Swinging for the Fences in Sales Prospecting

Is Sales Prospecting “Swinging for the Fences”?

The stats on prospecting that have been quoted (me included!) for the past several years go something like this …

  • 48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect
  • 25% of salespeople make a second contact and stop
  • 12% of salespeople only make three contacts and stop
  • Only 10% of salespeople make more than three contacts
  • 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  • 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  • 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  • 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
  • 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

The source cited is “The National Sales Executive Association” and, as it turns out, they don’t exist. Possibly NEVER existed. I was searching for them or rather, an update on these statistics, and came across an article pointing out the source of these stats sounds bogus.


So why are hundreds of sales experts quoting these stats?

Probably because they’re believable and close to what we’ve experienced as true.

I haven’t done a formal survey but here’s what I observe to be true about Sales Prospecting Results:

  • When asked about their outreach, MOST salespeople admit they only reach and follow up 2 to 3 times.
  • When a salesperson executes their follow up sequence of 12 touches, they’re usually successful at getting a response by at least touchpoint 5 or 6 (there’s something magical about preparing to 12).
  • Sellers are more successful at getting a response when their touches are closer together.
  • Multiple channel touchpoints also increase response rates when used in a close time frame.

Whether those frequently cited stats are true or not, I believe most sellers don’t have enough touchpoints planned to execute.

The mindset around prospecting is that each outreach is a “swing for the fences” effort whereas what produces more responses is planned touchpoints that are consistent, frequent, and repeat your purpose and value proposition.

Getting base hits or marching the ball down the field is much more effective at generating wins – consistently – than trying trick plays or veraciously swinging for home runs each at-bat.

Business Development outreach success is 50% WHAT you say and 50% how many times you show up to say it.

If you or your sales team doesn’t have a consistent outreach strategy that produces responses, let’s talk.

Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!


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Straightforward, practical and perhaps slightly cheeky, Shawn Karol Sandy's innate gift is helping people find new ways to solve old problems, unique ways to approach new problems and helping businesses re-invent themselves and their sales strategies. With Bold and Brave thought leadership and Clear Action Plans, her impact on business is Measurable and Meaningful and will lead your sales revolution to growth and revenue goals.

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