It is technically possible to make 100 sales prospecting calls per day. In fact, I’ve seen sales development reps make upwards of 300 dials in a single day. But every good SDR knows there’s danger in focusing too much on vanity metrics like dials alone.
The old-school thought is “If you put in the hard work, you’ll see the results.” It has certainly been said that “sales is a numbers game, and the more people you talk to, the more you’ll sell.” While there’s truth in these ideas, it’s a fallacy that the only key to success in prospecting is the volume of calls you make. Here are four concrete steps companies should take to improve connect rates, enable more relevant and personalized conversations, and ultimately close more business.
1.) Invest in sales intelligence
Cleaning up the contact database is always on the to-do list but never really gets done. Marketing doesn’t have bandwidth, sales doesn’t have time, and most companies don’t have headcount dedicated to it. As a result, sales and marketing teams spend a lot of time sifting through outdated contacts, incorrect phone numbers, and hunting down connections.
It may seem trivial, but that time adds up. According to SalesTactics.org, sales prospecting time depends on the maturity of your company.
2.) Invest in headcount
It’s natural for business leaders to take a conservative approach to growing headcount. It’s an expensive investment, after all, there are no guarantees that new employees will work out, and it can be tough to know when the business can support the additional headcount. However, waiting too long to hire can result in missed opportunities and slower growth than might have otherwise been achieved.
One-to-one conversations between your sales reps and prospects drive the growth engine. But your people can only have so many conversations in a day! Quantity and quality are a tradeoff. When too much energy and attention are focused on excessive activity-level volume metrics, the quality of preparation and conversation declines. Here are a few indicators that you may need to staff up in sales:
- Conversion rates from dials-to-meetings, meetings-to-opportunities, or win-rates are suffering. These rates measure the quality of interactions at critical stages in the funnel where your reps are actually selling. When reps are spread thin, they cut corners, shortcut on preparation, and drop the ball more often. Conversion rates will tell you when that’s happening.
- Sales reps are well-fed by leads, getting plenty of demos, and hitting (or blowing out) revenue targets with relative ease. Continuing the analogy of being well-fed, if a lion is dropped into the middle of herd of gazelles it’ll probably catch two or three of them, but you can bet a lot of them will get away. What if you had two or three lions? You get the point.
- Your operating margin is extremely high. While high operating margins can indicate that you have a strong and profitable business model, it may also be an indicator that you are not investing enough in growth. While tech companies on average spend 10-20% of revenue on sales and marketing, it’s not unusual for companies to spend 50-100% to capture market share rapidly and accelerate growth.
3.) Measure sales success
A Salesforce study shows that on average, 13% of leads convert to opportunities and the average conversion time is 84 days; only 6% of opportunities convert to deals.
What’s your conversion rate? Which salespeople have the highest rates of conversion? Do day of the week, time of day, or time between lead appointment and demo affect success? The answer is, they do impact closure, a lot.
Metrics on your sales team can be digested and applied across the board to boost sales overall – but you won’t know how unless you use analytics to measure it.
4.) Timing your tech stack
Everyone covets a great tech stack, and good system integration saves a lot of time. But it’s the maturity of your company and sales team should determine the pace of adding shiny new tools. A CRM is a good first step and saves a lot of time, but investments in refinement tools like calendar automation or automatic dialers don’t make financial sense if you only book a few appointments per week.
On the other hand, if your sales development reps find themselves spending excessive time making notes and handling trade-off to account executives, for example, it might be time to step up to calendar automation or call acceleration tools.
A good tech stack should both propel sales growth and be justified by sales growth.
Today’s post is by guest author Justin Withers, VP of Product Management & Product Marketing for DiscoverOrg, a sales intelligence platform designed to reduce time-to-direct connection with targeted prospects, improving the performance of all prospecting efforts by providing both the contacts and context needed to sell and market more effectively.