Following on my blog about Avoiding Failure in Sales Acceleration projects I wanted to cover some examples of common sales accelerations technology. I wrote a blog about Incentive compensation a few weeks ago. This blog will talk specifically about call technology. Until a couple years ago I thought this was a nice to have, or perhaps something better suited to inbound sales desks or customer service desks. Well, things have come quite a bit on since then and I highly suggest getting familiar with what’s out there now.
This blog was inspired by one of my recent clients who was a user of a popular call technology vendor, until they weren’t. I found this pretty surprising as they seemed to be the exact client sweet spot for the technology they had rejected.
The company has a global sales team across multiple locations and does all of their sales and almost all of their account development/management via the telephone. Each member of the sales team has a target of approx £500k and is responsible for 200-250 deals per year with a very short sales cycle, measured in days. This is a volume business, so surely anything to improve productivity would have a large effect. I think, hopefully, there’s something to be learned from this project for a large audience.
So what happened? I probed. Senior management said ‘well we just didn’t see the value from spending £100k.’ Middle management said ‘oh well its a shame as now we don’t always have reports on call activity.’ Sales reps said ‘oh yea we liked it, but they took it away.’
There are a few ways to look at this:
- An investment of £100k is a 20% productivity increase for one rep. However, split across 50 reps this is additional £2,000 (or 0.4%), quite a small figure. For this business this is less than one deal.
- £100k is approximately the cost of 1.5 sales reps, or approximately £750k of additional sales
- Across 50 reps a 5% productivity increase means an ROI of £1.25M, quite a bit more than the result from hiring two reps
So the question is, was this tool really not giving them a 5% increase in rep productivity? Seems like quite a reasonable expectation with reps often making 20+ calls a day. The more I dug into this I thought, maybe, maybe not, but either way they were not measuring it. If you aren’t measuring your results, you will always be stuck on that first figure, the price tag. Metrics and measuring the success of any initiative and especially any investment is critically important.
As I discussed in my first blog, there are many measures of ROI, other than revenue. Many of the comments around considering call tracking technology included:
– I’d LOVE to listen in on my teams calls and see what they are talking about
– In my meeting today, it would have been great to get stats on calls made by the account management versus the more proactive business development team
These concerns speak to staffing and training needs.
When working with this sales audience I asked whether they felt like prioritizing phone over email was a driver in improving performance. This was ranked low which was surprising and to me represented a clear coaching opportunity. Wouldn’t it be great for sales management to show their teams that deals with 5+ phone calls yielded a 50% better performing deal then those ‘negotiated’ over email? Yes! Stats like that to drive managerial oversight and drive rep behaviour would be great, but the client just didn’t have those stats.
Call technology evaluation
If the idea of call tracking is a ‘nice to have’ your company is probably not read to make a large purchase. They key part of building a business case here would be to ask yourself:
– Is it a must to know what sales reps are doing every day?
– Are managers currently able to listen in on calls reps are making in order to coach them?
– Do your reps make many calls a day? Is it an administrative burden to capture information about them (not just time but content?)
When it comes to call technology there are a lot of vendors out there and a list that is only growing. If you want to learn more about call technology I highly suggest having a read on G2 Crowd around Outbound call tracking This not only tells you about this category of sales acceleration but gives you honest reviews of the options from the public.
The choice is up to you. Based on what’s out there I would advise to look for the following, keeping in mind ‘dialer’ technology is ancient history. Look for something that:
– Easily integrates with your phone systems and CRM
– Something that has a mobile app to enable seamless logging when out of the office
– A tool that is an innovator in the artificial intelligence (AI) space. This could mean anything from pulling out keywords from calls (New Voice Media) or providing suggestions on the best time to call (InsideSales)
– Native reporting suite as standard to get you going and encourage adoption
If you would like some help building a business case, evaluating call technology vendors, or project managing a successful implementation, Sales Ops Help is here for you!