridays being better.

Why is this?
We have looked at a range of factors and hypothesise it will for the following reasons:
Urgency – Clients and prospects would rather meet mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday), which is why 77% of all the meetings we have set in the past 10 years have fallen on one of these 3 days. Therefore, if a meeting is set for a Monday or Friday there is likely to be a greater sense of urgency.
Location – It could be that the meetings we set for Mondays and Fridays are more likely to be ‘just around the corner’. An Account Manager would have to be convinced that the meeting represented a rock solid opportunity before they sent their clients on a 200 mile round trip on a Monday morning, or Friday afternoon. So it could be location rather than day that is significant – we will explore this in a future blog.

Glossary
Here is a glossary of terms I will be using in this series of blogs

Discipline The type of Marketing Agency e.g. Digital, Market Research or Creative
Sector Industry sector of target company e.g. Financial Services or Pharmaceuticals
Campaign The programme of activity we undertake for a particular client
Client An agency we are working on behalf of
Prospect A person or company we are reaching out on behalf of our client

 

Metrics Description and typical figures

Calls Dials, successful or otherwise to a named decision maker prospect
13.5% Access rate The % of calls that result in a DM conversation
Decision Maker (DM) Calls Conversations with a named and relevant decision maker for one of our clients (DM Calls)
8.4% conversion rate The % of DM calls that result in a meeting being set
Meetings Set Meetings we have booked into the diary
82% Attended rate The % of meets that will actually happen
Meetings attended Meetings that actually happened
10% Win rate The % of unique meets attended that will result in a win
Wins New clients acquired by our clients as result of Alchemis activity

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