Category: Lead Response

Divide Your Sales Team into Specialty Groups

Sales executives are the closers and sales developers should qualify and nurture leads

In “Stop Acting As If All Sales Leads Are the Same” we identified three categories of sales prospects or leads: hot, warm, and cold. Each group warrants a different approach and savvy sales managers recognize this reality and built their sales strategy upon it.

“In addition to categorizing prospects, these same managers split their sales team into two groups,” says Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, a leading provider of lead response services.

First are the account executives, explains Berkson. They’re the closers who make things happen. The hot leads, which account for about 25 percent of all prospects, need to be passed directly to the sales executives.

The second group of sales team professionals work in sales development. They are the qualifiers. “Their job is lead nurturing, and the remaining 75 percent of the leads belong in their purview,” says Berkson. This group needs patience with a long-term perspective.

In considering these two key roles of closing sales and nurturing leads, factor in these three pieces of advice:

Reach Out Fast: Fifty percent (or more) of all prospects will eventually buy from the company that contacts them first. This reality signals a need to respond quickly when leads come in, and it is the responsibility of the sales developers to make this initial contact.

If they can qualify the lead, they should immediately turn it over to the sales executives to close it. However, instead of making this handoff a fixed rule, “sometimes the sales developer is actually in a preferred position to close the sale when the lead is qualified. This is both expedient and effective,” says Berkson, who finds this especially true for lower ticket items.

Beat Low Response Rates: Too many email marketers are willing to tolerate a response rate hovering around 1 to 3 percent as normal. This means that 97 percent or more do not respond to the email. As such “most recipients regard the missive as span. This damages the brand and further lowers the results of future campaigns,” says Megan Wilson, senior VP of client services at TeleServices Direct, a worldwide provider of outsource call center services.

To counter these dismal results Berkson advocates the involvement of the sales developers to nurture these leads and mature them. “Don’t just keep blasting out emails because you can. Be smart. Don’t over contact. Use personalized messaging that provides value instead of always focusing on selling.

Be Persistent: As far as the sales executives, they must remain tenacious. Too often salespeople give up too soon. They may fear they are bugging the prospect and don’t want to cause irritation. In fact only 12 percent (one in eight) of all salespeople make more than three contact attempts. While this may appear adequate, it falls far short. The reality is that 80 percent of sales are made after four contacts, from five up to twelve. This data suggests that sales executives will actually close more sales per contact by making calls five through twelve on older leads than they will by making calls one through three on new leads.

“Persistence allows salespeople to close the ‘long-tail’ of leads,” Berkson adds. “They must be continually reminded of this.” Instead of trying to feed them more qualified leads, the emphasis should be on encouraging them to make additional contacts with the leads they already have.

Berkson sums these three lessons up as “respond fast, email strategically, and don’t give up.”

LiveVoice understands how important every call is to your business. Contact them about customizing their flexible, premium phone support service so you can turn opportunity into profit.

Peter DeHaan, PhD, is a freelance writer, call center authority, and publisher of Connections Magazine, which covers the call center industry.