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Why Sales People Aren’t Calling Their Leads

Frustrated Sales ManGreat products. Great pricing. A full quiver of phone savvy sales professionals armed with plenty of leads, but no one is calling their leads…. Why?

The Rub
Many companies pay significant amounts of money to generate leads for their sales teams, and yet, many of those leads never get called. Salespeople have a tendency, like most of us do to take the path of least resistance, and as a result, many otherwise perfectly viable leads get ignored and become stale. Why is that?

Problem #1: Where to Begin
Some salespeople have a knack for organizing their day and executing on the highest return activities, but they are in the minority. Lacking clear direction and a solid plan, the majority will actually only spend about 40% of their time on the most valuable sales activities. Whether it’s a lack of confidence, or a lack of organization, the result is the same… a lack of worthwhile activity.

Problem #2: But Other Leads Responded
If salespeople are getting more traction with a handful of their leads, others are often left to rot on the vine. Intuitively, salespeople equate activity (any customer-facing activity) as a buying signal, the fast track to sales nirvana, the shortest path to quota attainment. Unfortunately, just because a lead is willing to talk, doesn’t necessarily mean they are the ideal lead that should get the salesperson’s full attention, to the exclusion of others.

Problem #3: I Got Distracted / Busy
Social media, email, customer issues, colleagues over the cubicle wall…the list goes on and on. A recent article by Reuters states that an estimated 2.1 hours of productivity a day is lost, per employee, because of distractions.  It’s not necessarily that the distractions themselves are not pertinent, but the refocusing time to get back to the task in a fully cognizant mode after being distracted or interrupted can be as much as 15 minutes!

Problem #4: I Tried Once, but They Didn’t Answer
Experts differ and pontificate on the number of attempts one should make to reach a prospect before giving up.  Anywhere from 4 to 18 attempts have been recommended so it’s clear that calling once and giving up should not be an option.

According to a CSO Insights survey, sales reps research as many as 15 different sources prior to calling a prospect. 82% of sales teams feel challenged by the amount of data available and the time it takes to research a prospect before making a call.

You’ve got some hard working salespeople. So why are they struggling to make quota? The problem could be that they are busy doing a lot of the wrong things. Equipping your reps with the right tools can make all the difference. If you could give your reps more time to sell, more focus, more confidence, a guide to prioritize who to call and when, and what to say to them, what might that be worth? How would that speed up sales cycle times?

Get involved in the conversation in the comments section below!

Increasing your Odds of Call Success

 

“Your beliefs become your thoughts;
Your thoughts become your words;
Your words become your actions;
Your actions become your habits;
Your habits become your values;
Your values become your destiny.”

Mahatma Gandhi

The truth is that in an effort to keep things simple we often do them the most complex way.  It’s just human nature, or is it?  Think about it; how many versions of the sink or swim story have you heard?  Is there anyone, anywhere who doesn’t know someone whose father threw them in the water, to teach them how to swim?  What about no pain, no gain?  How many believe that if you don’t learn it the hard way, that you don’t thoroughly learn it?  Is it possible that we were taught the hard way and then adopted it as the only way?

Five Missteps when doing it the Hard Way and
What to Do about Them

1. Failure to Organizebusiness-graph-1415055-m
Cold calling is hard enough, but tackling it without a plan is harder.  Take advantage of your ability to create lists in Salesforce.  Lead pages already have a “Status Field” but if you add such to your Contacts pages – you now have the ability to create a productive list to work from based on status.  Calling just got a whole lot faster.

2. Neglecting Research
While many step over the research step in their day, likely because it’s time consuming and only a few calls in an hour actually net a conversation, doesn’t mean there isn’t any value in being prepared.  When you know a company’s product, you know what you can do for them.  If you know about their achievements and recognition’s you just might get your foot in the door. If they have newly acquired another company, you may be able to play to that fact.  While it may not be practical to dig deep for every single call, even if you just use the account note field in Salesforce to note small details as you learn them, you’re better off than having no research.  Buy your lead generators a cup of coffee once in a while – and they might just be willing to make a few notes for you.

3. Skipping the Call Script
When you ad lib the conversation you give up control.  The Internet has a wealth of information.  With just a little research you can find the elements of conversation that are most likely to get you a second call.  You have just seconds to get it right, and quite possibly only one crack at it.  Leaving it to chance can be sales suicide.

4. Lack of Follow Up
Despite the fact that you make hundreds of calls a week, it’s important to always keep your word.  In the sales jungle, it is truly survival of the fittest. You have to do ten things right to erase one wrong thing. Best practice:  If you say you will call back on a certain day; at a certain time – do it.  If you promise to only take a moment of their time – do it.  If you are asked not to call them again – don’t.  Find someone new to call.  Make your word your bond.  Follow up, and follow through.

5. No Time Taken to Document
Documenting all activity may be the last thing you want to do when you hang up the phone, but failing to do so means that the numbers fed into analytics will give back a false reading.  It is a numbers game, and everyone’s paycheck depends on them.  You should know that without documenting where you’ve been, there is little chance of knowing where you should go.

It is possible to take control of the process, and success can be achieved doing things the easy way.

Mastering Your Revenue Objectives – It’s Hard to Hit a Moving Target

Hitting a Moving TargetWhat about Bob?
We all know someone who goes through life with a rainbow overhead. He just does what feels right and makes his quota every month. Somehow, we all wish we could be like him. It would be such bliss, wouldn’t it? Just go out there and sell your socks off and live the life; carefree and bonus-bound. Park that in the category of dreams, because in reality, most of us could use at least some help staying on task in order to make our number. Think about this:

About half of all sales representatives miss their yearly quotas.

How can we get in front of the curve?
Wouldn’t it be awesome every sales professional could be a rockstar? Trust us when we say it doesn’t always happen by chance. In order to make quotas consistently, a solid plan needs to come into play. Once a plan has been established, measure and track execution of the plan. Track progress towards goals and make changes as needed. Sales will ultimately gain confidence in their work when they can effectively manage their time and resources.

Sometimes we are so focused on the design (our relationship with our customer, their needs, their timing, their sense of value) that we hate to leave the “important stuff” to go and figure out what we actually need to be doing next. When we get in “the zone” we get so focused on resonating with our customers that when we are finished talking with them, it’s hard to switch gears and start thinking about what comes next. Where am I now? Where do I need to go next? What do I need to do now?? How can companies automate this process so sales representatives know exactly what to do next?


With this question in mind, our developers here at ShadeTree have made it possible to automate this very process with our product, Incite2. To see how this tool helps sales professionals know what to do next, watch a short video or schedule a demo and process discussion with a sales advisor.

The Power of Call Lists

Human nature is complex and at times counterproductive.  Take our general resistance to change; our innate fear of stepping out of our comfort zone, even when common sense dictates there are easier ways to do things.  We embrace our habits like they are a lifeline.  All too often we will go down with the ship, rather than jump in and swim.  Interestingly enough, it really isn’t fear of change that paralyzes us; it is fear of the unknown. We get braver with preparation and practice.

One item at a time, or a list packed with purpose?
Consider your sales team.  If you turn an introspective eye on them, what do you see?  Are they approaching their day with bad habits, or are they practicing common sense?  How do they line up their calls?  Is it a random, time-consuming hunting and pecking process, or do they build an efficient call list before dialing?

An ounce of preparation nets a wealth of results.
In order to be efficient, you must make it a habit to stay organized. Once it becomes a habit, it becomes a comfort zone.  In Salesforce you should be able to easily find any group of Leads or Contacts that you want to call. If you are having trouble organizing Contacts, try adding a custom Status field with values similar to the Lead Statuses. Use the Status fields in conjunction with other relevant information such as Title, Last Activity, or Mailing State. At the minimum, reps should be able to easily get to a list of open tasks, new leads, leads and contacts that need to be followed-up with, and any responses to marketing campaigns that have been passed to sales. The Sales Team can now generate a call list that eliminates the time and effort it takes to figure out who to call.

It’s Called Power Hour
The beauty of a list is that it allows for momentum in the calling process. Imagine what could get accomplished if you scheduled a few hours a week where reps did nothing but focus on call lists. Scheduled hours that are dedicated to call lists – and that avoid phone calls, inbound emails and meetings can bump up production. Something that should be considered a new best practice.

Supercharge the sales process.
ShadeTree Technology’s Incite2 allows sales reps to load any list into the app, see all activities on one page, and with one click they can advance to the next call in seconds.  The workload lightens and suddenly call volume triples and company profits increase.  Make common sense, common practice – and take it to the bank.

 

Hope is not a Sales Strategy

The Traditional Sales “Strategy”:

There’s a vicious cycle that plagues a lot of sales efforts today. It looks kind of like this:

  • Caffeinate – Slug back 20 oz coffee and give yourself a pep-talk. Today is the day.
  • Wing it – Work like a person on fire and hope “the flow” will just happen.
  • Rejection – The flow didn’t happen. Why didn’t the flow happen? More caffeine.
  • Overwhelmed– The flow cannot be found, no matter how hard I try. Prayer offered.
  • Panic – The axe is coming, because the flow isn’t happening. More prayer.
  • Justify – Report imaginary numbers to delay the axe from coming. We’re good, really we are.
  • Realization – The process isn’t working. Something needs to change.

Hands Praying for HopeHope is not a strategy and by itself, a tragedy. Sure, you may get lucky once in awhile but I doubt your company is all that excited about your occasional lucky streaks. What they get really excited about is regular, consistent sales results they can use to build their business month-after-month.

A Simplified Sales Strategy
If you think about almost any other type of work where something complex is built, there are principles that make all the difference between successful completion of goals, and getting lucky from time to time:

Developing a Plan
Some of the best advice we’ve heard about planning comes from the late great Stephen R Covey: “Begin with the end in mind.” What is the end goal for your business? If you are in sales there’s probably a quota that is the primary objective of your job: X Dollars per X timeframe. If a company does not begin their sales strategy with concrete goals, they will not have any idea if they have achieved them. Many salespeople fail simply because they do not set realistic achievable goals for themselves to start with.

Measure and Adjust
Set up milestones to determine if goals are being reached in a productive way. Breaking these goals down into smaller chunks will enable sales professionals to keep track of where they are. Am I still on track for the month? If not, then the sales plan needs to be changed. At this point, it is easy to see what points within the sales cycle need to be adjusted in order to make a productive change.

Report True Projections
For a manager trying to determine the health of their sales team’s efforts, and the level of completion of their goals, true numbers are a must. By reporting exactly what the sales team is up to and demonstrating the results match the companies plan, sales managers can determine if their efforts are paying off.

Does your sales team follow this simplified strategy? Or, are they stuck in a never ending vicious cycle of imaginary numbers and caffeine?

Could your pre-call checklist be more thorough?

The Great Pyramid of Giza built in 2584 BC; the beautiful Sistine Chapel constructed in 1473, and our own White House, whose cornerstone was laid in 1792, would have undoubtedly never stood against time, without a building plan.  Greatness requires a plan, but how many sales people shortcut the planning stage in their day?

Exactly what is a plan?
It is the map you follow; a task management tool that allows you to efficiently navigate the road you travel toward your goal.  It helps you budget your time, monitor your progress, side-step bad habits, and recognize a crisis before it happens.  It aids in decision making, and it ultimately enables you to build a competitive edge.

Why wouldn’t every sales call be preceded by planning, when we know planning works?
It is fact that most calls don’t end in a conversation – and that alone would tend to make it feel like the planning is a waste of time, especially when the steps in the planning process are both tedious and time consuming.  Sometimes it just feels easier to wing it and jump into the fray.  Someone who has been working in sales a longtime may step over some of the planning, feeling assured that their gut instinct and experience, will fill in the blanks.  Someone new to the game may not always see the reasoning for some of the steps in the planning process.  There are times that the pressure to make the number of goal driven calls in a day makes if feel like there isn’t enough time for thorough planning.  There are a multitude of reasons for short-cutting the planning, but still, the value of the planning is undeniable.

check list

What is the cause of insufficient planning?
It lies in the fact that the process is time consuming and complex – because each target is unique, and the information you need is scattered across countless web pages.  The note gathering lacks efficiency, and gaining a solid view of the whole picture is very difficult.

What would be on the wish list that would take the sting out of pre-call planning?
Ideal would mean having all of your information at your finger tips, all on one page.  It would mean that right from the beginning, when an account was first created in your data bank, every piece of information associated with it would be automatically sent to one place, where you could view it collectively.  In that single location you not only would have your research visible, but call prompts that were tailored for success – and a complete history of all your hard work displayed.  There would be an active timeline that you could hover over with a mouse to gleam the details, allowing you to see at a glance see where you’ve been, as well as where you need to go.

If you had the information and capabilities of a checklist at your fingertips – all on one computer screen, would your job be easier?  Could you make more calls, in less time?  Would you be better prepared for your calls?  Would automatically documenting your calling history help?  Can you imagine your rate of success going up?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Moving Conversations Beyond Product and Price

Sales conversations inevitably follow a specific course, down one topical path. It is a well-worn and often quite predictable track called “product and price.”  To improve your chances for a sale, you may try to steer the conversation in other, more intellectual directions. Your intention of course is to engage the buyer in a higher quality discussion that addresses their precise challenges and objectives.

Read more

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Heading Office

#1214  187 Tay Son building, Dong Da, Ha Noi, Vietnam

Email address

mail@inwavethemes.com   / ticket@inwavethemes.com

tel phone & fax

+84 01234 567 89  /  +84 04 1234 567 89

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Heading Office

#1214  187 Tay Son building, Dong Da, Ha Noi, Vietnam

Email address

mail@inwavethemes.com   / ticket@inwavethemes.com

tel phone & fax

+84 01234 567 89  /  +84 04 1234 567 89