Communication channels have multiplied with the arrival of digital tools. Inbound marketing has proven itself to be a powerful lead generation tool. But cold calls have not become obsolete either.
As this infographic written by ForcePlus demonstrates:
- 75% of senior managers have made an appointment or attended an event following an invitation by phone
- Cold calls can generate up to 1.18 qualified leads per hour
- 92% of interactions with clients happen by phone
If you operate in a B2B environment, your activity's sales growth depends on your sales call performance.
As a manager, it's therefore vital to supervise your teams well in this crucial activity. Your phone system software will be your best friend in monitoring your salespeople. With cloud phone systems like Ringover's, you can monitor your team's calls from a detailed dashboard with advanced statistics.
How many calls are made per day? How much time does each salesperson spend on the phone? What is the average communication time per call and per salesperson? What is your answer rate? What is the conversion rate for making appointments/signing clients?
These are all key performance indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to adjust your cold calling methods as well as your business strategy.
Indicator 1: Number of outgoing calls by salesperson
This number depends on your sales organisation
The first thing to do to gauge your salespeople's phone activity is know the number of calls made. Depending on your team's organisation, it's useful to observe this indicator over different time intervals.
For example, if you have SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) whose mission is to make cold calls all day, you can take into consideration the number of calls made per day or even per hour if conditions are favourable to higher rates of calls.
If your sales team is less segmented, and cold calling, negotiation, new customer support and account management are all part of their work, it's more useful to track the number outgoing calls per week.
Total outgoing calls
You can track the average number of calls made by your team and its evolution over time. If the number drops from week to week, this may indicate a decrease in your salespeople's motivation. If such an event correlates with a change in your organisation (changes in objectives, variable compensation plan, phone system, team growth, etc.), you can target underlying problems and adjust your management and strategy.
Total outgoing calls by salesperson
You can track this indicator by salesperson to see who's performing the best. By following changes in these numbers, you'll see the impact of your management on individual performance within the team and be able to reward the salespeople who boost team results.
What are the reference indicators?
On average, studies have shown that a salesperson dedicated to cold calling can make 52 calls per day. If you have a very advanced organisation with phone productivity tools such as click-to-call, automatic diallers or smart diallers, this rate can rise to 100 or even 200 calls per day.
To learn more about the productivity tools available on modern phone systems, download our booklet dedicated to sales teams: Surpass Your Sales Goals with Cloud Telecom.
Indicator 2: Average call time
How long does each salesperson spend on average per call? This figure will help you estimate the effectiveness your sales pitch.
Depending on your product and presentation, a first call should be short enough to quickly grab the lead's interest and persuade them to set an appointment for a demonstration. If you test out different sales pitches, you can observe the impact on the average time spent per call as well as conversion to appointments.
If you notice that your team collectively spends a lot of time on first calls with poor results, it's important to adjust the pitch and train them to be more direct or even more persistent in reaching their goal of getting an appointment on the books.
We can also look at the average duration of outgoing calls per individual to compare the best performing techniques. If your best salesperson spends on average half the time on first calls than the others, it's essential to study their sales method and share it with the rest of the team.
When adjusting the sales presentation, you may - in addition to monitoring this key indicator - use the supervision tools available through your phone system software. Call recording, double-listening, and whispering (speaking directly to a salesperson without their caller hearing) will allow you to understand the reasons for differing call duration. If you want to lower time spent on calls for one of your salespeople, re-listen to their recorded calls, listen in on their conversations, and guide them on what to say on future calls.
Indicator 3: Rate of answered calls
Your rate of answered calls is a key phone activity metric that allows you to judge the quality of your sales database...but not only that!
Sales teams often work with several lead files which come from different sources and are therefore more or less qualified. By observing how many of your outgoing calls are picked up for a certain set of parameters, you can determine the quality of your list of phone numbers in a glance and compare your different contact sources.
By analysing the answer rate, you'll also be able to determine the time periods in which your leads are the most responsive. See in a glance the best times of the day to call and adapt your sales team's approach accordingly.
Indicator 4: Conversion rate to clients/appointments set
Each call you make has a unique goal that varies depending on your industry, the product you sell, or your sales strategy. Generally, in B2B environments, the goal of a sales call is to schedule a physical meeting or a demonstration of your solution. But your objective can vary, and you may just as easily be seeking an online registration, a decision-maker's contact information, or other information.
In all cases, the first step in establishing a conversion rate indicator is to determine a single, clearly defined goal for your sales team. The calculation is simple:
Conversion rate = Number of calls converted/Total number of calls
Again, you can monitor this indicator at the team or individual level to compare your salespeople's work and identify strengths and weaknesses. You can also observe individual progress over time to track the development of your employees' skills.
The conversion rate must be the central indicator in managing your activity. If you change your strategy, make the change according to its impact on the indicator, and cross-reference this indicator with previous metrics to gain insight into your methods.
For example: if you tweak your sales pitch to employ sharper and more persuasive phrasing and observe a corresponding reduction in call time with an increase in your conversion rate, this means that your strategy has been well applied and is a proven winner!
Another interesting application of the conversion rate: if you have particularly low conversion rates, it may be advisable to change your objective for first calls. If your salespeople cannot manage to set a physical appointment on the first call, set a new, less challenging goal like arranging another call with a decision maker or a remote demonstration.
What is the average conversion rate?
Average conversion rates vary widely based on many criteria from industry to industry, from business to business, and from team to team. It will depend on the quality and relevance of your database, the notoriety of your brand (you may need to check in with the marketing department), your product, your call objectives, and seasonality. But in general, with qualified leads it's estimated that a typical conversion rate is around 10%.
Use an advanced tagging system for custom indicators
As we saw in the conversion rate study, all teams have different sales strategies and methods. There is not one absolute indicator to track systematically. Cold calling is a contextual exercise. So, from one company to another, it's important both to personalise and take ownership of your metrics and have tools in place that provide you with clear, simple, and applicable performance measurement.
It is for this reason that your phone system software must allow you to tag all of your calls in order to classify them and generate usable data. With a free and open tagging system, you can adopt and measure custom indicators on your phone activity.
You can, for example, set up a tagging system for contact sources if this is a key criterion for your strategy. You'll then know from which source the number comes for each call made. You can also create tags related to the call's outcome.
When you put a tagging system in place for your calls, it's important to take into consideration the categories of tags (source, result, pitch used, etc. ) and possible variables (web/email/cold call/ networks/events/no answer/not interested/appointment made, pitch A/B/C, etc.) to properly train your salespeople in the system so that it will be adopted correctly.
Lastly, opt for simplicity with a contextualised approach
You can always find new indicators to track, each more relevant than the last. In this article, by presenting some basic indicators for cold calls, we hope to have shed some light on what is possible thanks to your phone system software. Our best advice is to opt for simplicity to have a solid and durable metrics system. The key to effective and applicable supervision is a stable system in the long term. If you add data and change your approach every month, you risk not only losing sight of your goal - but losing your team.
These quantitative indicators are imperative for management, but the importance of qualitative feedback should not be overlooked. This involves spending time with your teams, collectively and individually to gather maximum feedback and understand what's going on. As a manager, try making some calls yourself to become immersed in the context. We'll say it again: sales is a contextual exercise. There are methods and good practises, but you'll only really make a difference if you deeply understand your leads in context.
Finally, if your current phone system tool doesn't allow you to generate and monitor performance indicators as you wish, test out the Ringover solution for free for 7 days, without obligation, and see for yourself!