Top 10 Missed Opportunities from the Inside Sales Trenches
In this newsletter
I've spent the majority of this year traveling and delivering training to a wide range of inside sales teams and managers. Thousands of flight miles and hundreds of inside reps and managers later, I am here to tell my story, share some best practices, and alert you to the common pitfalls I've seen from the inside sales trenches.
Let's start with the good news: very few people are saying NO to inside sales. This sector is growing very rapidly. Every organization is sitting on open reqs, and new hires are ramping up and being groomed as the new sales sniper pilots. The not- so-good news? I've seen some missed opportunities out there.
Here are the top 10 missed opportunities, straight from the inside sales trenches:
LinkedIn is not used to best advantage.
- Managers: When you're investing in tools, LinkedIn must be at the top of your list as a social and sales intelligence tool. When you're setting up metrics, professional LinkedIn profiles that are well written and well networked should be included in your team's KPI.
- Teams: If you are waiting to close a deal from LinkedIn, you probably never will. Why? Because that's not what it's used for! Use LinkedIn the way it's intended to be used: to understand the political hierarchies of prospective clients, and to understand that your prospects will choose to do business with you based on what others think about you.
Email templates are still a mess.
- Managers: Who owns email? Is it Marketing? Just because a few templates are loaded in your CRM, you can't call it a day. Crafting sharp, succinct, well-written short email templates is the best investment you can make for your team. So next time you want to schedule a call blitz, think of scheduling a writing blitz.
- Teams: The email template you designed 6 months ago is stale. Freshen up, and remember: the shorter the better. Stick with the 2 paragraphs or less rule and make sure you have a killer subject line.
Wasted live calls are on the rise.
- Managers: You've invested in predictive dialers for your teams as a way to give them a break from the monotonous outbound dialing with low connect rates. But now you realize that dialers are code for eliminating authentic phone conversations. You may be grooming robots who don't know what to say when they get a live voice on the call.
- Teams: Be prepared when you finally get a live voice on the call. Your prospects won't tolerate uninformed openings that don't earn time. Punch it out!
Customer 2.0 is not being nurtured.
- Managers: Gaze into a crystal ball and see what the future holds in terms of outbound calls . . . The independent Customer 2.0 is more educated and independent than ever. They will call when they are ready and they will engage later in the sales cycle. Your sales teams must understand the art of nurturing. Why? Because regular nurturing will create more qualified inbound self-educated leads who will come on their terms.
- Teams: What's in your nurturing tool kit? Don't forget that enterprise deals require 8-12 unique touches so before jumping on the nurture train. Think about including different kinds of touches in your tool kit: webinar invites, Gartner Study results, YouTube videos, customer testimonials, etc.
Appointment mania is out of hand.
- Managers: Appointments are getting cancelled in record numbers because of desperate sales tactics. The more pressure you place around appointment setting, the greater the chances that appointments will get cancelled at the last minute. Lighten up!
- Teams: Next time you call to schedule an appointment, try asking for less than 6 minutes — you might earn more. Also, don't bring your army to the party. Instead, get theirs — and remember to confirm it via LinkedIn or texting.
Time is wasted counting dials and using only voice messaging.
- Managers: The days of counting outbound dials are gone. Measure more in your metrics. Voice mail is not exactly dead, but it's a major turn-off if it isn't supported with email and LinkedIn. Use the Triple Threat formula: em + vm + social = response.
- Teams: It's showtime! Engage your customer by using a Triple Threat messaging formula every time. Remember: em + vm + social = response.
Aged leads are being forgotten.
- Managers: You've done a superb job at diligently filling those lead buckets and setting up follow-up metrics, such as 4+ attempts. Remember — leads have a birth order that must be respected! Don't forget about your aged leads as they are gaining traction on converting faster.
- Teams: Focus on your most immediate leads and then shift into reverse and revitalize some of those old contacts. The 3-6 month-old leads are sure winners.
New hires are not being screened for skills.
- Managers: Managers who continue to use their old interviewing techniques will continue to regret their hiring choices. So after checking their social graph, toss some of your phone screening questions. Instead, put new hires through a writing test and ask more situational questions.
- Teams: Next time you are invited to interview future candidates, don't just make it a popularity contest. Will they make the cut as sales snipers and be an asset to your team?
No-Po Zone logjams are still happening.
- Managers: We are pleased to hear so many managers ask the tough No-Po questions during their 1:1 sales forecasting meetings, but usually it's too late. The teams are already stuck in the No-Po Zone and they can't get out. If you find a No-Po addict on your team, check them into rehab fast!
- Teams: No-Po's love to get you on the phone and keep you there. If you want to improve your metrics, learn the spot them quickly and run fast!
Slacker blitzers are proliferating.
- Managers: Guess what happens when you decide to turn your inside organization into a blitzing frenzy? You get slacker blitzers. These burned out rebels have decided they have better things to do than wasting their time blitzing, and they're right. Get off the blitz-go-round.
- Teams: Being a “slacker blitzer” is not only a contradiction in terms, it's counterproductive for you! Blitzing is a double-espresso prospecting shot. It's proven to increase numbers, productivity and revenues. Say no to slacking and yet to blitzing.
August 9th — The Telebusiness Alliance is Silicon Valley's Premier Organization for Inside Sales Managers and Directors. Josiane Feigon will be speaking at vendor day on Tuesday, August 9th. Sign up to learn about the latest inside sales trends 2011-2012.
September 19th — Game On! Inside Sales Mavericks Define the New Rules
Josiane will be the keynote speaker for this event. Sign up with “telesmart” as your discount code and here is the link.
Smart Selling Service Offerings 2011: TeleSmart provides a wide assortment of service offerings, ranging from on-site training to virtual webinars. Our training is all about inside sales — combining phone, online, and sales and social tools productivity. Watch Josiane's video and invite her for the following:
- Building a Sustainable Sales Training Culture - Audit Report
- 2-Day On-Site Training
- 1:1 Productivity Coaching
- Subscription Smart Shots Webinars
- Sales Kick-offs and Conferences
Josiane's Cycling Journey
Sponsor Josiane on her 300-mile bike ride through Israel. Any donation (tax-deductible, of course) is appreciated! See what it's all about.
Smart Selling on the Phone and Online Book voted book of the year by AA-ISP
Josiane Feigon Receives AA-ISP's Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals in 2011 Award for the 2nd year in a row!