As companies quickly scale, it’s hard for resources to keep up. You either lack the sales infrastructure, or don’t have the time and capacity to build out an effective inside sales function, or have to hire, onboard, and train new people, but there’s no time or money. Probably you’re already missing tons of valuable opportunities or leads have gone cold at the bottom of your CRM, and your team is covering the holes in your pipeline while closing deals.
With only 41% of inside sales rep time spent actively selling according to CSO Insights, the opportunity to increase capacity without adding headcount is obvious. But how? Here are 6 ways to get the most out of what you already have.
Define your process
When a company understand the stages of their sales cycle (i.e. Discovery > Qualifying > Proposal > Closing) they can better design activities for each stage that moves the sale forward, and eliminate those that are wasted.
Start by identifying the goal of each stage. Then think about the role of your buyer, the method of outreach you will use and the tools you’ll need to automate the process, record all the data, and measure the results. Map every activity throughout the whole cycle (even the daily tasks like CRM data entry). Finally, Identify positive-action and drop-out triggers.
Stop using your salespeople to qualify leads
Gathering enough intelligence and the insights necessary to have a proper understanding of your prospect and to move it from a lead to a qualified lead, is often a step where you can add sales capacity. Qualifying a high volume of leads effectively takes a whole team, which can be expensive — especially when you’re paying people full-time salaries to make calls and fire off a high volume of emails.
Instead, you can use other resources like on-demand sales agents to take a first pass on these leads, determine if they have the need, identify the decision making team, what’s their timeline, budget, set appointments, and have a real-time conversation with your prospects through the phone. That way the leads don’t go cold; they just pass the better-qualified leads to your internal team.
Review your sales territories
Mapping and maintaining sales territories is a tricky process. If you haven’t done it in a while it’s possible that they’re not fully optimized. Your salespeople may be under-utilized in a territory where prospect volume has shrunk or there may be not enough salespeople to cover all the opportunities in a certain territory. You’ll need to reassign prospects and customers, or re-draw territories to ensure there is sufficient sales capacity to accomplish your goals.
To efficiently deploy your sales force against your customers, you should segment into prioritized groups (based on their potential revenue, for example). Assess what type of attention each one has and in what measure. For example, customers in group #1 needs weekly face-to-face meetings with your field reps, while group #2 should each receive a monthly phone call from your inside reps. Make sure to put a system in place to track your sales call activity; link your customers with segment locations in your CRM and log your sales calls for each.
Eliminate travel time
Travel efficiency is directly correlated with a strong territory management process. With the average sales rep spending 21% of their time traveling, it’s becoming increasingly important for sales leaders to distribute activities throughout different marketing channels and developing training programs to improve sales reps’ ability to gather the right people in the same room, instead of having to return to connect with additional decision makers.
And while there’s no substitute for a face-to-face meeting, especially if you’re targeting enterprise accounts, phone-based sales engagement rates are higher than response rates on email – and light years higher than those social selling. Leveraging online collaboration or video conferencing systems will save your team an in-person visit or two throughout the cycle. Here at VOIQ we’ve had long-term relationships with customers without meeting them in person.
Clean out your sales pipeline
By far the most common blockage that clogs up the sales funnel is an overabundance of non-sales opportunities, old, cold prospects and names nobody can remember, that are eating up your salespeople’ time.
You can start decluttering your pipeline by asking each rep to compare their funnel against a simple checklist. Leads that have unknown or outdated information get sent back to inside sales or on-demand call agents for re-qualification:
- Have we contacted them in the last 3 months?
- Have we identified a real need?
- Do we know who the decision-maker(s) is?
- Do we know who is their current provider, if they have one?
- Do we know when their contract expires?
Consider reevaluating your qualifying process and ensure that both sales and marketing are aligned. This may be a good opportunity to have additional training, managing expectations of what a qualified opportunity actually is, etc. You may end up having a smaller pipeline, but filled with opportunities that will actually end up closing.
Remember current customers
For many companies, new business from existing customers is the fastest, easiest and best sales growth available. Identify those customers that offer significant growth opportunity and make sure that selling resources are devoted to driving that growth.
It’s always a good practice to remind your customers time and again about your company and your product. Keep your customer CRM records updated and send them special offers, information about new services and products, a birthday card ,etc.
Improving sales operations effectiveness requires analysis, planning and execution. The more your sales operations are streamlined and your non selling activities reduced, the more customer satisfaction will improve as deals close faster. At major companies, the result can often be hundreds of millions of dollars in higher revenues and lower costs. Such benefits speak for themselves.