Don’t Hire a Rolodex: 5 Steps to Sustainable Success with a Killer Outbound Sales Organization
We are in the unique position of talking weekly with hundreds of sales leaders and C-Level executives across the IT spectrum. Time and time again, we hear that they have hired a veteran sales rep or two to tap their relationships and boost sales. And for a brief moment, the strategy seemed to be working. But this approach is not sustainable; the successes are short-lived. The veteran’s list runs thin and these sales teams are left looking for a new solution. Sirius Decisions’ Jim Ninivaggi said it best: “Hiring Rolodexes or senior sales people when you’re a small growing company is the biggest mistake.”
Creating a sustainable revenue model requires a team dedicated to outbound prospecting. Sales reps average just 35% (2.8 hours) of their day selling. If you can reduce their non-revenue generating tasks and give them 1.2 hours (72minutes) more of selling time, the results are dramatic. This slight increase in selling time will allow your reps who generate on average $1 million in revenue the ability to generate 1.423 million in revenue. More income and less time spent on tasks they really are not GOOD at improves satisfaction all around. Our successful clients like Confio, WatchDox and SHI are fueling growth their growth with dedication to this outbound prospecting strategy. So how do you create a repeatable, predictable sales model?
Here are my top 5 steps to take:
1). Hire dedicated outbound sales team
You need to get this right. These people are the first impression– of your company to hundreds of decision makers every month. This is not an easy hire. You are counting on them to build a key element to your company’s success – pipeline growth. They need to be articulate, smart, coachable and hard working.
Here’s what we do:
- Group interview: we have the candidate meet with 3-5 of the senior sales members. The group setting creates a high-pressure environment that really shows how people perform, their confidence, and their ability to think on their feet. From our perspective, getting multiple reactions to a candidate helps us hire better talent.
- Review resumes: look for any type of sales experience, whether it’s retail or dialing for dollars in college.
- Phone interview: Are they engaging over the phone? Are they sharp? What drives them? Why our company?
- Technical & Company knowledge test: each candidate is given a test of 10 questions about our company. Our goal is two-fold:
- Is the person serious about the opportunity to work with us and willing to put forth effort? We’re forgoing an hour of revenue generation potential to have the sales teams interviewing them, so we need to see the same level of commitment.
- Successful sales professionals need to utilize all their resources to prepare for the opportunity. Their responses give us a baseline understanding of their intelligence, research skills and ability to articulate their findings effectively.
- Job fit Test: this matches the candidate’s personality and thinking style criteria against a known profile of DiscoverOrg’s most successful salespeople. We then have them meet with the VP of Sales for a final sign-off in case we’ve missed anything and if they pass muster, we offer them the job.
2). Dedicate time to train, mentor and coach. Invest in a phone system that lets you listen for those coachable moments, role play all the time and adapt your strategies based on what the sales team is telling you.
3). Understand your ideal target. You need to understand your ideal company and your ideal buyer within that company. There is no sense in letting your expensive new hire loose on bad fit companies or prospects; identify and set the targets first.
4). Create a compensation plan that rewards results, not just activity. It’s not good enough that a rep called 200 people today if he didn’t set any appointments; it’s also not good enough that he set 100 appointments if none of them convert into opportunities or revenue. Make sure the team is incented to achieve the end goal and help them build the right habits to get there.
5). Invest in good data intelligence tools. If you get everything above right but you don’t have good data for your team to be calling on, then you might as well pack up your bags and go home. Three great weapons for the arsenal:
- Direct-dial phone numbers: studies show just doubling direct dials a rep has access to triples the meetings they set and increases average deal size closed.
- Org charts: Identifying the key decision makers in an organization, knowing where they sit and who reports to whom, are all crucial pieces of information for any rep to have.
- Intel on real-time initiatives real-time initiatives at the target companies: the more you know about budgets, purchasing and projects at a target account, the more equipped the reps will be to offer a true value-add solution that meets their immediate needs.
Developing repeatable, sustainable sales revenue isn’t going to happen unless you bring a focused approach that identifies, attracts, incents and equips all-star talent, lasers in on your ideal audience and leverages all the actionable intel you can gather. See you at the top!
Now, get your dream team up to speed on the art of warming up the call with our new eBook “Cold Calls, Warm Leads: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Cold Calls into Leads.”
Let us show you how DiscoverOrg’s data intelligence solution is delivering success to the feet of sales teams like yours with our IT org charts showing decision making structure for over 17,500 companies with 95% direct dial and 98% verified email to over 350,000 IT professionals.
And while you are at DiscoverOrg.com, consider registering for some of our free sales effectiveness webinars like next week’s popular Power of Direct Dials.
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