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Stop Making Cold Calls

Earlier this month I hosted a panel discussion at a the Sales Velocity Conference here in Denver.

This conference was hosted by ConnectAndSell who are based here in Denver and have carved out a niche with their technology that offloads the tedious work of outbound dialing and navigating phone trees to deliver conversations for demand generation teams.

While I have known several folks at ConnectAndSell for years, I have always dismissed their technology as a ‘nice to have’ that made sense for organizations who lacked the process and discipline necessary to make enough outbound calls.

In retrospect, I attribute this view to my confidence (arrogance if I am being honest) in my ability to build and manage efficient outbound teams.

Over the last month, however, I have spent a bunch of time with their solution and something finally clicked for me.

My epiphany can be shared simply as follows:

Instead of paying three people of varying skill level to make 100 calls per day and talk to 10 people (for a total of 30 conversations per day) why not enable my best rep (in terms of conversions from conversation to schedule meeting) so they can effectively make 1,000 dials a day and have 30 conversations themselves.

Consider the following examples

Scenario One: Three Demand Generation Reps

Scenario Two: One Demand Generation Rep + ConnectAndSell

I’d like to point out that scenario one is highly conservative.

In reality, 1) most reps don’t make 100 dials per day consistently. 2) 10% is the lowest performer in this scenario yet most teams average less than 5% today. 3) Differences in individual performance are typically much greater.

The bottom line is that after 15 years of building outbound demand generation teams, my approach has changed dramatically.

While I don’t want to sound like a commercial for ConnectAndSell, I am convinced they have solved-for the problem of getting through to prospects.

This realization creates an interesting question: If getting the conversation no longer requires any effort from the demand generation rep, how does that change how we hire, manage, and compensate these individuals.

Think about it for a moment. The vast majority of prospecting knowledge and training is focused on getting someone to answer the phone. If that is no longer a barrier, 100% of the reps focus rest on converting the live conversation to the scheduled meeting.

Concepts like persistence and dealing with the monotony of dialing and navigating voice mail go out the window. At the same time, each conversation has a real cost. As such, each conversation matters and we need reps that are masters at conversion.

By way of example, my best rep currently converts 75% of live conversations to a first meeting.

This means that one of my reps rep using only half the capacity (500 dials per day) and accounting for a meaningful reduction in conversion (50%) would still generate almost double the number of first meetings as the original team of three.

Scenario Three: High Performance Demand Generation Rep + ConnectAndSell

I cannot overstate the significance of this paradigm shift. It should be generally acknowledged that it is only getting more difficult to convert dials to a live conversation. However, when technology takes over the dialing and getting the prospect on the phone becomes a non-issue, every conversion is pure gold.

In this new world:

  • Will you even be satisfied with reps that convert 15% of the time?
  • Where will you find reps that can hit 25% to 50% conversion?
  • What is your plan for developing and coaching these high performers?
  • How will you compensate them?
  • How much will you need to pay to retain them?

I hope everyone reading this grasps that, in the future, demand generation teams staffed with $40,000, entry-level folks will be at a considerable disadvantage.

Please let me know what you think!

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