More, more, more.
Everyone knows that sales is a numbers game, and so everyone wants more of everything. More leads, more dials, more demos, and – of course – more deals. The more you get, the better, according to conventional sales wisdom. But in some cases, more isn’t necessarily better for sales results.
As a sales manager, you’re always asking your reps for more, but what are you really looking for? With prospecting calls, the total number of calls isn’t nearly as important as the content of those conversations. Here’s how to help your team get better sales results and more deals with fewer – but longer – sales conversations.
It’s time to start tracking talk time.
Quality vs. Quantity
If you push your team of reps to make hundreds of dials each week in order to hit sales goals, that doesn’t automatically equal success. You’re only achieving high volume, and not necessarily high quality. Under pressure, reps will just try to connect with prospects superficially, and won’t focus on whether they’re having productive and informative conversations with prospects. There’s a big difference between a 2-minute conversation with a prospect, and an in-depth, 30 minute discussion with a prospect. The first is unlikely to convert to a paying customer, while the second is obviously a much higher value interaction.
It’s all about engagement – if a prospect isn’t really interested, they’ll cut the conversation short and postpone the discussion with a sales rep. They’ll tell a rep to set up a meeting with them next week, but may or may not show for that meeting depending on their real level of interest. However, if reps are able to have engaging and helpful conversations with prospects from the start, that’s a great sign for your ultimate sales success. A longer conversation is a higher-quality interaction, and signals a greater buying potential.
Tracking Call Metrics
Ok, you say, I’m ready to start prioritizing longer, high-quality conversations. But as a manager, it may seem impossible to actually track the quality of the calls your reps are making. That’s where talk time comes in. Rather than trying to figure out which calls are high quality vs. low quality, you can track how long reps spend on the phone with each prospect.
In this report, you can see that John Brown is not only making the most dials per day, he’s also spending the longest amount of time on the phone with each prospect. He’s spent nearly 70 minutes total on the phone with prospects this month, much more than other reps on the team. There’s no guarantee that his conversations are higher quality, exactly, however you can continue to track those opportunities and see if they close further down the sales funnel. But overall talk time is a positive leading indicator of a productive sales conversation.
Finding the Right Balance
Once you understand the call count vs. talk time ratios for your reps, it’s up to you to change the focus of the sales efforts on your team. It’s very difficult for prospecting reps to find the right balance between hitting connect and dial quotas while still having actual, productive conversations. As a manager, you have to set the right quotas for dials and talk time in order to encourage in-depth conversations. You should also coach your team to favor quality over quantity on every call. Look at each individual rep’s call numbers vs. minutes on a call, and identify who is having the best conversations on the team. Find out what your top performers are doing to engage prospects, and use that to help the rest of your team improve. By offering continuous coaching and setting the right quotas, you’ll change the focus of your entire team.
If you make it clear that you prefer reps to have 10 high-quality conversations with prospects rather than 50 low-quality, short conversations, your team will begin to shift. You’ll see more promising opportunities with more momentum moving through your pipeline, and start closing more deals.