If part of your lead generation or lead nurturing strategy involves outbound sales calls, then you already know one of the key metrics critical to sales productivity is connection rate – i.e. the percentage of dials that result in live conversations. Typical B2B connection rates range from 15 to 30 percent, which means that 70 to 85 percent of your reps’ valuable time (and your dollars) get spent making phone calls that at best result in leaving a voicemail.
This issue becomes more acute in a down economy when headcount is at a premium, and sales bandwidth often becomes a limiting factor in the success of a telemarketing or lead nurturing program. Let’s say you return from a trade show and dump 500 contacts into your CRM database. If you expect your lead development reps to follow up directly with those leads, it could be days or even weeks before every person gets called, by which time any genuine sales opportunities may have been lost and your reps will be worn out from hours of unproductive dialing.
One clear solution to the issue is to integrate automated email follow-up as a complement to sales activity, but another is to dramatically increase your connection rate so that reps spend more time selling and less time dialing.
That’s the problem that ConnectAndSell solves. I met recently with Andrei Stoica, one of the company’s founders, and was impressed by their solution – an intriguing combination of technology and offshore manpower – and the potential it might offer for companies looking for ways to increase the efficiency of their sales teams.
Here’s how it works, in brief:
Your rep sets aside a one-hour time period to call prospects, signs into the ConnectAndSell online application, uploads his or her call list, and tells the system “I’m ready.” A group of ConnectAndSell reps immediately starts making calls. Within two-tenths of a second of any of them reaching a live person, the call is immediately transferred to the rep. The contact information for the person being called pops up simultaneously on the rep’s PC, and the dialogue can begin immediately.
The result: 100% of your rep’s time is spent in live conversation, as opposed to fruitless dialing.
If you’re a born cynic like me, and especially if you’ve been on the receiving end of a telemarketing call when there’s that telling pause between your picking up the phone and the rep realizing he or she has a live person on the line, your first reaction will be: “but surely there’s at least some lag time and the person being called will notice.” All I can tell you is that, having seen a live demo, that lag time does not exist. The connection is instantaneous, and the person being called has no idea – none at all – that an intermediary was involved.
ConnectAndSell says that the industry average rate is about one connect per hour of calling. The company says they guarantee five connects per hour, meaning – in theory – your reps become 5x more productive. That makes this a very intriguing solution for any lead generation or lead nurturing program that requires connecting with large numbers of sales contacts, or simply for getting the most from an over-stretched inside sales team.