By Leo Dirr
Sales reps see themselves through rose-colored lenses. This rah-rah mentality creates some real challenges for sales managers. How do you get an accurate picture of your reps’ performance after you’ve trained them to put a positive spin on everything under the sun?
Data is your only defense. That’s the intuitive answer, right? InsideSales.com recently released research that confirms it with cold, hard data.
The bottom line: Most sales managers think their reps are responding to Internet leads much faster and more persistently than they actually are.
The Problem With Assumptions
InsideSales.com’s research shows that many red-hot Internet leads turn ice cold after just five minutes. You can dramatically improve your contact rates if you make at least five attempts before giving up on a lead.
Industry thought leaders have banged this drum for years. So it’s interesting to see how well companies are reacting to the new realities of inbound marketing.
Our research team tested lead response times for companies that attended the 2013 American Association of Inside Sales Professionals Leadership Summit. Here’s what we found:
- Nearly 25 percent of companies think they respond to Web leads within five minutes.
- Only 5 percent of companies actually respond that quickly.
- About 34 percent think they contact each lead five or more times before giving up.
- Only 10 percent actually contact leads that many times.
Is your sales team delusional? How can they think one thing while doing another? Unless you track all the right metrics religiously, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really happening. It’s tough to improve your team’s performance without first confronting the facts.
Where Sales Managers Go Wrong
The discrepancy between what sales managers think their reps are doing and what they’re actually doing isn’t all that surprising. Many managers already know they don’t have the data they need to guide their teams effectively.
Leaders are starving for actionable analytics that will allow them to provide valuable coaching and boost performance in a systematic way. Unfortunately, a lot of the relevant data they crave often proves elusive.
Sales Data Solutions
Conduct a test to see how long it takes your sales reps to contact Internet leads. If you don’t like your response times, take a look at the existing technology. An auto dialer can route your Web leads to your reps almost immediately. You can also use dialer technology to track and improve your reps’ follow-up attempts.
Leo Dirr is a PR Journalist for InsideSales.com, which provides power tools for sales automation.