Insides sales is all about communications – by phone, by email, by social media, by fax. Communicate with more prospects, close more sales. Communicate better with those prospects and the number of closes increases even more. Rocket science? No.
Every week, I talk with far too many inside sales organizations that are not optimized in their communications with prospects. Some use spreadsheets. Some use CRM’s. Some use both. I think we both can agree that if you are still using spreadsheets to organize your clients, prospects, and leads, you are less effective as a sales organization. It’s like trying to lubricate an engine with canola oil. It might work for a very short while, but eventually it’s going to end…and not well.
What are the best systems and practices to follow if I am to communicate easily and often with my current customers, prospects, and leads? Here are a few ideas derived from personal experience, research, and client experience.
Using a CRM provides a degree of automation to your sales force and allows you to nurture your leads through email campaigns, scheduled calls etc. I have used everything from Goldmine (I hear you laughing) to Salesforce and everything in between. Salesforce is the 800 pound gorilla in the CRM space; and rightfully so. While they are not the cheapest, they certainly are the sexier and more capable of the CRMs. I have used Salesforce successfully for many years. XANT has a CRM called STA (Sales Team Automation). It is not as sexy as Salesforce, but it is extremely capable and surpasses most other CRMs when it comes to supporting sales teams.
While a good CRM is a must for any sales organization, it is incomplete as a tool for driving communications with prospects and clients until you integrate telephony features. Many companies try to fill the gap by using predictive dialer technologies. If you are in B2B sales, and are doing so…stop. It’s inefficient. Have you ever received a call where you picked up the phone and heard dead air? This is a predictive dialer. It first dials the prospect, dials the available sales rep and then connects the two. Nothing screams “HERE COMES A SALES PITCH” like dead air before the rep says “hello”. If you are anything like me, the rep doesn’t have a chance to get on the line because I’ve already hung up the phone. You can’t sell if you can’t say the first word.
The technologies that drive true success by increasing contact rates and shortening the sales cycle are automated workforce tools. One such tool is called ELF (Electronic Labor Force), a powerful task automation tool when combined with PowerDialer, an auto-dialer platform with many other task automation functions, plus contact activity tracking, reporting and intelligent list creation features. ELF is a product of XANT. Both are used in conjunction with either the STA CRM or the Salesforce CRM.
Those who use these types of technologies are seeing quantitative gains in time and money. A great example of how to use a task automation tool to improve efficiency in the sales process is from one of my clients in the Financial Services industry. They use ELF to provide a series of automated “nurture” emails that are scheduled to go out at different intervals. This keeps them in the mind of the prospect and is a main factor in doubling their sales since becoming a client.
I have seen client situations where simply using our dialer with its Intelligent Communication technology, has increased dialing efficiency by more than 200 percent over manual dialing. Inside sales reps who were making 30 to 50 calls-per-day are now making 75 to 100 calls in three hours. What’s the net effect? They reach more prospects and close more business quickly.
PowerDialer is a powerful telephony tool that integrates with the Salesforce and STA CRMs. When a sales rep is on the system, they can receive inbound or make outbound calls. The outbound call is initiated right from the CRM record. It first connects with the sales rep’s line. Once the rep is on the line it then dials the prospect. In other words: no dead air when the prospect picks up. If there is no answer, the rep can click a button and leave a pre-recorded voicemail, in their own voice. While the message is being left, the system is already dialing the next prospect on their list. Additionally, based on the custom search criteria used to create the call list, the rep is focusing on the best prospects at the most effective times to call. PowerDialer automatically logs all contact effort in the CRM. Now that’s efficient!
One of our clients in security and home automation sales moved their inside sales reps off of a predictive dialer and over to PowerDialer. The reps liked their predictive dialer software and didn’t want to transition. However, their trepidation was unfounded as PowerDialer helped them triple their individual sales. (Read about this same phenomenon happening with another client of ours.)
If your sales operation is still functioning at the manual level, maybe it’s time to step away from those inefficient processes and investigate whether today’s sales automation tools can improve your sales operation. What have you got to lose … but more commissions?
Photo credit: z0xx
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