Inside sales cycle is a lengthy and complex process. Prospects may take longer time to close depending on the kind of selling approach being used. Inside sales representatives have different styles of functioning. Some reps may have great power of persuasion and might be expert in closing deals while others may struggle in performing specific tasks. There might also be a situation wherein the customer is not fully convinced and might walk away. In order to manage the sales cycle well, Inside sales managers need to analyze the performance of their team at each level. Reporting can help managers in analyzing and gaining actionable insights about their team. This will help in providing reps with enough information about the opportunities in each stage.
Sales Reporting also gives the access to invaluable data- data that are uncovered and often given less importance, for example: data like customers background, lead source, buying behaviour, success rate and closure rate of sales campaign. Let me tell you that this data is the base of your sales process. If you have a reporting tool and you are not utilizing it efficiently, then there may be a situation that all your forecasting efforts might go in vain.
5 common sales reporting mistakes and ways to avoid them:
More number of dials: Focusing more on the number of dials can be one of the common mistakes that most of the reps are making. Reps are not just hired for placing calls. Their main focus should be on engaging conversations that lead to more sales. The number of dials is inversely proportional to the talk time per call. When the number of dials increases, the talk time per call dramatically decreases resulting in less time spent by a rep waiting for a call to be answered. Quality contacts and conversations should not be measured with no. of dials. To find out whether your reps have a healthy balance of dials and conversations, track the Call-to-Conversation conversion rate. This sales performance metric can be calculated by dividing the total number of dials the inside sales team makes by the number of conversations achieved. To increase the number of conversations by your team, arm them with Predictive dialer that will help them in identifying the no. of their leads which are most likely to be contacted.
False sense of success: Reporting based on the number of dials completed by your reps can provide a false sense of finality for leads. By focusing more on dials instead of conversations designed towards sales, encourages reps to quickly complete a lead list. This leads to less number of quality calls with quality conversations. Studies show that “it takes at least 8 attempts to reach a prospect.” Thus, inside sales reps should understand the essence of each conversation and should value their customers more instead of focusing on the call quantity. Here, sales managers can pull reports on how reps attempt to call each lead. This will determine the attempt that every member of his team is putting towards more lead conversions.
Quantity vs Quality of calls: Unnecessarily contacting crap leads is useless. Correct contact metrics is judged by how useful or relevant the conversation was with the lead which has been contacted. The “dial : deal” ratio may fluctuate and a lot can happen between dials and deals. In order to manage this ratio, sales managers can accurately identify call metrics to drive their representatives by identifying areas where they need improvement. Using right tools to coach reps empowers them to reach the right person with the right information at the right time.
Utilizing reports for criticizing reps: Sales managers often use reporting tool for criticizing reps instead of focusing more on other areas that could lead to more sales generation. Reps provide their equal effort on the entire lead lists. They continuously keep on dialing numbers without having a clear insight on which leads are most likely to contact and close. Sales reports may show your reps performance but might not provide you with a clear picture of low conversion rate. By targeting their efforts and then providing them with a valuable feedback will help them in enhancing their performance.
A) Sales rep putting equal effort on all the leads
B) Sales rep increases effort on the best leads
In the above two mentioned graphs, we can see the efforts that sales reps are putting in two different situations. In graph ‘A’, reps are providing equal effort to all leads (worst lead and best lead). The conversion rate is not in proportion to the amount of effort being provided to each lead. In graph ‘B’, reps are providing more effort to best leads. The conversion rate is in proportion to the amount of effort being provided to each lead and also the additional effort of the rep is increasing with the quality of lead.
Confusing lead status with call disposition: Lead status should not be confused with call disposition. They should be categorized differently in order to forecast sales accurately. Mixing lead status with disposition can result in loss of prospect. For Example: If a rep calls a customer and the customer did not answer the call, here the rep can not mix the status of lead with call disposition, instead the status of the call (lead) should be “Attempted” and disposition status should be “Not Answered”. Reps should note the disposition and record every metric of every single call for meaningful reporting. When these meaningful data are combined with other data points like lead source and campaign, they will provide you with an ROI for your organization.