Sales Productivity Trends – What Sales Executives Need to Know

[fusion_text]Sales Productivity TrendsImproving sales productivity continues to be a leading concern for senior sales executives. Understanding these concerns and how executives are solving these problems can help sales leaders boost their sales revenue.
Dr. Richard Rocco of DePaul University Center for Sales Leadership shared his findings of over 7 years of research in the field of sales productivity in a presentation earlier this year.

Learn about:

  • Top drivers of sales effectiveness
  • 3 key drivers
  • Sales productivity trends for both B2B and Consumer companies
  • Methods to improve sales process

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Our Favorite Outbound Calling Blog Posts

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Have you ever wondered if outbound calling could help your sales organization get better results?

Here at ConnectLeader, we live and breathe outbound calling everyday. Our customers do too. We compiled a few of our more popular blog posts from the past year or so.

10 Ways Your Sales Team Can Benefit from Outbound Calling Software

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM by Rick Hussey

Rick is one of our most successful account managers and has had great success using outbound calling as his primary lead gen strategy.


Eagle Point Software Doubles Outbound Calling with ConnectLeader Team Dialer

Posted on Feb 7, 2014 12:30:00 PM by Ken Smith

 

When Randy Ambrosy of Eagle Point Software learned two of his highly-skilled sales reps were leaving the company, he needed to quickly “shore up the holes” and find a way to replace their productivity. Instead of hiring new sales reps or outsourcing to a third-party lead generation firm, Randy decided to implement the ConnectLeader® Team Dialer™ outbound calling solution.

Read More…


Tips for Building an Effective Outbound Calling Strategy

Posted on Jan 7, 2015 5:00:00 PM by Ken Smith

ConnectLeader customers share 5 different calling strategies they use to boost their sales process.

Outbound Calling Playbook

5 Tips for Developing an Effective Inside Sales Call Scripts

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For an inside sales rep, your first sales conversation with a prospective customer is not only your most challenging, it is easily your most important. Having an effective inside sales call script is the first step in converting your conversations into revenue.

So no pressure. Here are 5 tips to help you develop an effective inside sales call script:

12 Bad Habits Destroy Inside Sales ProductivityTip #1: First impressions count

You only have one chance to make your first impression on the phone. Social media and email correspondence can warm up your leads, but it isn’t until you actually speak to your prospect on the phone, that you will be able to introduce yourself and move your prospect to the next step in the sales process. Just as important, it is also your chance to qualify or disqualify your prospect.

Tip #2: Go Slow

Early in my career I always tended to rush the call. I’m not sure why, but I wanted to get all the information I wanted to convey into the first 30 seconds of the conversation. Through experience, I learned it was much better to go slow. Slowing down allows the customer to understand and listen to your message.

 

Tip #3: Keep goal of sales call in mind

Sales is a series of discrete steps.Keep the goal of your call in mind. For instance, if this is your first call (cold call), your goal may be to simply establish contact and determine if you are speaking to the right person. Your next step may be a demo or discovery call where you spend more time qualifying your prospect and understanding their needs. Third might be a demo. Don’t try to do it all at once in the first call.

Tip #4: Simplify

Another rookie mistake is to try to recite the ENTIRE script you learned in training… word-by-word… in one breath… without giving the prospect a chance to answer…

Instead, get to the point quickly, but don’t read your script. Keep it short, concise and to the point. Identify the purpose of the call and work towards your goal.

Tip #5: Be Prepared

When manually cold calling you may go through a lot of dials before getting a connect. You can lose focus with the tedium of dialing, leaving messages, and dealing with gatekeepers. You can certainly day dream and then be “surprised” when someone answers the phone.

If you’re using a high-speed sales dialing solution, like ConnectLeader Team Dialer, the connections come fast and furiously. You need to be ready to jump right into that call in less than a second. You need to be prepared to greet the customer and accomplish your goal (See Tip #2). A few ways to improve your calling skills is to conduct a “self-audit”. Are you using a lot of non-verbal fillers (i.e. ahhh, umm, so)? Are you “speaking over” the customer? Preparation helps you project confidence. Even if you are a new inside sales rep, being prepared helps you get up to speed faster.

Your sales manager or coach can help you by listening in on the calls and providing feedback during the call. Role playing can help too.[/fusion_text]

ConnectLeader® Announces the Award of Three Patents

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Press Release


CL_logoConnectLeader, a pioneering innovator of technology used by B2B sales reps to accelerate the sales process, announces the issuance of three patents for visibility and control features, online scheduling of calling sessions, and remote coaching technologies.

ConnectLeader LLC announces the issuance of three patents (U.S. Patent numbers 8594308, 8964963, and 8938058) by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for which ConnectLeader is the exclusive licensee. These patents protect many aspects of the company’s innovative sales acceleration technology, and are key components of a comprehensive international patent portfolio that includes many pending patents worldwide.

ConnectLeader is a pioneering innovator of technology designed specifically to give B2B sales reps visibility into the calling process, allowing them to make real-time updates on-the-fly. ConnectLeader refers to these features as ‘visibility and control’. Using the visibility features enable users to see which target leads/contacts are queued up for calling next. The ConnectLeader Sales Dialing Platform control feature enables users to update the status of leads/contacts that are queued up for calling. In turn, the user may dynamically change the order of calling, create a “do not call” status, or a “do not call until a specific time” status.

Management Quotes

“Using a sales acceleration platform is like driving a sports car.” stated Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader. “When you drive a sports car, it is important to have excellent visibility into where you are heading and have total control on the road you take. The ConnectLeader visibility and control features in our sales acceleration platform are analogous to the exceptional visibility and control of a sports car. These important features facilitate user adoption of our sales acceleration platform and expedite productivity increase for our customers. In addition to the obvious business benefits, our customers tell us it is fun to use the product.” Soundar added.

“These patents enable ConnectLeader to assertively maintain its status as the leader of ground breaking innovations in sales acceleration.” Said Matt Stanton, VP of Sales at ConnectLeader.

Customer Quotes

“I like to change my list as I’m calling. I can easily de-select a name and the system won’t call that number.”Scott Serpa, Inside Sales Manager, formerly with Xangati, Inc.

“Before we used Team Dialer, we used another tool. Some of our representatives were reluctant to use the dialing technology because they would be caught off guard when a call was connected. With ConnectLeader, they have much more control.”  Rob Consoli, VP of Sales & Marketing, Liaison Technologies

In addition to the Visibility and Control features, these patents protect many other innovative sales acceleration capabilities offered by ConnectLeader (or planned for near future), such as:
Multi-touch campaign with calling – Enables sales reps to easily plan and execute multi-touch campaigns including various touches like calling, leaving voice messages, sending texts, and sending emails

Remote Coach – Enables sales managers to actively listen to and coach sales reps during calls
Online scheduling of calling sessions – Facilitates time management for sales reps
Dynamic Agent Allocation – Allows the system to optimize agent’s time utilization.

About ConnectLeader

The ConnectLeader® Sales Dialing Platform helps B2B sales organizations improve personal and team sales productivity by reducing non-productive calling tasks. We were the first in the market to offer a single dialing platform giving sales teams the ability to choose from a range of dialing speeds to match their sales productivity needs. ConnectLeader solutions feature our patented visibility and control features and provide bi-directional synchronization with Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Oracle on-demand CRM, NetSuite CRM, Zoho CRM, Bullhorn, and other CRM systems.

Click Dialer™ is a click-to-call softphone embedded into the Salesforce.com CRM environment. Sales reps simply click on the phone number to start dialing. Users also have the option to select multiple names and let the software dial in a list mode. Call results, emails sent, voicemail drop, and follow-up activities are updated for analytics within Salesforce.com in real time. Sales reps using Click Dialer can increase their calling productivity by up to 30% over manual dialing.

Personal Dialer® is cloud-based power dialing technology that takes calling productivity to the next level. Personal Dialer provides visibility into calling, allows the reps to control the selection of the next call, progress to next call quickly, and a host of many other features. Reps can increase their calling productivity by 50% to 100% over manual dialing.

Team Dialer® is a sales acceleration solution for organizations who want to further boost dialing productivity for outbound prospecting, business development, and lead qualifying. Team Dialer accelerates the sales process by delegating non-productive calling tasks and integrating with sales automation systems. The Team Dialer solution combines state-of-the-art cloud-based software with a team of human agents who assist with call navigation, allowing your sales reps more time to sell. Team Dialer customers typically have 8 to 12 live conversations per hour, an 800% increase over manual dialing. www.connectleader.com

ConnectLeader, Click Dialer, Personal Dialer, and Team Dialer are trademarks of ConnectLeader, LLC.

All brand names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.
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Inside Sales Management Debate: Sales Lead Assignment

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Image: Bigstockphoto.com

You’re a new inside sales manager and one of your first jobs is to to set-up a sales process. How do you structure your inside sales organization? Do you use a traditional sales territory process or do you use a round robin process. There are pros and cons to both methods. So we did some research and received input from industry experts. You can decide which system works best for your organization. Of course, we would love to hear your thoughts. You can share your comments on this blog and we’ll share them via Twitter at #salesterritorydebate.

Personal Insights from Patrick Purvis, Director of Sales, DiscoverOrg

As far as our no territory/round robin system, I’m a fan and have us holding on to it for as long as possible. I see the pros as:

  • Even playing field for the reps performance (for us anyone who got the Bay area would automatically become our top rep by default)
  • This creates better morale and healthy competition
  • Even distribution of leads so no one has too many or too few leads in their pipeline
  • Quick reaction to inbound leads, if our SDRs get a hot inbound lead they have 18 Account Execs they can put on the phone right then

There are some cons of course:

  • The biggest challenge is handling lead distribution in systems like Salesforce & Marketo, which aren’t set up for a round robin system, especially when you start putting exceptions in (i.e. we have a major account list that actually IS assigned to our most senior reps).  It gets pretty messy and we’ve had to create a fair amount of custom workflows
  • You could also argue that we lose out on becoming specialists in a territory/vertical.  i.e. if we had one guy always handle Information Security companies, he would become really knowledgeable about that space
  • Our SDRs aren’t paired with AEs, and you might get better communication if they were paired up by territories.  At the same time, you lose out again on the even playing field – a bad SDR or bad AE could screw the other member of that team

We’ve debated the strengths/weaknesses of no territories for a long time and will undoubtedly continue to do so, it may become unmanageable at some point, but until then I’m a fan.

What are the pros and cons of round robin lead assignment?

Posted by Steve Richard on Thu, Nov 15, 2012

After reading our article in the Washington Post, Lanham, MD based PR and communications software juggernaut Vocus invited us in to see how we could help them with lead generation sales training.  During the conversation, they told us about an interesting process that they use to ensure that each of their inside sales reps are equally fed intro sales meetings by the separate lead generation team.  I asked them if I could share it with our community and they said OK. Here are the details:

  • Each member of the lead generation team calls into their territory of accounts to generate qualified sales meetings.
  • Whereas most companies pair a lead generation rep with one or more sales reps, Vocus has no such pairings.  Each lead generation rep is independent.
  • When a lead generation rep schedules a phone meeting, it simply goes to the inside sales rep ‘closer’ who is next in line.
  • The inside sales rep ‘closers’ are simply in a rotating queue ensuring that each rep is well fed with qualified opportunities from a rotation of lead generation reps.
  • They use a snazzy implementation of salesforce.com to ensure that this rotation continues without a glitch.

So I sat back and thought about the pros and cons of this process:

  • Closers no longer feel short changed if they get a weaker lead gen rep.
  • Everyone gets meetings from all of the lead gen reps.
  • Everyone gets the same number of meetings, so from closer to closer, every calendar is balanced with the same number of meetings showing the true sales skills of the rep.
  • Because of the rotation, the inside sales reps have no territory. This eliminates every issue and complaint commonly associated with sales reps and territories — It’s not possible to complain!
  • Lead generation reps and inside sales closers never get the chance to develop that chemistry that, at its best, can make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
  • – I could see the closers getting frustrated over the lack of continuity.  For example I’d be willing to bet that the notes on how the meeting was scheduled vary wildly from rep A to rep B.

 From B2B Lead Blog

2. Match leads based on product or industry vertical expertise

People sell from different backgrounds, giving them unique talents based on their past experience, current and past customers, personality and motivation. Leverage this. The more you know about your salespeople, the more you can use that information to match them with leads they’ll have the most success with. This is why round robin lead distribution can be deadly to conversion. It assumes every salesperson is the same.

 

How to Create a Round Robin Lead or Case Assignment Rule

Posted on  by shellblack

First off, what is a “round robin”? Simply put, it’s a rotation through a group. In the context of Salesforce.com, the term round robin frequently comes into play when assigning Lead or Case records to users. For example, you might have five sales reps working new Leads and, as an administrator, you want to divvy out all new Leads equally among the five reps. So if you had a 100 new leads, you would want each rep to get exactly 20 Lead records.

NOTE: This example will be for Leads, but the same concept applies to Case Assignment Rules

A round robin assignment rule allows you to equally distribute new Lead records without having to manually assign them using a rotation.

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ConnectLeader® Introduces Click Dialer™ for Salesforce

ConnectLeader® Introduces Click Dialer™ for Salesforce.com – Easy-to-Use
Click to Call software for B2B sales reps

Click_Dialer_Monitor_blog_imageConnectLeader Click Dialer is a new click to call dialing app being launched as part of the ConnectLeader for Salesforce V2 upgrade. The app, which can be downloaded from the ConnectLeader AppExchange listing (for Salesforce Professional Edition & higher), now provides B2B sales teams with three sales acceleration solutions to boost their sales productivity. With the introduction of Click Dialer, Connectleader expands the range of dialing speeds available for B2B sales reps, increasing sales dialing productivity over manual dialing from 30% to 800%.

Salem, NH – ConnectLeader®, innovator of the Personal Dialer® and Team Dialer® sales dialing technology, is pleased to announce the introduction of Click Dialer™, a click-to-call software native to Salesforce.com. Click Dialer helps sales reps save time by automating dialing and data entry tasks, all from one simple interface.

While Click Dialer can be used by any salesperson, it works especially well for inside sales reps and account managers. Click Dialer works great for reps who typically make lower-volume calls and have longer conversations. Sales reps who prefer to conduct more research or use social networking sites like LinkedIn, will appreciate the amount of flexibility and control that Click Dialer provides.

Click Dialer included with new ConnectLeader for Salesforce V2 software

request live demoClick Dialer software can be downloaded for free as part of the ConnectLeader for Salesforce V2 application on AppExchange. This download includes also includes Personal Dialer® and Team Dialer® integrated within the Salesforce.com environment.

“We are very excited about the introduction of Click Dialer,” explained Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader. “Our customers have asked us to develop technologies that meet their unique selling style. Now with the introduction of Click Dialer, ConnectLeader provides a full range of dialing speeds unmatched in the sales acceleration industry.”

Click Dialer features an attractive, easy-to-use interface, includes the ability to pre-record voice messages, update call results, schedule follow-ups, send emails, and most importantly, provides real-time analytics within Salesforce.com. This tight integration ensures higher data quality and saves sales reps time by eliminating the need to record data in multiple locations.

“Click Dialer gives B2B sales reps another tool to improve productivity by spending less time on non-productive tasks and spending more time selling,” said Matt Stanton, VP of Sales at ConnectLeader. “We’re excited to extend this new product to our existing customers who can increase the value of their ConnectLeader investment by extending dialing solution to their entire sales team.”

Live Webinar for Inside Sales: The High Cost of Bad Data

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Live Webinar: The High Cost of Bad Data and What You Can Do About It

Date: April 15, 2015

Time: 1:00 PM ET (10:00 AM PT)

Place: BrightTalk Inside Sales Summit

Presenter: Henry Schuck, CEO, DiscoverOrg

Sponsored by: ConnectLeader and DiscoverOrg

Description:

Data quality is an often overlooked success factor in prospecting. Sales departments lose approximately 550 hours and $32,000 per inside sales rep from using bad prospect data. Most companies know that their data is a problem, but few realize the high costs involved with ignoring it.

If Bad Data is plaguing you, learn proactive measures to combat and treat bad data at its source. Join DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck as he demonstrates:

• Understanding how good data goes bad
• Measuring the impact of bad data
• Identifying problems in your data management
• Assessing what to look for in a data management solution

About DiscoverOrg

DiscoverOrg is the leading sales and marketing intelligence tool used by the top technology vendors, staffing companies and consultants targeting IT, Finance and Marketing departments of Fortune-ranked, Mid-Market and SMB companies in North America and Europe.

Register Now

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Tips for hiring a senior inside sales rep (Part 2)

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Note:

This is part two in a series on tips for hiring inside sales reps. This article focuses on hiring senior reps.

View Part I: Hiring a Junior Inside Sales Reps.

 

 

Image: bigstockphoto.com

Senior B2B Sales Rep Expectations

Drive – Why are they interviewing?

Senior sales candidates often have a myriad of motivations when they are looking for an inside sales job. They may have family, financial, or other concerns. Often determining their true motivation can help you better understand the candidates goals and motives.

Another factor is energy and work-ethics. Is the sales rep. willing to constantly do outbound prospecting or are they waiting for leads from marketing or personal networking? By definition, an inside sales rep is doing the bulk of his selling on the telephone. This can be a challenging environment if they haven’t done it before. Has the candidate previously worked in an inside sales team or is their experience primarily in channel sales or outside sales?

Skills – Relevant experience

  • Do they have skills that can immediately be put to use in our industry?
  • What types of b2b sales environments were they exposed to? Transactional? Enterprise?
  • History of six figure earnings
  • What single project or task would you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?
  • Do you want to be king, or rich?
  • Understanding of business sales cycles
  • What size opportunities have they FOUND, MANAGED and CLOSED.
  • Understanding of enterprise sales forecasting models
  • Can they take you through a funnel using percentages to calculate activities?
  • Have they performed in a metric-based environment

Creativity – What can you teach me what I don’t already know?

  • Have they developed or refined any sales processes in previous jobs that can be re-purposed?
  • Do they think creatively when presented with problems, or blame failures on process?

humble-inside-sales-candidateCoach-Ability / Humility – Are they able to take direction?

  • Have them sell you something during the interview.
  • Ask them what they thought they did well and what they could improve.
  • Then ask them to do it again.
  • Defensiveness tells you they can’t be coached.

Image: bigstockphoto.com

 

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What I look for when hiring a junior inside sales rep

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Before you make decisions based on your gut instincts,take a look of some of the questions I like to ask and what answers I should be hearing.

 

 

Questions for Entry Level Inside Sales Reps with 1-2 years of selling experience

Initiative – Have they started a company, club, or organization?

  • Is there a pattern of stepping in to offer solutions where need is going unmet?
  • Is there a history of competing at a highly competitive level? (organized sports)
  • Do they have basic inside sales experience (aka worked at Enterprise Rent a Car)?

Drive – Can they sell themselves?

Ask them to present themselves.

  • Is there a concise beginning middle and end?
  • Confidence/Quick thinking – Can they sell me our company?
  • From what they understand, can they think on their feet well enough to make a pitch?
  • If interrupted how do they react?

Coach-ability / Humility – Are they able to take direction

  • Have them sell you something during the interview.
  • Ask them what they thought they did well and what they could improve.
  • Then ask them to do it again.
  • Defensiveness tells you they can’t be coached.
  • How much “unlearning” will have to take place ?

Expectations – Can they sustain sales activities when there is no perceived positive outcome?

  • Are they wired for activity rather than analysis?
  • Is the default state to take action?

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Oh No! You didn’t make your inside sales quota! Now what?

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Image source: www.positiveimperative.com

Imagine this….You are an inside sales rep and you have to sell $1 million dollars this year.  If not, that’s it. You are history. No second chances.  Either make your quota or lose…  (you fill in the blank).

 What would you do to make this goal?

Would you make a plan? Set more appointments? Work smarter? Work harder?

If you were given a year,  would you develop a plan? Make as many dials as possible? Would you try EXTREMELY hard?

or would you just try a little, wait for inbound leads  and referrals and hope for the best?   Would you watch the clock, research accounts, surf the net, look at your tweets? Not pick up the phone?

So here are some statistics to think about courtesy of CSO Insights:

  • 58% of sales reps make quota (down from 63% in 2012)
  • 25.2% of leads are generated by marketing
  • 45.9% of leads are generated by sales reps

What can you do now?

Stop depending on marketing and work harder to generate your own sales leads

Create a personal sales plan, don’t wait for one to be created for you.

Take control of your inside sales process.

  1. Use a CRM to manage your sales process.

Do More

  • Make more phone calls
  • Send more emails
  • Get more referrals
  • Set more appointments
  • Make more demos
  • Generate more proposals
  • Close more deals.

Work smarter, not harder

Use sales acceleration tools to generate more leads, faster

Final Thoughts:

My first question is… what prevents sales reps from pushing the envelope without this type of motivation?  What holds you back?

If you can isolate this and figure it out,  you’ll achieve success.   Give it some thought and leave no stone unturned!

If you want to turn stones over faster…check out connectleader!

 

About the Author: Rick Hussey is an Inside Sales Rep for ConnectLeader. The comments included are Rick’s and do not necessarily represent the views of the company. Although we totally agree with him.

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