Identifying your A players is vital for success.
You can only do this well if you have tracking mechanisms in place to accurately recognize and reward your best salespeople. That can be easier said than done. Below is a list of important considerations that are often overlooked.
The very first step is to have a consistent system for capturing and documenting every lead. Salespeople are notoriously bad at this, particularly when it comes to phone calls. There are also two inherent problems in relying on them to be the initial contact to handle a new sales call:
- They may not always be available. Prospects may respond to your website or other forms of marketing outside of your normal business hours, they may call when all of your personnel are out on sales calls or they may be calling from a different time zone. If you don’t provide a “live” response, and your competitor does, you may have lost a prospect for good.
- They may also have a vested interest in NOT reporting every contact in order to boost their “close rate”.
Tracking Lead Sources
It is also important to track the source of every lead. You want to make sure that the right employee gets credit for the prospects they actually generated. Did an opportunity come from a referral source they cultivated, a networking event they attended, a letter or an e-mail they sent out, etc.
If you are going to hold your team accountable for their close rates, you need a consistent qualifying process. Salespeople should not be punished for a marketing campaign that missed the mark and generated large numbers of “unqualified” leads. On the other hand, you don’t want poor performers to be able to make excuses by simply claiming that they couldn’t close on “bad” prospects. Qualifying questions need to be established that are asked up-front on every new sales call, documented and included in reporting.
Once you have succeeded in putting a system in place for responding to new sales calls, documenting them, tracking their source and qualifying them – you need to get them to the right company personnel ASAP. That may require categorizing them by territory, type of service/product request, source, etc. You may also need some type of on-call schedule to ensure someone is always available to follow-up. Then, you need a mechanism for delivering leads to salespeople in a timely fashion. The communication mode may have to vary depending upon who you are assigning them to (ex. cell phone, e-mail, text message, etc.). A prospect can potentially be worth thousands of dollars for the next hour and then worth absolutely nothing if they move on to your competitor.
The beauty of having consistent processes in place to handle new sales calls is that, you can not only identify who your best performers actually are, you can use that knowledge to create benchmarks and teach their best practices to weaker team members. You can also ensure that you are rewarding the right salespeople and creating incentives for good performance.
Your rainmakers’ time is precious. It is best spent in front of qualified prospects. It can be far less expensive, more accurate and more dependable to have other personnel or a lead call center handle the initial response to a prospect’s call. You will always be able to guarantee a “live” response, accurate documentation, consistent and honest qualifying and fast delivery of leads.
What can you adjust in your tracking system to ensure you are rewarding the right sales people?
This blog was written by Laurie Leonard, the President of SUITE 1000, a U.S. based national telephone answering service, inbound call center and outsourced call center service. Her company has specialized in handling legal intake, sales leads, email lead response, appointment scheduling, customer service and help desk calls for over 20 years.