Sales Management Training
“Sales is a numbers game” is a popular adage for sales managers. The thinking is that if you increase the call volume, that your team will close more deals. There is some truth to the saying, but how do you use this sales performance metric effectively? Today I’m going to discuss the pros and cons of this method, and how you can use it for coaching your reps to increase their sales. In future articles, we will explore how to use Meetings and Pipeline to measure sales success.
Pros of Call Volume
This sales performance metric is easy to track. By logging each call into your CRM, your team can keep detailed notes on client interactions. Subsequently, you can easily generate a report that tells you how active each team member has been.
The number of calls is an important sales performance metric because it can highlight areas for improvement. A low volume of calls may indicate “call reluctance,” which can be a symptom of deeper issues like low confidence or morale. A high volume with low conversions may indicate a problem with the value proposition. Call volumes should only act as a flag for attention, not as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).
Cons of Call Volume
Call volume is entirely one-dimensional, which means it doesn’t account for quality. I would prefer a rep make 20 targeted calls than 100 using the scatter-gun approach. The former will generate high-quality meetings, the latter frequent cancellations. Naturally, making hundreds of calls with low conversions will also feel demoralising for your team. Furthermore, call volume can easily be faked, so don’t put too much weight into this sales performance metric.
How to use Call Volume
Firstly, keep track of call volume via your CRM primarily as a way of keeping in regular contact with prospects. This is an important discipline which ensures that reps don’t accidentally pester buyers. Another added benefit is that they can easily review notes to be brought up to speed.
Next, get a baseline of the number of calls it takes to generate a meeting. As a rule of thumb, one in every four conversations should result in a meeting. This will of course vary depending on numerous factors including industry, market, confidence, the quality of the script, and so forth.
Finally, coach each rep on increasing their conversion and/or activity rates. Ask about their cold call script to see if their value proposition is compelling. Find out what barriers they are facing, and how you can support them in making more high-quality calls.
Notes About “Talk Time” as a Sales Performance Metric
If you have advanced phone systems, you can track the number of minutes your reps spend talking to buyers. The thinking is that the more time they spend, the more likely the prospect will buy… Unfortunately, this sales performance metric can be very misleading. Once again, quality wins over quantity. I would rather a team member spend 5 minutes properly qualifying a prospect than 60 minutes talking about the latest footy match. Relationship selling is important, but reps need to understand that they are primarily hired to make sales, not friends!
Call volume is an important and easily trackable metric. Low performance in this area should serve as a flag for attention, but it is not reliable enough to be a KPI. Talk Time tells very little about the quality of conversations, and should be used sparingly as a metric. Keep track of volumes and conversion rates, and you will be given ideas on how to effectively coach your reps.