Never has there been so much confusion on call activity within inside sales. While managers are busy calculating the best call tracking metrics, reps are pulling in longer work hours than ever before . . . and everyone is wondering why the phones aren’t ringing. It’s time for a call activity makeover!
We need to redefine what call activity means, what to listen for, and what productivity results we should expect. As I recently blogged in my “Sales Productivity Sounds” post, inside sales organizations seem quiet these days. Managers are wondering how to measure productivity when phones are quiet but keyboards are clicking like crazy. Guess what? With more and more prospects viewing phone calls as a rude interruption, the quiet sounds of strong email and social networking skills are the new voice of productivity.
Today, people in inside sales are working harder and longer hours, and a new level of activity is being defined. It’s this scattered level of busyness that seems to be the productivity norm these days. You may have to listen a little more carefully to hear the new sounds of call activity, but it’s there!
Here are five great ways to increase your call activity and generate new revenue opportunities :
1. Make Planning a Priority. If you have ever been involved behind the scenes of a major theatre production, you know that months and months of planning and preparation go into a successful 2-hour performance. Well, it’s the same with sales. Make planning a priority of ALL of your outreach efforts. Even when a call lasts under 3 minutes and an email is read under 3 seconds, taking time to plan and strategize your message will pay off big time.
2. It’s All about Tool Fuel. Inside sales success is measured by a good working knowledge of tools — a good phone voice alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. Build a solid tool kit to help you throughout the sales cycle — ranging from lead management, sales analytics, performance dashboards, and sales intelligence to collaboration tools, data integration and social media.
3. Good Writing Pays Off. There’s no way around it, content — be it email or social networking — is king. And to be effective, and seem authentic, it must come from you, not from marketing or the cut-and-paste world. The more you read, the better writer you will be. Exercise that muscle and become comfortable with the lost art of writing.
4. Stay Fresh. The most productive salespeople are the ones who always have a new, fresh reason to reach out — their diverse “multiple-touch” strategy is their ticket. Each time you contact a prospect, have a unique value proposition that educates, sells and drives your value as a trusted advisor. Here are 10 ways to increase your activity throughout the sales cycle and give prospects a reason to connect with you:
· General Introductory voice mail followed by introductory email
· Qualification email
· Webinar invitation: get educated
· New product release announcement
· New vertical-specific case study
· Send competitive benchmark
· Leading industry publication article
· Survey results/benchmarks
· YouTube video demo
· LinkedIn group discussion
5. Use Aggressive Lead Nurturing Tactics. According to CSO Insights Sales Performance Optimization 2010 Going Forward Analysis, all 2,800 companies surveyed chose “improving their lead generation programs” as a top sales initiative in 2010. This includes lead nurturing, which is becoming most difficult because most prospective customers are slippery. They may seem extremely interested one day, and go radio silent the next. Just putting them on your call-back tickler isn’t enough! You must understand their buying stages and align your sales stages so you stay in synch.