The most qualified lead you can have is a prospect reaching out to you to help you sell them something.
I once took over managing a 200 person sales team with inside and outside sales staff. In an effort to quietly and subliminally monitor and evaluate the structure and teams I went to trade shows, sat on the sales floor (while having discussions, and doing other work to make it seem as if I was not paying attention, I sat in different areas, at different times and in essence made myself invisible), and spoke with the managers. What I found was shocking and appalling.
Inbound sales calls were being answered less than 25% of the time. The company was “investing” in marketing and the best qualified leads were being “de-emphasize”. When I inquired about this situation I was given horrific answers including: “We’re on a territory system, so we have no lunch and break coverage”; “A lot of the calls are routed incorrectly and we don’t want to waste our time – so we use the voice mail to screen the calls”, and other excuses just as criminal.
As anyone with a background in telemarketing knows that it takes an average of three to five call backs or more, depending on the position of the prospect and their interest level to reach a contact that has previously had some form of communication with your company. Instantaneous response to inquiries also decreases the sales closure period significantly.
The first course of action we implemented was an “incoming call group (ICG)”, which was a senior team of closers tied to accounts; not territories. These closers were given calls in a “last used” priority and “owned” that account for two weeks. If after two weeks the account was not converted to a sale, the account was transferred to its territory manager for follow-up. The territory managers were given credit for the sale if the ICG made a sale – but only if they made their quotas for calls, contacts, and sales within the territory. Yes, we double paid for sales closures – but it was well worth the cost.
Within a matter of weeks our ratio of sales closures, with the two week widow, passed 35%. Yes, 35% of in-bound sales calls were converted to SALES within two weeks! After the first two weeks we closed an additional percentage of sales were achieved by the territory sales staff within the subsequent two weeks. Further sales were made throughout the year.
The sales made by the territory sales staff were consistent with their prior sales closure numbers. In essence we increased our sales closures by almost 35% on inbound calls by greeting the prospect with our best sales closers, incentivizing the closers to close quickly, and by making sure the sales staff did not take a hit for what they soon began calling the “easy sales”, which they have formerly neglected.
Know your closure rate by lead source, prospect profile, and pipeline stage and Focus – Focus – Focus to close sales.
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