5 Pesky Sales Reporting Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)
- Who is most likely to answer your calls right now?
- How many times should you contact each prospect?
- What are your peak answer times?
- Which reps are dialing, but not being effective?
If you found yourself shaking your head, you’re not alone.
Marketo research shows that 50 percent of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting.
In the sales world, we know that time is money.
Take back squandered time by pinpointing the best times to call your prospects and eliminating other inefficiencies using predictive analytics.
5 reporting mistakes
Your data tracking may be missing the mark. Here are five common mistakes and best practice corrections to optimize your sales reporting.
1. Focusing on dials
Reps are not hired just to place calls. They are hired to have engaging conversations that lead to sales.
When a benchmark for dials is increased, talk time per day decreases, and ring duration — the amount of time a rep will wait for a call to be answered — dramatically decreases as well.
Don’t trade contacts and conversations for dials. When number of dials becomes your main focus, you’re directing attention to the wrong area.
To find out whether your reps have a healthy balance of dials and conversations, track the Call-to-Conversation conversion rate. This sales performance metric can be calculated by dividing the total number of dials the lead generation team makes by the number of conversations achieved.
To accelerate the number of conversations achieved, arm your reps with predictive analytics that will identify which of their leads are most likely to be contacted.
2. Assuming list completion = success
Reporting on the number of dialing lists your reps complete provides a false sense of finality for those leads.
By focusing on dials instead of conversations crafted to lead to a sale, it encourages reps to quickly complete a list and not make quality calls with quality conversations.
Pull reports on how deep your reps attempt to call each lead. XANT research shows that at least six attempts are often needed to contact at least 50 percent of your leads. The average rep only makes between 1.7 and 2.1 calls before giving up.
3. Quantity of dials vs. quality of calls
Connections that do not result in meaningful conversations are useless.
A contact answering the phone when a rep calls doesn’t necessarily qualify the call as a correct contact metric. Identify areas of a list that need improvement by accurately qualifying metrics.
Using prescriptive technology to coach your reps on which messages to share with prospects empowers your reps to reach the right people with the right information at the right time.
4. Using reports as accountability tools
More often than not, managers focus sales reports on their reps instead of focusing on system changes that will ultimately drive more sales.
When a report is used as an accountability tool, valuable data tracking information that could be used to direct and motivate reps is perceived as negative criticism instead of directional feedback.
Without any insight into which leads are most likely to contact and close, reps allocate their efforts equally across their entire lead lists. Your reports may show that your reps are doing their due diligence, but by targeting their efforts you can enhance, and more accurately report on, their performance.
Predictive and prescriptive technologies target reps’ efforts, and gamification platforms can motivate them to increase their efforts.
5. Mixing lead status with disposition
The best way to avoid confusion and backlog in your sales reporting is by making two separate categories: lead status and disposition. By incorporating both categories into one qualifier, it jeopardizes your ability to forecast accurately.
Reps should note the disposition and record every metric of every single call for meaningful reporting.
When this kind of data is enhanced by a larger analytics engine that utilizes globalized, anonymized and normalized sales interaction data points, your reps can receive insightful and actionable sales predictions.
Sales reporting can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these best practices, you can avoid common mistakes, which will dramatically improve your sales performance.
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Image credit: Dave Dugdale