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.
I suspect that this service is far cheaper than purchasing an in-house telemarketing phone system, which I know runs into the mid five figures.
I’m on the phone tech side of this business, and I know how poor the connection results can be from dialing phone numbers…
Thank you Howard for your observations here. They are much appreciated.
To Authority Networker: By and large you may be correct. However, in at least one situation, I welcomed a cold call I received yesterday from a vertical leads service provider.
First, I’ve been researching options for many months and have been extremely disappointed with the results of my search. 10 out of 10 providers I contacted either don’t know how to sell or don’t believe they actually have to sell prospects on their services. Secondly, all were completely unable to support their rate base or qualify/quantify their lead process.
I had to take it upon myself to call companies to speak with someone live. Why? Because most of the time, online submission requests for information went unanswered. Any online chat conversations failed to impress me, simply wasted my time. Of the online answers I did receive, none proved to be relevant to my request.
So when a company took the initiative to contact me and then was able to articulate their process, its value, and the rate base, I was impressed and appreciative.
The only hitch, and unfortunately it’s a big one, is that the company does not offer a secure payment system, on or offline. They simply expect clients to hand over credit card information and trust they will protect it. Yeah, right.
So until more companies become much wiser with their online marketing, aka their response mechanisms, telemarketing may still be the one of the best options for demonstrating an organization is serious about building their customer base.
They will also demonstrate they recognize they need to be prepared to actually sell prospects on their products or services.
Frankly, I’m pretty disgusted with the nonchalant to arrogant attitude of the companies I have encountered throughout this process. There is no way I’d place my clients’ resources in any of their careless hands.
The bottom line to marketers is this, whatever your marketing tool/vehicle of choice, make sure the proper response mechanisms are in place. Make sure your company welcomes prospects with open arms. Otherwise, your expenditures/investments risk being wasted.
Marketing Communications Think Tank