4 major factors contributing to sales effectiveness and why marketing should care

We all know the story — marketing generates leads, sales follows up those leads in an attempt to gauge interest, answers questions and converts them. But we also know it’s not always that simple. It takes speed, persistence and tact to engage a lead in a two-way conversation. 

The factors contributing to sales effectiveness can be boiled down to the “4Ps.” Performing well across the 4Ps helps engage leads and develop them into opportunities. The 4Ps are:

  • Promptness: How quickly does your sales team follow up with a lead or inquiry?
  • Persistence: How many follow up attempts does your sales team make before moving on?
  • Personalization: To what extent was your response personalized? Did the response attempt to move the conversation forward?
  • Performance: Did the email successfully reach the lead’s Primary inbox? Or did it land in Promotions, Social or Spam?

Marketing should have a vested interest in how effective sales’ outreach is – after all, that outreach directly contributes to pipeline generation. Let’s take a look at each of these factors in-depth and understand how marketing could help improve sales’ effectiveness.


Promptness is the most important factor when engaging with an inbound lead. The faster the connection is made, the higher the likelihood of converting a lead to a customer.

But exactly how quick is quick enough? Studies find the odds of qualifying a lead contacted within 5 minutes are 10 times higher compared to leads contacted in 10 minutes — and significantly higher than leads touched after 30 minutes. 

Similarly, speedy responses offer a competitive advantage. Research finds that an astounding 78% of customers buy from the first responder


While promptness is crucial, it’s rare to convert a lead after just one touch. Realistically, it can take as many as 15 touches to get a lead to respond. Persistence as a trend is exacerbated by the pandemic. As budgets tighten, sales cycles lengthen. Sales teams need to deliver more touches to motivate potential customers to take the next steps.


Of all the 4Ps, personalization takes the most amount of time and effort to craft a unique and appealing message. This challenge is compounded when salespeople need to deliver a personalized email promptly to a new lead or repeatedly to persistently chase a lead over time.

Personalized emails receive twice as many opens and twice as many click-throughs as non-personalized emails. Use this five-part standard for defining personalization:

  1. Personalized greeting: Message refers to the contact by name.
  2. Individual sender: The “From” line of the email preferably lists the sender’s name — or at least the company, team or department name.
  3. Signature or contact information: The message provides contact information for the sender to respond.
  4. Success factor: The Sales associate moves the conversation forward by asking for a meeting time, sharing educational information or offering to answer questions.
  5. Personalized content: The content of the email references the lead’s initial request (whether that’s a demo request, a content download or webinar/event attendance).

A truly personalized email contains all five.


As you might expect, personalization goes hand in hand with performance. The more personalized an email is, the more likely it is to land in the recipient’s primary inbox. Beyond the traditional Spam folder, email providers like Gmail also filter emails into various folders. For sellers, there is a binary distinction between messaging landing where they are most effective (the Primary Inbox) versus anywhere else.

What to Do If You’re Falling Short on the 4Ps

It’s easier said than done to consistently nail all four categories at once. To help hit these targets, organizations often resort to increasing headcount by hiring more sales reps. But it’s not enough. Conversica’s 2020 Sales Effectiveness Report finds that only 8 percent of companies surveyed performed well against all 4Ps.

Organizations need new techniques and technologies to help sales teams to improve lead follow-up without tapping additional headcount resources. 

Enter Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs). IVAs augment revenue-generating teams by taking the manual labor out of lead follow-up and proactive outreach. By combining the power of intelligent automation with the human-like aspects of Conversational AI, an Intelligent Virtual Assistant acts as a virtual team member, ensuring you’re able to deliver prompt, persistent and personalized messages at scale.

For marketing teams, this means optimized outreach to the leads you so painstakingly generate, resulting in operational efficiency, better experiences for your audience and ultimately – more revenue. 

Want to see how other businesses and industries stack up against the 4Ps? Read Conversica’s 2020 Sales Effectiveness Report.

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