by: Bill Johnson, co-Founder and CEO, Salesvue
Many sales organizations are thinking about adding an integrated dialer to their Salesforce instance to help sales teams sell more. One vendor at Dreamforce was capitalizing on this trend by asking executives to imagine life with a sales team that made 300 calls per day per representative. While that is certainly a great volume target to hit, it is not the only or even the best metric to use to measure sales team effectiveness. A better metric is the number of attempts it takes to connect with a prospect.
As a career sales executive and now CEO and co-founder of Salesvue, I can verify that this volume-based brute force technique misses two key variables necessary to connect with prospects: 1) timing and frequency of the calls and 2) the standardized process behind the activity.
Timing and Frequency
According to Trish Bertuzzi of the Bridge group, it currently takes an average of 7.8 attempts to connect to a prospect. Most reps won’t call a single prospect that many times. It doesn’t really matter if a rep can make 300 calls in a day if they aren’t making the number of calls necessary to connect with a single prospect. With that in mind, dialer technology alone may have little benefit to the bottom line.
Let’s say I get my team to buy into the 7.8 attempts and set them loose to hit that metric. Without a standardized process, however, each rep will translate their activity requirements differently. One rep may call 7.8 times in one day; another calls once a day for 7.8 days; one may call once a week for 7.8 weeks, and one calls once a month for 7.8 months.
The number of activities isn’t the magic bullet; it’s the timing and frequency of the activity that will drive results. In the scenario above, it’s just as likely that no conversations occur, as it is that at least one rep will get lucky. Luck, however, isn’t the best tool for forecasting and business planning.
By enabling a standardized process for prospect follow-up and determining the cadence of activity, management can gain some true insight into what / who is working or not working.
One of the other companies I co-founded is called LeadJen. It manages outbound calling for hundreds of companies. LeadJen discovered that the number of activities necessary to make a connection varies wildly.
For instance, a departmental solution calling into one functional area might take an average of four attempts, while an enterprise solution selling into a different functional area might take 12. The average of those two would be close to Trish’s number, but as you can see the average isn’t particularly relevant to connecting to prospects.
Salesvue’s own results targeting heads of sales, heads of marketing and owners of SMB companies shows that calls 9 thru 15 convert at a rate that’s twice as high as calls one through eight.
Every prospect is as different as the sales teams that are trying to reach them. For your team to succeed, you need more than just an activity boost with a built-in dialer. Standardize the process, set the timing and frequency of the calls and then measure the results to determine what is the best fit for your market. You’ll be amazed at the success you’ll start to have.
One Last Thing
I built Salesvue on this concept from the experience we continue to have at LeadJen. Salesvue is a native Salesforce technology that includes four major features paramount to your revenue growth:
1) Sales Acceleration Console. Our Acceleration Console is the home screen for all prospecting and opportunity management activities conducted by an inside sales team. The screen includes a one-stop view of all the activities that need to be accomplished on each day, a list of every contact that needs to be called and time it is in the prospect’s time zone. When a prospect name is clicked, all information about that prospect is displayed on console allowing the sales team member to quickly review the case history and prepare for the call. Making the call is as simple as clicking on the built-in dialer button. Once the call is made, the results can be dispositioned easily and follow-up tasks automatically generated and scheduled—all on the same screen.
The reason this feature is important is simple: It makes Salesforce easier to use. Rather than the traditional 12 clicks to log a call, it takes just 2. When Salesforce is easier to use, your inside sales team is more likely to use it and accurately input data.
Customers have reported that our Sales Acceleration Console has increased activities by up to 40%, translating into increased revenue!
2) Intelligent Sales Playbook for Standardized, Guided Selling. Unique to Salesvue, the Intelligent Playbook is a series of activity plans that generate the greatest number of conversations possible. The playbooks are “intelligent” because they are based on data culled from hundreds of thousands of calling hours. In the future, these plans will be dynamically updated. With standardized activities comes visibility into what/who is working or not working, activity volume and other information like the number of activities that need to be executed to connect with a customer.
These plans are also customizable.
Our Intelligent Playbook has been credited for increasing conversions by 500% with one of our customers.
3) Sales Activity Insight with Detailed Analytics. Sales is the last frontier to be measured, standardized and reported with any level of detail beyond basic funnel reporting. This lack of visibility into sales team activity hides problems that, if solved, could increase revenue. Our Sales Activity Insight feature solves this problem by providing detailed analytics on sales team activity. With this new layer of intelligence, management can quickly fine-tune teams, course correct and know exactly how many activities must be done for a sale to occur.
With this feature, we dynamically (in real time) reveal the metrics that run your organization. We call those metrics The Math of Sales. And from a single screen, managers can see how many activities translate into a conversation, how many conversations create an opportunity and how many opportunities convert to a sale. Dollar values are attached to each step, giving clear visibility into the pipeline on a daily basis.
With this data, executives can do many things including building hiring plans, evaluating teams, and understanding the opportunity cost of a sales meeting or other activity that may reduce the number of calls completed.
This feature has been called “the most important sales analytics” of any solution by another one of our customers.
4) Sales Acceleration Dialer. Dialers are important to sales acceleration and we have one, too. Built directly into the Sales Acceleration Console, our dialing technology includes great features including call activity logging and reporting and global presence.