Are You Tracking Outbound Sales Calls, Conversations or Both?
Are you tracking outbound sales calls, conversations or both?
Most companies these days track the number of outbound sales calls their sales agents make on a daily basis, which is great. But think about it. What does it really tell you about the performance of your business?
If this is the primary KPI by which your teams’ activity is measured, you might be benchmarking performance against some rather misleading data.
Tracking outbound sales calls alone is more a measure of how busy a person is as opposed to tracking the effectiveness of that activity. In reality, there are only 3 types of conversations that actually add value to your business.
- Cold Calls –Conversations where you pitch a new decision maker
- Prospect Calls – Conversations with potential customers in your pipeline
- Customer Calls – Conversations with your existing customers
These specific call types are actual conversations, the conversations and interactions that build your business; so it’s important we should drill down a layer and track these too.
Lets be objective about it. You could have a team of 10 making 200 calls per day. On paper, the activity looks great, but if only 10 of those calls were conversations that added any kind of tangible value to your business, the 200 calls per day start to look like quite a static number.
Extreme example perhaps, but illustrates the point.
Having just set up Salesforce.com internally, it was really important that we’re not only able to track our outbound sales calls and activities but more importantly how much of that activity is actually growing our business.
So what does this mean in practice – Tracking results?
No. That’s another kettle of fish entirely. What it means is that you need to be a little more granular with how you and your team log calls.
Let me show you…
When we log outbound calls, we select a value from a pick-list:
The pick-list itself has our 3 key outcomes at the top, which are the conversations that build PSTC and our customers’ businesses.
It’s a 1 second process to log a call accurately and doesn’t create unnecessary headaches to slow down your team.
What’s the benefit?
Actually there’s several, but above all else, it gives you facts, real numbers and a variety of insights that you can use to help make important decisions, support your teams’ needs and improve your profitability.
1 – Accurate Reporting
A major benefit to logging the call outcome like this is that it makes reporting easy and effective. First of all, create a report to display as a bar chart that shows total outbound calls per person, today.
Then, duplicate that report and add a filter so that it only shows the number of Prospect, Customer and Cold Calls made by each person, today. (Omitting Not There’s and Gatekeepers etc or whatever your chosen values are). Display in the same format.
What you then have on your dashboard is a measure of total activity per person (busyness) v the actual number of conversations they had as a result of that activity.
The latter being a far more realistic insight into how well your team has performed that day.
2 – Data Effectiveness
You can draw a wealth of insights from this stuff. For example, if your team is logging disproportionate amounts of ‘Gatekeeper’ ‘Incorrect Contact’ or ‘Not There’ calls, it could indicate your data quality is poor and is subsequently affecting the performance of your team.
3- Identifying Sales Training Needs
If this was happening to only one or two members across your large team, it could indicate they need support to help them confidently cut through to decision makers or improve their prospecting skills.
If they are logging lots of cold calls but not creating opportunities from them, it probably indicates they need help with their call opening and creating that initial interest. It just helps to indicate which specific part of an outbound sales call one should focus on.
4 –Which Sales Approach Works Best For Me?
The answer lies in your metrics.
Bearing in mind that most of our opportunities are created proactively, by picking up the phone, we like to know that we’re using the most effective sales approaches.
In all of our sales training courses we encourage sales people to track their own metrics in order to understand how effective they really are. One of those key metrics is how many cold calls; or brand new conversations with decision makers they averagely need to have in order to create one new opportunity.
Logging outbound sales calls like this works especially well when you’re optimising, or test-driving, a new pitch or sales approach.
Keep making calls until you’ve made 100 or 200 cold calls with approach A and then simply do the same with approach B.
Monitor daily progress and compare the end results to find out which approach created more opportunities.
Adopt a winner stays on system, continuously refining and split testing minor changes until you hit your sweet spot.
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