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Updated: 1 hour 5 min ago

Building Healthy Sales Funnels

Wed, 2017-07-26 09:30

By Josiane Feigon

It’s a new year, and it is important to build a strong, healthy sales funnel. The difference between a weak sales funnel and a healthy sales funnel is the type of activity you fill it with.

A weak funnel could just be one or two big deals that are lingering, but nothing is closing. A healthy sales funnel includes both small and large deals that are moving through at a good rate and eventually closing.

Tips on How to Build a Healthy Sales Funnel:
  1. Add at least 5 new qualified opportunities to your pipeline each week. Your pipeline should have at least 40% of new business opportunities each month.
  2. Remember today’s customer is more unpredictable than ever before. They are here today, gone tomorrow, and may come back 9 months later. Don’t disregard leads just because they have been sitting dormant for 6+ months.
  3. Refresh your lead sorting/prioritization criteria. You have old opportunities that have been sitting in your funnel for 18+ months. Are these the ones you want to toss first? They may not be.
  4. Don’t deep clean, deep qualify. When there are so many leads clogging up the funnel, reps tend to focus more on qualifying something out rather than qualifying them deeper.
  5. Toughen up your questions. Remember to ask the tough questions early and often. Salespeople who do this find they have a stronger and more focused funnel. Try the following categories: Current Environment, Business Need, Decision-making Process and Criteria, Competition, Timeframe, Budget, Next Steps.
  6. Beware of the No-Po’s. These professional funnel cloggers will never commit and will continue to make false promises. Ask lots of decision-making questions here to vet out who they are.
  7. Say yes to small deals – they are the building blocks of solid salesmanship.

Conclusion

Stay positive, keep your head down, and don’t get caught in the fear and uncertainty that surrounds us.
About the Author

Josiane Feigon is the President of TeleSmart Communications. She is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Josiane is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.

 

 

Embrace the New Era of Sales Interactions or Get Left Behind

Fri, 2017-07-14 09:30

The modern digital age brings with it a new era of sales interactions. Text messaging, online chats, video chats, and other contemporary forms of correspondence now supplement traditional options such as phone calls, mailers, and in-person meetings. These modern-day means of communication to customers, especially texting prospects, can produce desired outcomes.

Millennials now fill more and more leadership roles in business and have the power to make major purchase decisions. OpenMarket reported that 76% of Millennials would rather receive text messages instead of calls from companies because of texting’s convenience. Another survey conducted by Zipwhip revealed that 37% of adults (in general) agree.

Reasons to Adopt Online Chat and Text Messaging

Reaching out to your prospects and customers in their preferred manner only makes sense. Texting used to give businesses a competitive advantage, today it’s the norm and is becoming less cutting-edge. If you’re not texting prospects, you’re falling behind, especially considering the average person looks at their cell phone 150 times each day. Still not sold? Here are a few key reasons why you should incorporate online chat and text prospecting into your sales strategy.

Text messaging:

  1. 25% of consumers don’t listen to voicemails from callers they don’t know.
  2. Most people don’t answer phone calls from numbers they don’t recognize.
  3. Customers find it more convenient to respond to a text message than have a phone conversation.
  4. Businesses can see if a message has been delivered or read.
  5. When integrated into the sales process, texting increases the conversion rate by 40%.

Online chat:

  1. Online chat is an effective way to engage prospects early in the buying process. Individuals reading your articles or reviewing your website likely need a solution that you offer. In other words, they’re hot leads that you can reach right then through online chat.
  2. Armed with the ability to answer questions and eliminate buying objections, conversions increase by 20% with the use of live chat according to Insite Software.
  3. Online chat improves customer satisfaction thanks to real-time response to questions, leaving the prospect with a positive impression of your brand.
Best Practices for Texting Prospects

Instructing your sales team to start texting prospects is not enough. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the best practices for sending text messages to leads.

  1. Establish contact through another format before texting. The more familiar a prospect is with the rep, the more likely the individual will respond to a text. Texting should integrate into your current strategy.
  2. Create templates. Save time for your sales reps by creating sample text messages that can customize and use in different situations. This also affords you some control over brand voice.
  3. Don’t ignore questions or replies. Develop a procedure for handling customer service issues in case the query is out of the salesperson’s range of expertise. You’re likely to see these once the prospect converts to a client.
  4. Let the contact know who is texting them. In the first sentence, have the salesperson identify him- or herself by name, position, and company.
  5. Deliver value. Have a purpose for each text message sent whether it’s a reminder of an appointment or to ask a specific question.
  6. Be professional. Instruct your team to avoid jargon and to use good judgment before sending emojis.
  7. Measure your results and analyze data to understand where they need to improvements in their approach.
  8. Integrate conversations into CRM to create a full picture of each account. VanillaSoft’s SMS texting feature offers the ability to send and receive messages within the platform.
Best Practices for Live Online Chat

Online chat is in the same realm as texting; however, it requires its own set of guidelines for ideal use. Review the list of best practices below to see maximum return on your investment.

  1. Humanize the approach. Don’t be robotic. Ask the individual questions about the recently viewed content.
  2. Be cautious with your language. Receiving a pop up for a chat can come off as intrusive or impersonal. The customer experience should be a top priority.
  3. Be patient. Give prospects time to get interested and involved with your content. Avoid messaging them the second they enter the website.
  4. Pull them in with a thought-provoking first message to engage them in a conversation
  5. Be helpful. Recommend a relevant white paper or service based on the content they’re viewing.
  6. Maintain brand messaging. The brand’s voice should shine through in all correspondence, including online chat.
  7. Develop a procedure for customer service inquiries to be referred to the appropriate team or person.
  8. Analyze the data. Review what’s working and make minor changes until you get the right formula that leads to conversions.

Texting and chatting online are only two of the many modern ways to communicate with your customers and prospects. There are a plethora of video chatting platforms from Skype where you only see the other person’s face, to Zoom where you can share your screen. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are popping up more and more too. However, be cautious when adopting chatbots. The technology is available, but these services have a long way to go before they can replace a human response.

For highly effective personalized communications, try texting prospects and/or employing staff to chat with website visitors. Read more about the effectiveness of leveraging text messages with your inside sales efforts in this blog post.

Are you using text messaging or live chat in your sales strategy? If so, share one of your tips with us in the comments below.

Text Prospecting: Proceed and be Bold

Wed, 2017-07-12 09:15

By Josiane Feigon

Inside salespeople are the early adopters of new ways of prospecting. As they struggle to survive in today’s dying telephone culture, they’re still in the business of getting a response. Text prospecting is one of the fastest ways to get responses (text messages are read within the first 5 seconds), increase connectivity, confirm appointments, gain trust, motivate employees, solve problems, and strengthen your brand.

When Should you Text and What to Think About?

You must approach text prospecting with caution and be professional about it. The first rule is the better the prospect knows you, the more effective your prospecting text message will be. The less they know you, the more likely you will cause offense and be perceived as too pushy.

Here are a few basics to think about when your communications are 250 characters or less:

  • Identify yourself
  • Watch your tone
  • Use proper grammar and spelling, and skip the abbreviations (LOL, OMG, IMHO, BFF)
  • Be careful using links
Acceptable Text Prospecting Messages to Send
  1. Appointment reminder and confirmation – Anyone on your calendar should receive a text reminder and confirmation. This is one of the best ways to keep it from being canceled. “Hi Bob, this is Susan Smith with VanillaSoft, are we still on for 4 pm today? Looking forward to it.”
  2. Your external partner and current customers – These are people you already have a relationship with and are comfortable speaking with in a casual tone.“Hey, Bob, it’s Susan Smith with VanillaSoft. Any chance we can jump on a call to discuss next steps together?”
  3. Thanking them and following-up.

Conclusion:

As mobile messaging continues to grow, text messaging will take on a bigger role in the sales landscape.

 

About the Author

Josiane Feigon is the President of TeleSmart Communications. She is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Josiane is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.
 
 

 

Call Recordings; The Good, Bad, and Ugly

Wed, 2017-06-28 08:15

By Josiane Feigon

If you work in inside sales and you haven’t spent time listening to your recorded calls, you are doing yourself a disservice. Call recordings are an essential part of your development as an inside sales rep and should be integrated into an organization’s sales environment. With all the technologies out there for call recordings, this is becoming more common in today’s sales environments.

Let’s discuss the various points of view on this:

The Good

Call recordings are the best way to train, learn, grow and develop your skills. It is a perfect onboarding tool if you want to quickly ramp your people up. When you are using it as a coaching tool, the rep is usually less anxious and defensive and can listen to feedback in a more relaxed way.

You can break down calls and only work on specifics such as just the opening of the call or just the questioning. There is a stronger chance for improvement when you break it down into small chunks. You can also role-play new techniques.

The Bad

It’s still a controversial topic because of all the laws and regulations for call recordings in certain states. Some organizations do not allow call recordings. They are very cautious about call recordings, and if they allow it, they will add a disclaimer at the beginning of the call which requires the rep to announce the recording is taking place and ask permission. While this works well for inbound customer service types of calls, it is not well received on outbound prospecting calls. The prospect loses trust and cooperation.

The Ugly

Unfortunately, some reps have been traumatized from the feedback they received in working with a manager who listened to their call recording. It was either too negative, or too much to absorb and they walked away with a negative experience which demotivated them.

Conclusion

I highly recommend you consider creating a safe call coaching culture across your organization. This is the best way to grow, develop, and improve performance.

About the Author

Josiane Feigon is the President of TeleSmart Communications. She is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Josiane is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.

How to Respond When a Prospect Questions Your Pricing

Wed, 2017-06-21 09:30

If you’ve been in sales for any length of time, you’ve had a prospect (or a few) insist that your price is too high. But what does that statement really mean? Is the price objection due to budget, a lack of knowledge regarding the market, or is your product missing standard features and falling short of the competition? The first step to responding to these grievances is finding out why price is a barrier to closing the sale.

Once your sales representatives discover the root of the prospect’s price objection, they can begin to remedy the situation. However, it’s not always easy to get people to explain their reasoning. A powerful tactic to getting to the core of your prospect’s objection is to remain silent. This can cause them to reexamine their statement and begin explaining themselves. Let’s review four standard price-related complaints and how sales reps can steer the prospect to a ‘yes.’

4 Common Price Objections and Potential Reactions
  1. Budget – Are they lacking the budget for this period only, or is the price too high to ever be an option? Sometimes the initial investment is too significant, but if you can offer a payment plan, it’s instantly made feasible. Another issue that can arise with budget is that the prospect doesn’t see the value of the product.

Reaction:

If a payment plan isn’t enough to remedy budget problems and elicit a sale, ask if the budget will become available and circle back at that time. The representative can also offer to repackage a new deal to meet their budget. This will reveal what features they can go without and which they must have.

Explain how the solution you’re selling is an investment in the company’s future. It’s not an expense like an office chair or a lamp, it will have an actual ROI. If you can create a realistic formula to estimate the ROI – even better. Providing a dollar amount makes it more tangible, and the prospect can weigh out the value.

Going back to the worth of your product/service, invite the prospect to look at the cost of doing nothing or the cost of going to a cheaper competitor. What will they be missing out on?

  1. Too expensive – Compared to what? Expensive is a relative term, and the rep will need to find out how expensive they believe your product is. This can open the doors for negotiation.

Reaction:

If the buyer believes you’re overpriced compared to competitors, ensure that they’re comparing apples to apples. If possible, get a copy of the competing proposal to make a comparison and review the included features line by line. Doing so will reveal any major differences in the two offers and hopefully explain a portion of the price disparity.

Reassure them of the added value that comes with a higher price tag. Perhaps it’s not a product detail or feature, but something related to the warranty or support they’ll receive from going with your brand. Maybe your product has higher ratings than the competing product. Whatever your competitive advantages are, they should be presented to the buyer.

  1. Lacking features – Are there features that the purchaser has seen in similar products that yours is missing? If so, the rep should work to find out if these are deal breakers or a negotiation tactic on behalf of the buyer.

Reaction:

Play up features your brand is offering that others don’t. Explain to the prospect that although we don’t have ‘x,’ we have ‘y’ that will provide more value to you in the long run.

If the feature in question is brought up by several prospects, the brand should consider a partnership with a stand-alone service that fills the gap or figure out how to get it on your product roadmap. With a technology product or service, future plans to add the missing feature, and have it included later at no cost, could help to close the deal.

  1. Time – This factor can arise in several forms. The prospect may not have the ability to be down when transitioning to new software, they may require an immediate return on investment, or they may not want to put in the time and effort to train employees on something new. Time equals money, and these are reasonable objections. Sellers just need to know how to respond.

Reaction:

Here are a few responses based on the time objections noted above. Assure the buyer that the downtime will be minimal. Point out that they can continue with business as usual until it’s time to make the switch. If possible, offer the option to finalize any transitions after hours.

Depending on your product, an immediate return may or may not be possible. Calculate what the return will be after one month, three months, six months, one year, etc. Seeing these numbers laid out helps demonstrate value.

If your product will require training, explain how the time invested is worth it. What is the cost of doing nothing? Does it make sense to skip the purchase because a few hours will be spent on training? Probably not. If you’re selling a solution, it will likely save time in the future and have significant value.

When to Accept a ‘No’

Sometimes there’s no way around a price objection. In these cases, the lead was likely wrongly qualified. Improperly qualified leads can clog up your pipeline and waste your sales team’s valuable time. When qualifying leads at your organization, the budget should be one of the first factors considered. Even though many sales teams are moving away from the age-old BANT mantra from IBM, which begins with Budget, they are still keeping Budget in their qualification process.

As a manager, you must ensure that your sales team understands when to accept defeat and quit wasting any more time. Management should acknowledge to their representative that there was nothing more they could have done, and avoid pinning guilt on their inability to close the deal. Sometimes matters of price objection are truly out of their control, and no explanations or negotiation tactics will sway the prospect’s decision. Encourage your rep to stay positive and look forward to the next opportunity.

Objection Rebuttals to the 10 Most Common Objections

Wed, 2017-06-14 09:30

By Josiane Feigon

We are selling in a volatile economy, which means you can expect more of everything. More competitors, more excuses, more objections. These sales objections are delivered in various ways from phone to email to texting, but over the years, these objections have stayed the same.

Categories of Objections

Objections haven’t changed in many years, they still fall into the main five categories.

  1. Need
  2. Relationship
  3. Authority
  4. Product/Service
  5. Price

Let’s look at each of these categories more closely.

Need

Occasionally, a customer’s need has decreased since the last time you spoke with them. Markets change too, sometimes overnight.

Objections You May Hear:

  •      ‘‘We don’t see a need for this type of solution.’’
  •      ‘‘I am not interested.’’
  •      ‘‘We’re not ready to do anything right now.’’

Relationship

People do business with people they like. Your customer may be resisting simply because something went wrong with your relationship.

Objections You May Hear:

  •      ‘‘We’ve made a large investment in our current solution.’’
  •      ‘‘The vendor we use provides the connectivity we need.’’

Authority

Your caller may not be the final decision or doesn’t have the authority to make decisions.

Objections You May Hear:

  •      ‘‘Our corporate headquarters buys solutions for our networks.’’
  •      ‘‘I can’t get the higher level to approve of this project.’’

Product/Service

Customers are knowledgeable and picky. They have less patience with anything that is too complicated, yet they expect more functionality than ever before.

Objections You May Hear:

  •      ‘‘Your service offerings are too complicated.’’
  •      ‘‘We’ve had a bad experience with your company before.’’

Price

Not everyone can afford to buy what they truly need. That is why it is so important to qualify your prospect.

Objections You May Hear:

  •      ‘‘Your company is way too expensive, and we’re very small.’’
  •      ‘‘It’s too expensive and includes more features than we need.’’
Getting Past the Objections

The best way to rebound from all these objections is to ask precision questions that get behind these objections. Here are some rebuttals you can use based on the objection:

“I don’t have time to talk.”

  • I know that you are very busy. What is your recommendation to me for getting in touch with you?

“I’m not interested.”

  • What is your familiarity with VanillaSoft? What do you think about these products?

“You’re too expensive.”

  •      What are you comparing us to? I want to be sure you are comparing apples to apples.      

“We don’t have the Budget.”

  • If you did have the budget, which renewal options would be of most interest to you?
  • What have you looked at regarding “price” versus “cost?”

Conclusion:

Don’t let objections discourage you. Look at them as an opportunity to dig deeper and discover the best option for your prospects.

 

About the Author

Josiane Feigon is the President of TeleSmart Communications. She is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Josiane is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.

 

Helping New Reps Overcome the Fear of Rejection

Wed, 2017-06-07 10:23

New reps come in with one of two mindsets. Either “let’s do this, I’m ready to dial and smile,” or “what if they hang up on me or even worse, say no?” The potential of rejection for novice sales representatives can be debilitating. It’s management’s job to help new hires tackle their cold calling fears.

“A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.” –Bo Bennett
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What Fuels Cold Calling Fears

Let’s examine what drives cold calling anxieties so we can put them into perspective. First of all, fear is an emotion. It’s what puts people in a state of “fight or flight.” Humans experience fear when they lack control, are facing uncertainty, or are confronted with other dangers.

What stirs up this negative emotion about cold calling? The lack of control and uncertainty of whether the conversation will go as the caller would like it to. The prospect may not be interested in purchasing your product or service, a possibility your sales team needs to come to terms with.  Below I’m listing eight ways to support your team in overcoming their cold calling fears.

1.     Have a Positive Mindset

Rejection is inevitable, and it happens to us all. Those who succeed do not dwell on their rejections. No, they revel in their successes. Highlighting your teams’ wins and achievements will inspire your new reps to excel in their career as a sales professional. Concentrating on the impact of the product they sell allows salespeople to get excited about the value that they’re offering.

2.     How Many Calls, Not How Many Sales

Another factor reminder for your sales team is that it takes an average of eight attempts to reach a prospect. Having this statistic in the back of their mind may help them to steer away from discouragement. It lets them know they’re not the only one dealing with the challenge of getting through to people.

Shifting the focus to an activity that your rep can control, as opposed to one that they can’t, alleviates some of the pressure. Consider pinning goals to total call attempts instead of the number of deals closed.

3.     Focus on the Fit

Rather than obsessing over making the sale, encourage your reps to confirm product fit. Is the product or service the right fit for this prospect? Having a “does it fit” mentality puts sales professionals in a better mental state.

When focusing on the product’s or service’s usefulness for a specific contact, a salesperson may not feel as desperate to make the sale. His or her mind is focused on helping versus selling. People want to know that they’re making the right decision when purchasing products and services.

Your sales reps can help potential customers evaluate the product by asking the right questions and explaining the value. Provide employees with case studies to help them better understand the value offered.

4.     Review Calls and Provide Advice

By taking the time to listen to previous calls and providing new reps with feedback, management can gauge training needs. Call recording and review also provides an excellent opportunity for giving advice to team members on how they can improve. Most new reps will welcome insights from a more experienced colleague, be it management or even a peer who has been on the job longer.

Another way to help new sales reps overcome their fears is to shadow their calls. VanillaSoft offers a feature that allows you to listen in on a conversation. There’s even the option to whisper and talk to your sales rep directly while they’re on the call. Though this could be intimidating to a new sales professional, let them know that you’re doing it to assist them and provide any guidance they may need, not to criticize them.

5.     Maintain a Regular Training Schedule

A sense of preparedness brings self-confidence to any task. Provide your new reps with a regular training program during their first few months on the job. You can offer training on topics like how to explain product value to prospects, the science of proper follow-up, and how to handle objections. Incorporating sales call role-playing into their training will be beneficial too.

6.     Use Incentives as Motivators

Another way to overcome fear is to tackle it head on. The livelihood of call center sales representatives is often tied to meeting sales quotas. Incentives and bonuses can encourage them to make more calls. More calls lead to more chances of making a sale, it also means the rep will likely begin to overcome their cold calling fears.

7.     Start with the Easy Leads

Don’t give your best leads to new hires. Save those for more experienced callers. Give your new reps leads that will not cause devastation if they mess them up. If there’s a buyer profile that is likely to close, give your newbies a few of those leads. A few easy wins will boost their confidence and get them ready to engage with bigger prospects.

8.     Invest in Technology

There are several tools available to help build up the confidence of new reps. Here are some additional solutions that can give your salespeople more support and confidence with every call:

These valuable features can simplify the work of both experienced and new sales reps.

Helping your new team members to overcome their fear of rejection and boosting their self-confidence will have lasting effects. The rep and your company will see greater successes and growth. How do you help your team get over their cold calling fears?

Building an Email Template Library

Wed, 2017-05-31 10:00

By Josiane Feigon

Inside sales must have a High Tool IQ which means knowing their tools and using them effectively throughout the sales cycle. Email templates are part of your tools inventory; your emails are constantly evolving documents and today’s emails should be shorter with strong subject lines. They need to be part of your “triple threat” arsenal which includes voice mail + email+ LinkedIn= high response.

It is important to realize that sending out emails when you are prospecting is your job as a salesperson and not the marketing organizations’ job. They may be doing larger lead generation email marketing campaigns but this should not discourage you from sending your emails.

Here are sample templates to include when building your email template library.

Let’s look at the Multiple Attempts emails which is when you are reaching out to the same person multiple times. You don’t want to send out the exact same email, instead, change it up to include:

  • 1st attempt email: The “lite” introduction
  • 2nd attempt email: More specific information customized to the prospect
  • 3rd attempt email: The ROI on your product/service
  • 4th attempt email: This is the break-up email AKA “Going . . . going . . .  gone!”

Pay special attention to your subject lines on these emails and especially on this final attempt which can include subject lines such as: “I’m concerned…..” or “Is this goodbye?” or “Permission to Close Your File?”

Other templates include:

  • Webinar invitation: Benefits for attending
  • Webinar, white paper follow-up: Thank them and include benefits
  • Appointment Request
  • Lead response; follow-up on webinar, evaluation, white paper download
  • Invitation for event or demo
  • Proposal and quote follow-up
  • News and announcement: Make it exciting
  • Vertical specific
  • Title specific

Conclusion:

Your email template library will continue to grow and evolve. As you accumulate your templates, trade with your peers so you will have a robust list.

Remember you want to press “send” while leaving a voice mail to leverage your email in this “Dynamic Duo” outreach strategy.

 

About the Author

Josiane Feigon is the President of TeleSmart Communications. She is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Josiane is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.

 
 

Call Center Tips and Tools for Your Sales Team

Fri, 2017-05-26 09:30

Successful businesses build their call centers on a foundation of talent, technology, and training. Employing competent sales talent and providing them with proper training will set your company up for success. Productive and efficient teams also have access to the right technology. Automated utilities, such as auto dialer software for call centers, help keep your team on track to hit your sales goals.

Today’s post is a refresher on some of the “common sense” tips — the things managers often take for granted that most sales representatives know — coupled with technology.

Phone Etiquette for Call Centers

The first few seconds of a call set the tone for the entire conversation. Your call center agents need to convey the right message about the company and set the tone immediately. If your sales representative had an in-person meeting you would want them to have a professional appearance and be courteous; ensure that your reps carry this mentality over into their calls. Here are a few ground rules your team should follow when on a call. Some should be common sense, but it never hurts to put it in writing.

  1. Address the prospect as Mr. or Ms. _____ unless they say otherwise.
  2. When placing someone on hold, tell them why and provide an expected hold time.
  3. Express gratitude for their patience when returning from a hold.
  4. If a call has to be transferred to someone else, the agent should explain why and let them know who they will be speaking with next.
  5. No eating, smoking, or gum chewing on a call. This should be common sense, but it’s pretty important.
  6. Ensure that your reps are competent and prepared. Prospects will see the time spent on the call as wasted if the caller is ill prepared, leading to an immediate loss of the chance of a sale.
  7. Consistency is key. Every caller should portray the same company message and persona.
  8. At the end of the call, the caller should open up the conversation for any other questions and then reiterate the next step in the sales process. Allowing them another chance to speak will portray a sense of caring beyond presenting the pitch and rushing to get off of the phone.
  9. Never interrupt, and let them hang up first. The prospect may have another question, and if the rep hangs up first, they chance cutting them off mid-sentence.
Auto Dialer Software and Other Useful Tools for Call Centers

Technology that makes a salesperson’s job easier is one of the best investments a business can make. By providing your team with the proper tools, you give your reps more time to do what you hired them for – to make as many quality sales calls as possible. Here are three features VanillaSoft offers to make your sales team more productive and efficient.

Auto Dialer – The auto dial feature keeps your salespeople on track and on the phone as much as possible. With both progressive (the next best contact is dialed automatically) and preview/click-to-call (caller can review contact info before initiating the next call) dialing, these features increase call volume by 35%-100%.

Voice Drop – This feature frees up time for your inside sales team. Instead of sitting through a voicemail prompt and then taking 30 seconds or more to leave a message, voice drop allows the caller to queue up a pre-recorded voicemail and move on to the next call.

Logical Branch Scripting – Keep your messaging consistent by providing your callers with a winning script. As the conversation progresses, logical branch scripting reflects the prospect’s responses and where they are in the buying cycle.

In addition to saving time and energy for the salesperson, VanillaSoft allows management to easily monitor their team’s efforts and the status of leads. These are only three of our many powerful sales tools. Check out VanillaSoft’s other best-in-class features here.

Practical Inside Sales Techniques for the Call Center

We’ve covered call center phone etiquette along with a few valuable VanillaSoft features that can simplify your agents’ jobs. Next, let’s review some useful inside sales techniques that your call center agents can use to move prospects and leads closer to a purchase decision. You’re probably familiar with many of these, but a few may be new to you.

Tips for the team
  1. Smile when speaking. The contact should feel like the caller is happy to talk with them. A smile really does shine through in your voice.
  2. Speak more slowly. When people are nervous, their cadence tends to speed up. Encourage your team to slow down to make their speech sound more natural.
  3. Allow for a moment of silence after making a statement or finishing the pitch. That second or two carries a lot of power.
  4. Use the prospect’s name. It personalizes the call and builds familiarity with the prospect.
  5. Use verbal cues like “yes” and “uh-huh” to let the contact know you’re paying attention.
  6. Repeat prospect’s words or phrases to show understanding.
  7. Empathize with the contact to build trust and rapport.
  8. Set up a clean workspace free of distractions and clutter. This will help you stay focused on the objective of selling.
Tips for managers
  1. Provide your team with sales software that has minimal distractions (bells and whistles you don’t need or use). Most CRM solutions provide too many features that confuse or distract callers. VanillaSoft limits distractions and facilitates more productive and efficient sales calls.
  2. Monitor and review sales calls for needed improvements. Management can do this for the team, but consider giving your sales reps the option to do this on their own too.
  3. Role play with your agents to help them perfect their pitch. Get sales reps to regularly practice together, too.
  4. Encourage your team to read blogs, articles, and books about sales success every chance they get. You can even send out a daily or weekly email with content to fuel their learning and provide some motivation.
  5. Train your team on social selling tactics for relationship building. Simply reviewing a contact’s social accounts before a call can reveal a common interest or hobby that they can use to connect with them.

Working in sales in a call center can be difficult without the face-to-face interaction that sales reps out in the field get. However, following the tips and techniques listed above, combined with tools like auto dialer software, can make it easier for your team to close more deals. Do you have any methods or tips that work for your sales reps that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Creating Opening Sales Statements that Earn You Time

Wed, 2017-05-17 13:11

By Josiane Feigon

In today’s new normal reality, connect rates are dropping. The customer sees the phone as a rude interruption, yet we continue to robo-dial in hopes of getting a LIVE person on the phone. And in those valuable six seconds when your prospect picks the phone only to hear the inside sales rep waste that live call because they were not prepared.

Ouch! Today’s customers are not forgiving when a live call is wasted. Even when it’s not, they seem to vanish; disappearing into the ozone, never to be found again. There is nothing more frustrating than watching a rep dial and dial and dial and finally get a live call and unfortunately waste that live call.

Here’s how live calls are being wasted because of weak openings:

This generic opening annoys the customer so much because they’ve heard this before, so the customer shuts down. This happens when the salesperson has made hundreds of calls that week and their tone is flat and their opening is very generic.

Their opening will sound startled, something like this:

 “Hi, this is Susan with VanillaSoft, I was just calling to introduce myself.”

OR

“Hi, this is Susan with VanillaSoft, I was calling to check to see if you have any projects going on that I could help with.”

No matter how busy our prospects are, they really appreciate a salesperson who comes in prepared with a strong opening sales statement that tells the prospect exactly why they are calling and what they want out of the call.

Here’s an example of a strong opening:

“Hi, this is Susan with VanillaSoft and the purpose of my call is to introduce myself, learn about your needs to see if there is a potential match. By the end of the call, I would like to us to identify a few people on your team we can invite to an upcoming event.”

OR

“Hi, this is Susan with VanillaSoft and I wanted to thank you for downloading our trial eval. My goal is to better understand your interest in our solution and by the end of our call today, I would like schedule a brief appointment with one of our technical engineers to review your needs.”

The difference between the weak and strong openings is the stronger call objective tells the prospect exactly who you are, why you are calling and what you hope to accomplish. The most important part is wrapping it up by saying “at the end of the call” because this provides you with immediate control and earns you more time on the call.

Notice the difference? The strong opening earns more time and creates more accountability on the call. The delivery has a strong tone and pace. The tone is friendly, approachable, authoritative, conversational and confident. Your pace should not be too fast or too slow but sound more conversational. It does not sound generic or rehearsed.

Conclusion:

Script your opening sales statement using this formula and you’ll see how much more time you will earn. What you’ll include is your name, your company, the reason for calling, your goal and what you hope to accomplish by the end of the call.

When you come in with more= you will walk away with more.

About the Author

Josiane Feigon is the President of TeleSmart Communications. She is a pioneer, maverick, and visionary in the inside sales community. Consistently recognized among The Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professionals, Josiane is one of the world’s leading experts on inside sales team and management talent.

 

 

Boost Sales Performance with Sales Lead Tracking

Fri, 2017-05-12 09:30

Companies that apply CRM software and other sales lead tracking systems have a higher lead-to-close ratio. We’ve seen it here at VanillaSoft countless times.  An organization’s overall productivity level and bottom-line are significantly impacted by using a lead tracking software. Those that are fumbling between multiple spreadsheets are missing out and likely losing sales from a poor buyer’s journey.

Lead software efficiently funnels prospects through to the sale. Take a moment to consider your brand’s sales journey. Is it streamlined and effective, or disconnected and underperforming? Is management in touch with current sales numbers and forecasted sales at all times? Are you making it easy for your representatives to make calls? Below are seven reasons your brand can boost sales performance by tracking leads.

 

7 Reasons Your Brand Should Be Using Sales Lead Tracking Software

Increased sales numbers, that’s pretty much what every business owner wants. The B2B Lead found that “sales reps ignore 50% of marketing leads.” Tracking leads can ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and all leads are contacted and accounted for. Though a spreadsheet will work for tracking leads, investing in technology is the better option with room for scaling up. You’ll be amazed at how much more your team can accomplish with automation and an easy to use platform.

  1. Organization is key. Both salespeople and management teams work more efficiently when the data they’re working with is organized. A few examples of how leads can be arranged are by:
  • Stage in the buyer’s journey
  • Lead status (qualified or unqualified)
  • Lead source
  • General segmentation based on company size, demographic, industry, etc.
  1. Improved efficiency. Sales lead tracking software keeps salespeople moving. By cutting back on repetitive data entry, your representatives can focus more on tasks that generate revenue, i.e. making calls. A benefit for management on this note is their ability to check on a lead’s status at any time without disrupting their sales team.
  2. Personalization is expected. Today’s consumers expect personalization, and I don’t mean referring to them by their first names. Your messaging and the content delivered to them should align with their stage in the buyer’s journey. VanillaSoft offers workflow scripting, customizable templates, and automated messages to create targeted communications.
  3. Better reporting and forecasting. Current lead data is always available to management and other team members. Having the most up to date information at your fingertips allows for more accurate predictions. This data can easily prove ROI of marketing tasks and bring to light needed improvements of lead generation tactics.
  4. Retain more customers. Once a prospect has transformed into a client there’s still work to do. A centralized data system creates ease on renewal dates and when carrying out customer services tasks like responding to inquiries or following up.
  5. Improve the sales process. Data gathered in the journey to the sale – for those that make it and those that you lose – can be applied to future steps in your sales funnel. Management will be able to see what’s working well and what isn’t.
  6. Lead distribution is easier. Instead of manually routing leads, products like VanillaSoft route leads based on parameters input by management. Aspects you may want to consider when routing leads among your sales team include:
    • Region
    • Salesperson’s experience level
    • Previous history of contact
    • Time since lead submission

Anyone can see how beneficial it is for organizations to adopt a sales lead tracking software. Don’t waste the leads that the marketing team is generating. Use technology and automation to keep tabs on every lead that comes through.

Tips for Motivating Your Sales Team

Another way to lift sales performance is to fuel your sales team’s motivation. Motivated employees are more focused, committed, and lead to happier customers. Whether a seasoned professional or a new caller, a little encouragement goes a long way.

  1. Create competition. Healthy rivalry around the office is a good thing. Offer an incentive to your sales team that everyone on the team wants. It could be something tangible like a gift card, or simply recognition. Public praise is a self-esteem booster and shows employees that their hard work is being noticed.
  2. Provide the opportunity for growth. Be transparent with your staff on how their devotion to your brand will pay off. Also, give employees the freedom and encouragement to be innovative in their roles. If someone is highly interested in social selling, let them experiment with it. According to HubSpot, “social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing.” It’s worth a shot!
  3. Deliver regular coaching. Your employees want to succeed, and you expect certain results. The question is, are you helping them to develop their skills? Note both their strengths and areas of weakness that need to be improved upon in your routine coaching.
  4. Set reasonable, yet challenging goals. Targets that are not easy make things interesting and keep employees engaged. Goals should be specific, challenging to attain, but also practical in scope.
  5. Openly and clearly communicate with your sales reps. Involve your employees in decisions and ask them for feedback. Doing so will show them that their opinions are valued and that they’re a part of the team effort for the brand’s success.

Combining sales lead tracking software and an engaged, motivated team of sales representatives will set your business up for success. A consistent flow of calls is possible with a CRM and will drive the sales team to stay active and focused. With our product, management can quickly and easily monitor sales campaigns, the sales staff can conduct lead scoring during calls, and queue-based routing productively distributes leads. Find out more about VanillaSoft’s Lead & Sales Tracking features here.

How to Sell Insurance Over the Phone

Fri, 2017-05-05 09:30

Selling insurance over the phone can be hard work and requires perseverance to continue after getting a not so desirable response. You simply will not be able to close a deal on every call. Some prospects will take a little more work to turn into buyers. However, with a little know-how and the assistance of modern technology, you can bump up your sales numbers.

7 Lucky Tips to Closing the Deal when Selling Insurance Over the Phone
  1. Listen carefully and engage them. Every time you call a prospect or current client listen carefully for new opportunities. Ask questions about their hobbies (do they need motorcycle or boat insurance?), if they have any children (would it be beneficial to mention life insurance?), do they have investment properties (do they need liability coverage?). By giving them time to talk and asking open-ended questions you’ll have the opportunity to address their concerns. It will also help in engaging them instead of pitching them for the entirety of the call.You also want to pay attention to clues about what will affect their purchase decisions. Not all prospects are looking for the lowest price. Some are more concerned with ratings or current technology options. Consider taking notes during the conversation as you likely won’t remember everything.
  2. Avoid jargon and slang. It’s a major turnoff to be speaking with a salesperson who is talking in another language. Save the industry-specific jargon to conversations with your colleagues and speak in terms buyers can understand.Use professional language and avoid slang when calling a possible client. If it were an in-person meeting, you would be in business casual attire at the minimum, present yourself with the same decorum over the phone to boost your credibility. People want to buy from intelligent and confident individuals.
  3. Be prepared for the call. Practice your pitch, understand where you stand against competitors, read everything you can get your hands on about sales, and ask more experienced insurance salespeople for advice. Check out this blog post for more tips on improving your inside sales pitch effectiveness.
  4. Don’t give up. You may be able to sell some insurance policies in one call, but be prepared for a second or third call. Your prospect may want to do some of their own research to compare your rates, they may need to consult with their spouse, or they may just not trust you after one call. Don’t take it personally, but be persistent. If you get a solid ‘no’ ask if you can call again at their next renewal date.
  5. Organization is key. Have everything you need to make the sale available at your fingertips. It’s a good idea to open any relevant files you might need before dialing, so you’re not fumbling around searching for documents during the call. Underwriting guidelines are an important one you’ll want to have easily accessible.
  6. Script your pitch. Have a written pitch of what you need to say in the first few breaths of your call. You can change it around to the tone of your prospect once you’re on the phone, but know your script so you can add inflections into your voice and not sound like a monotone recording.
  7. Create a backup closing statement. If your prospect is not yet sold, have a secondary closing statement ready. Tying this back to tip number four, ask if it’s okay to call again at their next renewal time or even if you can send them a comparison of quotes. Sometimes having a visual instead of just hearing the numbers gives the buyer a chance to fully understand the value of your services.
Technology for Selling Insurance Over the Phone

Gone are the days of spreadsheets with multiple tabs and columns to track your insurance leads. Modern technology provides many tools that can assist in the sales process to make insurance professionals’ lives easier. Let’s review a few of the tools every insurance salesperson should be taking advantage of.

  1. VoIP – Allows you to have everything in one place. Calls can be made from a click of your mouse making sales representatives more productive.
  2. CRM Software – CRM software allows you to manage and analyze customer data throughout the sales process.
  3. Website – I know this one sounds basic, but a website with content is a major lead generator. Content should be available for each stage of the buyer’s journey to have a greater chance of capturing leads.
  4. Quoting Software – A program that compares quotes across several carriers is needed to provide the best option to your prospects.
  5. Multiple Computer Screens – With more than one screen you’ll have easier access to any programs or files you may need without too much clicking around.
Dealing with Objections

When selling insurance over the phone, you’re likely to hear a few objections repeated by different prospects. Do you know how to counter these concerns and turn a no into a yes? Here are a couple of common objections and considerations you should make when crafting your rebuttals.

“I’m happy with my current provider,” or “Why should I change what I have?”

Ask them when the last time was that they shopped around. Changing markets and demographics of the insured can influence rates and should regularly be reviewed. Many insurance pros will do the work for the initial sale and won’t follow up in the future to see if any changes have occurred that could affect the premium. Use this as your foot in the door. Provide your quotes and let the prospect make the best decision for them.

Using the phone to sell insurance requires intelligence, confidence, professionalism, and a handful of supporting tools. Set your insurance salespeople up for success with a product like VanillaSoft that combines lead management and telemarketing applications with basic CRM.

What advice can you provide for new salespeople selling insurance over the phone? Let us know in the comments below.

9 Inside Sales Techniques to Get Over Your Fear of Cold Calling

Thu, 2017-04-27 10:15

It’s astonishing how intimidating it can be to pick up a phone and start dialing numbers, but it happens to many people. Business owners often feel the effects of cold call reluctance in high costs and high turnover rates of salespeople. Sales representatives averse to cold calling are often stressed and frustrated as they’re struggling to hit their quotas while dealing with a very real fear. In this article, we’ll review a few causes of cold call reluctance and nine inside sales techniques to help your salespeople get over their anxieties.

Causes of Cold Call Reluctance

The distaste for cold calling can stem from being unprepared and/or inexperienced. Simply providing a script to your callers isn’t enough. They should frequently be practicing their pitch to boost their confidence.

Company culture can also cause cold call reluctance. Many businesses shame salespeople with the notion that they’re akin to sleazy car salesmen. This is not the idea you want the rest of your organization to have about sales. Portray the sales team in a positive light to make them feel good about what they’re doing. You can do this by highlighting those who reach their goals and praising them publicly on big sales.

Introverts often have a difficult time with telemarketing. It can be terrifying but preparing and knowing all the details of your products will boost their confidence and take some of the edge off. As Howard Walstein says, “By stepping out of your box, you don’t have to settle for what you are – you get to create who you want to become.” Anyone can sell over the phone, even introverts.

Inside Sales Techniques to Overcome Cold Call Averseness

The first step in tackling hesitancy to cold calling is admitting there’s an issue. It’s fatal for sales careers and is something that must be remedied if the individual wants to succeed. Here’s a list of nine inside sales techniques your salespeople can do to overcome their fears of cold calling.

  1. Display positive affirmations and smile. Negative emotions like fear can be paralyzing. But the effects of positive thoughts on productivity is immense. It can boost self-esteem and even reduce stress. Tell your employees to read through some positive quotes, print out their favorites, put a smile on and pick up the phone. This article from The Wall Street Journal touts how forcing a smile can make you happier and even slow down your heart rate.
  1. Use aromatherapy to bring on positive thinking. The Mayo Clinic has reported on the health benefits of aromatherapy. We know our sense of smell can trigger memories, so use it to your advantage. To move beyond fear try taking a sniff of an essential oil. Vanilla essential oil has antidepressant qualities and is a good one if you enjoy sweets. Peppermint is good to sharpen your mind, or maybe if you want to think of winter holidays. Lavender oil is another good one for concentration and fighting anxiety. Breath in some jasmine oil to increase alertness and uplift your mood. 
  1. Write a list of why making the sales call is necessary. Getting it down on paper is powerful. Yes, your inside sales reps likely know the basic reasons of why they need to make calls, but have them look deeper. What is it that they want? Maybe to save for a new car, get noticed for exceeding their quota, or go on a dream vacation. Having a list of their “whys” will give them a boost whenever they’re procrastinating making calls. 
  1. Set an objective to deliver value. Your salespeople need to adopt a helping mindset and ask questions to find out how the product they’re selling can solve a problem or fill a void. Being helpful also means knowing when a prospect is not a good fit and stopping trying to make the sale.
  1. Reward yourself for hitting personal goals. Have your employees create milestone goals to bring them through the month. These can even be daily call counts. Rewards don’t have to be anything big either, a piece of chocolate, a walk around the building, just something they want.
  1. Observe your perceptions of cold calling. Encourage your sales reps to ask themselves what personal opinions they have around cold calling? It’s not helpful as a caller to think that you know how your prospect will respond to your call. All that does is put a negative taste in your mouth before even saying “hello.” Instead of expecting the worst, they should train themselves to expect the best case scenario.
  1. Provide time for continuing education outside of the initial training. Regular coaching and guidance are very helpful for inside sales reps. With products like VanillaSoft, you can review call recordings and spot any needs for improvement. Also, as updates or new products are released at your company, even experienced salespeople need to be informed of the features.
  1. Simplify the process for inside sales by investing in lead management software. Technology takes out a lot of the work and increases productivity. For example, VanillaSoft’s auto dialing feature queues the next call for your sales reps, thereby avoiding procrastination. Logical branch scripting will make them feel comfortable knowing that they have a roadmap for the call with exactly what to say.
  1. Take a deep breath and dial. There’s nothing like taking action and doing whatever you’re afraid of to get over something. Callers will build courage as they get through the first few dials of the day. However, the fear may come back every morning, you just have to keep dialing.

 Even the most experienced salespeople can feel cold call reluctance. Know how to spot it in your employees so you can help them get over it as quickly as possible.

What inside sales techniques have you utilized to help your reps get over their reluctance to make cold calls? Let us know in the comments below!

How to Improve Lead Follow-Ups and Secure the Sale Below Par

Wed, 2017-04-19 08:30

If I go to the driving range and hit 1,000 golf balls it doesn’t make me Tiger Woods. I could’ve done it wrong 999 times.

The same principle is true for inside sales representatives. It’s not about the quantity of sales calls, it’s about the quality of your swing and follow through. Persistence is key to improve lead follow-up.

In years past a goal of making the most calls may have proven valuable. However, recent research has shown us something different. Gone are the days of color-coded index cards as a lead organization system – technology has made inside sales considerably more complex. Leads arrive at various stages of the buyer’s journey, and there are more ways to connect. Sales success today depends on follow ups and several other aspects we will look at below.

Technology can also be a hindrance though. Overzealous companies that collect multiple applications in their MarTech stack are more likely slowing down their sales team than enabling them to generate more revenue. Remembering what information is required in which software can be confusing, there’s a lot of wasted time inputting duplicate data, and having more than a handful of apps is downright intimidating. I believe the fewer sales applications, the better. Attempt to simplify the process, don’t complicate it any more.

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.” – Arnold Palmer

5 Important Aspects of Optimal Follow-Ups

Lead follow-up needs to be mapped out with automation and defined logic to achieve the coveted hole-in-one and make the sale. Before the lead even comes in, management should delineate the following:

  • When the follow-up will occur once the lead is received
  • How sequential follow-ups should be timed
  • Who is the best person for the lead based on experience and locality
  • How the rep will communicate with the lead
  • Clear messaging

The sales process should be scalable and supported by an infrastructure that drives sales instead of just reports on them. In the podcast episode, “Increasing Productivity Through Workflow Automation,” I talk about a few important aspects of optimal follow-ups. Let’s take a closer view at how to improve lead follow-up and close more deals.

Submission to Contact Time

As soon as a lead is submitted on your website, how long is it before one of your representatives makes contact? In the podcast, Barb mentioned a test that she did submitting a request to a competitor’s website for one of her clients. Not only did they not reach out to her within the hour, but a year has passed, and no one ever made contact. This seems to be a regular occurrence and one that should be avoided. What is the point of having a lead collector if you’re not even going to use it?

VanillaSoft sales reps strive to contact the lead within an hour of submission. If the lead came via the web, it is very likely that they submitted requests to your competitors as well. There’s something to be said about being the first to respond.

Cadence

Automated call cadence should be the foundation of any sales technology. Incorporating best practices and information from analyzing past sales data will direct management as to the best timing for a follow-up. This will be different across various industries and can change over time as consumer’s expectations evolve. Regularly revisiting data is beneficial to stay on top of any needed updates.

Caller’s Aptitude to Make the Sale

Organizations must know how to assign their “best” representative to a lead. This doesn’t necessarily mean your highest paid salesperson though. Of course, you want to ensure all your employees have received the proper training and the capacity to answer any questions that arise, but it is also smart to assign leads by region. Talking to a local experienced rep can add a sense of connection and more opportunity for the caller to build a relationship with the lead. The end goal is to secure the sale, but each point of communication opens the possibility of the prospect getting disengaged and the need for an unlikely mulligan.

Consistent Messaging

Establishing a consistent message for your communications is key. Take advantage of technologies like VanillaSoft that offer logical branch scripting, email templates, and SMS text message templates to ensure your salespeople are sticking to your brand message. Don’t stop with scripting the pitch though. Check out our post How to Improve Your Inside Sales Pitch Effectiveness for ways your reps can practice their pitch. The better they know it, the more likely their personality will shine through and attract your prospects even more to them and your brand.

Forms of Communication

How a prospect contacts your company should be considered when following up with them. If the lead comes from a web submission then maybe your first point of contact should be emailing them. This is something that your organization will need to decipher in advance and have plugged into your automation.

Continue to Improve Lead Follow-Up

Going back to my golf analogy, practice makes perfect, but perfection requires improvements. Technology is moving fast, and with the inception of artificial intelligence and deep learning, you can expect more changes to the sales process over the next few years. These developments will alter your prospects’ expectations from the brand, and you must keep up.

Mapping out and automating a clear plan for follow-ups will increase your salespeople’s speed to lead response time and assist in increasing revenue. Our queue-based routing and lead integration tools distribute leads so they are handled in the most productive and timely way according to your parameters. Allow technology to work for your organization and improve your salespeople’s overall productivity by simplifying the tedious, non-revenue generating tasks.

If you are interested in listening to more on the subject, I recently spoke on a podcast episode of Barb Giamanco’s Razor’s Edge Podcast.  I highly recommend you check it out.

 

How Lead Management Software and Sales Performance Go Hand In Hand

Wed, 2017-04-12 09:47

Would you try to plant a garden without a shovel? You certainly could try, but if there are rocks and other obstacles in the soil you won’t be as successful as if you were equipped with the right tools. So why would you let your sales team work without the proper tools, -i.e. Lead Management Software? Let’s review some of the benefits of proper lead management software and sales performance.

Benefits of Lead Management Software and Sales Performance

You’ll see most of the effects of using a lead management program on efficiency. This type of program offers automatic dialing to take representatives from one call straight to the next. Queue-based lead routing allows management to specify parameters denoting importance levels. 45% of companies report that their sales representatives need help deciding which leads to prioritize, so this is a major benefit. It saves the representative valuable time since they don’t have to look through a list of contacts and decide who to call next. The system handles that decision-making process for them which leads to a 35-100% increase in the average calls per hour.

In addition to letting the representative know which contact to call next, queue-based lead routing increases the number of contact attempts made per lead by three and a half times. The ability to put a time frame on when a callback should occur decreases the lead decay rate by 30%.

Administrators have greater control with lead management software. Once best practices are realized they can be automated through customized workflows. Lead management systems provide automation and follow-up reminders to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks and all leads are contacted promptly. The follow-up feature is crucial because it takes eight attempts to reach a prospect but the average salesperson only makes two attempts. Triggers can be set up in lead management software to automate email nurture sequences or other actions.

Email and text message templates paired with call scripting ensure that the brand message is consistent across all means of communication. Call recording is another protector against employee missteps in portraying your message. If an issue arises, it can be addressed and corrected quickly.

Lead management systems like VanillaSoft automatically document all actions on each lead for reporting purposes. With every step of the sales process documented, management can easily review what’s working and what’s not. If the market shifts and a previous step doesn’t grant the same results, it can be improved upon and updated accordingly. Your brand can save your representatives even more time by looking at the importance and urgency of every task. You can learn more about increasing productivity with workflow automation in this blog post, Webinar Recap: Why Traditional CRM Fails Inside Sales Organizations.

Other Ways to Improve Inside Sales Performance

Investing in modern technology with lead management software is a great start to improving sales performance, but it doesn’t stop there. Employees must be engaged with their work. Here are eight other way you can increase sales:

  1. Get rid of cubicles and embrace an open office space. It will boost the competitive spirit among representatives and encourage collaboration which will build up your company’s culture.
  2. Encourage social selling. Social media is another powerful piece of technology that can connect sales reps with busy decision makers they otherwise may have been unable to reach.
  3. Enact daily role playing of sales scenarios. Practicing their inside sales pitch in various contexts will help both new and seasoned salespeople.
  4. Provide ongoing training. Test employees product knowledge and provide any needed education where you see gaps. Also, make your reps aware of how your product squares up to competitors.
  5. Make reps aware of their impact on the brand. Employees are often motivated to work harder when they understand the purpose of their daily endeavors.
  6. Recognize top performers. Acknowledge individuals who achieve and exceed their goals, as well as those who improve their overall performance. Consider rewarding them with small prizes like food, branded promotional items, or gift certificates.
  7. Collect feedback from your reps. Create a place online where employees can be heard and discuss ongoing challenges among their peers.
  8. Support exercise and breaks. Exercise induces the release of happy chemicals in the brain and can reduce stress. Encourage breaks throughout the day to take short walks and get away from the computer screen for a little while.
8 Things to Look for in Lead Management Software

VanillaSoft has seen a 100% increase in calls when brands begin utilizing the lead management software. When searching for new lead management software, be sure to consider these eight aspects:

  1. Usability of the system – Look at both the front end that the representatives will see and the backend management will use.
  2. Customization options – Will you be able to change workflows around easily or will it require assistance from a software technician?
  3. Queue-based lead routing – This feature ensures that your leads flow to the right person at the right time.
  4. Auto dialing functionality – Increases call productivity by initiating the next call for your salesperson.
  5. Email marketing integration – This feature allows for email nurturing and the ability to send a follow-up email with a single click.
  6. Recording and monitoring – The ability to record a call or listen live and “whisper” to your rep.
  7. Real-time lead integration – As soon as a lead is entered on your site you want it to go straight into the queue.
  8. Logical branch scripting – Based off of customer responses the system can present proper scripts.

Only 20% of an inside sales representative’s day is spent on revenue generating activities. What are they doing the rest of the day? They’re making an average of eight dials an hour and then working with a clunky system to figure out who to call next, researching the prospect, documenting tasks, etc. Lead Management Software does the work for them so they can focus on what makes your company money, making more calls and boosting sales performance.