Optimizing sales and outreach requires introspection on the part of businesses to determine what techniques are working and how they can be tweaked to better engage prospects. Business-to-business (B2B) organizations hoping to capture more opportunities from lead outreach must consider multiple factors including the method of outreach, the role of each lead and the intent of those leads. All of these components roll into what is known as a touch cycle plan.

Below we will discuss what to include in a touch cycle plan, as well as what role a Sales AI Assistant can play in optimizing your outreach strategy.

 

Who Is Your Audience?

The first step to setting up a touch cycle plan is to assess your audience. B2B research group, SiriusDecisions, lists five audience attributes to consider at this stage:

  • Account type. Not all accounts are created equally. A customer account, for example, will likely require fewer attempts to connect when compared to reaching new prospects. Determine which account type you are targeting in order to develop your touch cycle plan.
  • Location. Where your targets live can affect how they preferred to be touched or whether the prospect is even relevant to your offerings.
  • Role. The role of incoming leads should be taken into consideration for two reasons. The first is that your company has preferred targets who would be most interested in your products and services. The second reason is that executives are notoriously difficult to get a hold of when compared to mid-level employees, thus the former requires a greater number of attempts to get a hold of.
  • Inbound vs. outbound. It is tougher to find a hot lead through cold calling than it is to identify someone who has downloaded your marketing materials. Know that inbound and outbound leads require different strategies.
  • Buying groups. When it comes to making purchase decisions for a company or a team, decisions are rarely made by a single person. Rather, buying groups determine the best ways to spend budget on products and services. It’s wise to determine who is inspecting your marketing materials and how many people are potentially interested.

Once you’ve assessed your audience based on the above criteria, you are ready to move onto the components of your touch cycle plan.

 

The Details of Your Touch Cycle Plan

Touch cycle plans need to consider how to best match opportunities to returns. This includes when, how often, and how to touch your leads. Components include:

  • Punctuality. Conversica finds that the best time to follow up with a lead is within the first five minutes after he or she completes a form to access your marketing materials. 
  • Duration. Duration refers to the length of the touch cycle. While this varies widely based on the length of your Sales funnel or customer journey, SiriusDecisons recommends at least 21 business days in length as a best practice.
  • Frequency. Figure out how often you want to attempt to contact your lead. The key is to find a happy medium between pestering the prospect and ignoring them. Generally speaking, it’s best to plan to touch your leads every three to five days.
  • Touch-type. Touch-types include call attempts, voicemails, emails, social media outreach and SMS text messages. The optimal touch-type depends on the audience attributes you determined above as well as the contact information you have on hand.
  • Finding the right mix. It’s important to find the right mix when it comes to outreach.

Conversica finds that the optimal number of attempts to turn a lead into an opportunity is between five and eight. Unfortunately, many Sales and Business Development teams only make one or two attempts before moving on. And who can blame them? It doesn’t make sense to continuously follow up a prospect who simply won’t engage.

However, many folks who would engage if given enough attention turn into wasted opportunities by too few attempts.

 

Adding a Sales AI Assistant to Optimize Your Touch Cycle

Even the most perfectly crafted touch cycle plan will encounter challenges and none are so relevant as too many accounts and leads for overstretched Sales reps. What do you do when your Sales and BDR teams are overwhelmed with work? The solution may be to hire a Sales AI Assistant.

Intelligent Virtual Assistants are built on a proven and patented platform integrating natural language understanding (NLU) and natural language generation (NLG) to autonomously interpret and respond to contacts. The use cases for Intelligent Virtual Assistants include Sales, Marketing and Customer Success. In this way, a Sales AI Assistant offers another touch-type for Sales teams.

This AI-powered technology is easily scalable, meaning your Virtual Assistant can take on dozens or even hundreds of leads, only passing on the hottest leads to your Sales team. Intelligent Virtual Assistants can also take the time to nurture leads who aren’t yet ready to talk to Sales or Customer Success reps, follow up with dormant leads or customers, and continue multiple attempts until interest is gauged.

So, if you want to optimize your touch cycle plan, introducing Sales AI Assistants is an excellent way to augment your Sales and BDR teams and scale their efforts.

Interested in learning more about touch cycle optimization? Download the SiriusDecisions research brief titled “Determining an Optimal Touch Cycle Plan.”

And while you’re at it, download Conversica’s “Fourth Annual Sales Effectiveness Report” focused on lead follow up.