Results from ShadeTree’s Who To Call Survey

In October 2010 ShadeTree send out a survey request to sales vp’s and managers, inside sales managers and marketing vp’s and managers.  The short survey was focused on understanding how salespeople go about the job of prospecting:

  • Figuring out who to call
  • Where to find names
  • Building list / call queues
  • Related challenges

Key Findings:

  • Over 60% of salespeople report difficulty determining who to call
  • 82% of salespeople reported that better lead pipeline reporting would be valuable to them
  • 73% of salespeople have difficulty building call queues within their CRM system

Below are results from the survey.  

1) Does your job responsibility include making sales calls to prospects?


Yes – 82%

No – 18%


A majority of the organizations responding to the survey have employees that use the phone to directly contact prospects as a part of their selling process.

2) When you make calls, where do you go to get names (check all that apply)?


From within my company’s CRM system – 90%

From my own contact list / database – 80%

Other – 40%


The organization’s CRM system holds the data that most salespeople are using to make calls.  Salespeople working off of their own lists was a surprising result at 80%… pointing to the fact that a majority of salespeople still have some responsibility for generating their own leads and contacts.

3) When using the CRM system, where do you most often start when prospecting for new business?


Recent campaigns – 20%

Follow-up activities and task that I scheduled – 40%

New leads that are in a queue or have been assigned to me – 40%


The results indicate a fairly even spread across new leads and leads that are “work-in-progress”.  It was enlightening to see the large percentage of users using the CRM system to manage follow -up activities and task within the CRM system.

4) What is the most valuable place for you to prospect for leads (fill in the blank)?

Leading Responses:


LinkedIn, Google alerts

Industry Media

List Purchases


A wide variety of sources, extensive social media use was evident by many of the responses.

5) What is the most difficult part of figuring out who to call?


Wading through the data in my CRM system… because it is a mess – 30%

Trying to order the data in the CRM… because the data is unstructured – 20%

Wading through large volumes of leads, only a few of which are actually in my territory – 10%

Other – 50%


With 60% of the respondents reporting some type of difficulty finding who to call, there is clearly a desire for some type of solution.  Efforts should be made by sales operations, sales and marketing to do a better job of getting salespeople the data they need to perform their jobs.

6) Do you have a way to prioritize calling some leads over others?


Yes – 45%

No – 55%


This was probably the most concerning statistic from the survey.  Whether using a lead scoring system or another method of segmentation, being able to separate and prioritize efforts for higher quality leads/prospects over less valuable ones is a key capability of advancing sales organizations.

7) Do you have a way to manage your entire lead pipeline (i.e. report on lead status, follow-up activities, qualification / conversion percentage)?


Yes – 50%

No – 50%


Is this a case of the “have’s and the have-not’s” of CRM reporting?  One of the foundational elements of having reliable forecasting (not to mention sales results) is the ability to know what is in the pipeline… not just revenue closing this quarter… but insight reaching all the way back into the lead pipeline stages to understand the impact of more/less qualified leads that are put into a sales cycle.

8) Would lead pipeline reporting be helpful/valuable to you?

Yes – 82%

No – 18%


Clearly a desire for information and improvements in this area.

9) Do you have difficulty/challenges building call queues / call-down lists from your CRM?


Yes – 73%

No – 27%

10) What are your challenges with building call queues / call-down lists?

Our CRM system doesn’t have that capability – 45%

Leads and contacts are spread out in the CRM, there is no easy way to pull names together – 36%

Other – 19%


Questions 9 and 10 point to the need for sales operations, sales and marketing to do a better job of getting salespeople the data they need to perform their jobs.  There is an opportunity to configure the CRM for greater productivity by salespeople (not to mention higher levels of job happiness!).

Incite: to stir up or provoke to action