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How to make your sales team more efficient with just one change:

Did you know that on average, a sales team spends only a third of their day talking to prospects. Is that the best use of their time? At BDP, we don’t think that it is….we believe that the most efficient and productive sales teams need to be split into 4 key roles.

Why you need a Specialised Outbound Sales Team

With B2B sales, it can sometimes seem impossible to separate lead generation and sales. Many sales teams are expected not only to close the sale, but to find their own leads too, and in some cases even manage accounts.

Don’t roll your eyes when reading the next part, you’ll have heard of the 80:20 rule, and you will have definitely heard of its application to sales – maybe 80% of your sales are generated by 20% of your sales reps? But, the same rule also applies to how your sales team is spending their time: 80% of their time spent prospecting and researching for just 20% of their time spent engaging and convincing prospects just is not efficient.

Get That Time Back by Refocussing your Sales Team

In order to get the most out of your sales team, you need to let them do exactly what you hired them to do: sell.

Can you honestly say that the little jobs and habits that have evolved in your marketing to sales to operations and finances workflows allow your sales staff to concentrate on hitting the numbers that you’ve given them?

It is important to focus your strategies around that goal.

In reality, a sales team is fundamentally composed of two different jobs — lead generation and selling. In most companies, reps are still stretching themselves across both roles. This is a classic case of spreading your team too thin.

To streamline your sales processes, split your team by role, according to skillset. Get the right people working on the jobs they are good at and make the distinction between lead generator and salesperson.

When allowed to focus on just sales, your team of salespeople begin to excel at communicating your products or services, and your company generates revenue.

Arguably, a good sales team should:

  • Demonstrate high integrity
  • Adopt a personable approach
  • Be persistent in their efforts, even ruthless
  • Have a passion for selling

While these qualities can make the perfect salesperson, you must ask yourself: are these also the qualities of a team member who should be reaching out to new leads and potential customers? The honest answer must be “no”.

Prospecting is a different skill set

One with very different requirements to closing a deal. Most salespeople would agree that prospecting is the hardest part of their job. How many of your team would say that they enjoy cold-calling, starting conversations with people that they don’t know – making that jump into the unknown where they risk rejection? In a recent survey about the elements of their role they struggle with most, 25% of the salespeople canvassed said it was identifying leads, 45% it was prospecting and 15% said it was qualifying leads.

Is it time to let your sales team do what they do best, and consider bringing in lead generators instead?

Finding fresh leads for your business and enriching those which you have already found is key to growth. Lead generators are the people who uncover new leads, track down prospects, and secure the appointments, phone calls and key conversations that allow your sales team to succeed.

What was once primarily cold calling, has now developed into sending emails, reaching out on social media, and using the advanced AI, machine learning and behavioural intent identifiers to see who is in the market and then to put your products and services in front of the people who matter most.

Lead generators should:

  • Not be afraid to cold call
  • Be personable and approachable
  • Effectively communicate the products or services that your business offers
  • Put time into researching the potential client to best understand their needs
  • Be knowledgeable of all platforms and avenues to reach potential customers

In recent years it has become clear that this is a skill in itself, and deserves the full attention of a dedicated lead generator, not the occasional attempt by a salesperson that is focussed on progressing and closing deals.

 

“But my team is different? What if my sales team have mastered the art of effective lead generation and closing sales?” you’re thinking, be honest…..

Well the simple and harsh truth is that, put simply put, your team are definitely not doing both jobs to the best of their ability.

This is not just a case of being a good multitasker, this is a doctor also trying to run the surgery reception desk. Yes, the doctor can do both, but he cannot do both well.

These are the truths of your salesteam’s approach to prospecting:

  • They’re not really motivated to prospect — Those who are good at sales may usually hate to reach out to potential new clients and therefore will try to avoid it at all costs.
  • They’re not focussed on prospecting — As soon as your salespeople bring in a new leads, they will inevitably become too busy with the lead to continue prospecting.
  • They’re not really trained to prospect — You could hire the best salesperson on the planet, but if you have not trained them in how to effectively generate leads, they will lack the knowledge they need to create goals and manage this alongside their sales workload.
  • They’ve no clue how to analyse the data — When they are busy selling and generating leads at the same time, there’s almost no time left to keep track of relevant data, such as analysing inbound leads, conversion rates, and so on. Having a separate lead generation team means giving the data over to those who actually have the time and know-how to not only analyse it, but implement a strategy based on it too.

Breaking Your Team Down Even Further

If like me you are experienced with the drawn-out process of prospecting your own leads I am confident some of the above has struck home.

It is key your restructure with the fundamental split between the act of prospecting and the act of selling in mind.

Diluting the effectiveness of your current sales team is never the answer when looking to shake up their strategy. Instead, focus on moulding a sales team and a team of lead generators.

How do you do this?

By implementing four basic functions within the team:

  • Inbound Lead Qualification— Otherwise known as your market response reps. These are the people who qualify any marketing leads that come through your website or by phone. These leads could discover you through marketing programs, search engine marketing or simply organic word-of-mouth.
  • Outbound Prospecting— Your sales development reps or new business development reps. These are the people who source lists of potential customers/clients, and ‘cold call’ them to set up a conversation. This team is dedicated to proactive business development, and source the right contacts to pass along to the salespeople, who will then go on to close the sale.
  • Account Executives/Salespeople — These are team members who close the sale with a client. They will stay a part of the process until the new customer is up and running with the product or service that they have been sold, and will then pass this client along to the Account Manager.
  • Account Managers— These are the people who keep the customers happy long term, providing ongoing client management, renewal of contracts and generally being there to provide the service that the salesperson would likely have promised the client during negotiations.

This is something we have tried, tested and implemented at BDP and for our clients.

So, what can you do to make your sales team more effective?

If you are reluctant to split up your in-house team outsourcing lead generation could be a solution.

Outsourcing your outbound marketing can often be more effective than hiring lead generators in-house, as it removes those unnecessary tasks from your team’s to-do list and frees them up to do what they do best, without introducing and training new team members.

BDPis built on the basis of saving teams time and increasing efficiency. This isn’t just about prospecting, we take on any time consuming, manual process on behalf of our clients to help their internal processes run smoothly. Read about how BDP can help your business HERE.