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dv-fiThis blog post is about a controversial topic in B2B technology inside sales. Writing it won’t endear me to Inside Sales folks. Implementing the guidance contained in it won’t earn brownie points for sales and marketing leaders. Nevertheless, since dial volume pushes the revenue needle, I must go ahead.

Cold calling remains an important element of business development in B2B technology products and services. Every cold call begins with a dial, which is the action of picking up the phone and calling a potential customer.

A dial results in one of the following outcomes:

  1. Wrong number (caused by poor list quality)
  2. Line is busy (can happen often if you’re calling the contact’s direct number but rarely if you’re calling the board number of his or her company)
  3. Call is attended by switchboard operator or contact’s secretary (Gatekeeper)
  4. Call is picked up by contact (Right Person Connect).

RPC is what inside sales people are really after. The other three outcomes are largely wasted efforts. Therefore, it might be tempting to dismiss them as worthless and focus only on measuring RPC and other downstream metrics like appointments, proposals and orders.

However, that would be imprudent for more than one reason:

  • It takes 5-6 dials to get through to the right person, so unless enough dials happen, there wouldn’t be adequate RPCs
  • Later stage outcomes take longer to materialize
  • In our core market of big ticket B2B technology, inside sales rarely owns proposals, orders and other stages at the bottom of the funnel.

FUNNEL-METRICS

Against this backdrop, Dial Volume provides a useful way of measuring the performance of an inside sales organization in the short term.

Furthermore, as we learned recently, dial Volume can also serve as early warning of problems in the inside sales process.

At one of our customers, the dial volume was well below the industry average. When we dug deep, we found that the inside sales team was working in an open plan office that got noisy for a couple of hours every day. During this period, the inside sales team avoided making calls lest the prospect on the other end of the call was put off by the background noise. This was the right decision. However, it was a “local maxima” solution that caused a larger problem: Not enough leads.

We intervened with the company’s top management and got the inside sales team moved to a closed office. With no more disturbance, the inside sales team started delivering much higher dial volumes. This resulted in a sharp increase in RPC and lead volumes, eventually leading to a manifold increase in sales pipeline.

We were able to take this midcourse corrective action early on – instead of six months later after noticing a weak sales pipeline – only because we measured Dial Volume from the start of the campaign.

In closing, just as EPS is the most important metric the day before a company announces its quarterly results, Dial Volume is the only thing that counts at the start of the sales funnel. Measuring it early on ensures that that there are no surprises with achievement of more important metrics like appointments, deals and revenues during the later stages of the financial year.

Ketharaman Swaminathan On March - 20 - 2015

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IT Marketing, Uncategorized

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