Are Inside Sales Reps Wasting 20% of Their Time Preparing for Calls?

How much time are your sales reps wasting preparing for calls? According to a new CSO Insights study, sales reps are spending 20% of their time researching prospects themselves. That’s a full workday each week, and 52 days-per-year.

While sales research isn’t exactly a waste of time, one fact remains: every moment that reps spend researching a prospect is a moment that isn’t spent closing a deal. Obviously, it’s better for sales reps to know something about their prospects rather than just making cold calls. But a whole work day seems like a lot of time to spend prepping for calls. The problem isn’t whether the right data is out there (there’s likely to be actionable sales data about any given product on the web, social media sites and in a business’ CRM tool). Instead, the problem is: how do reps access this data as quickly as possible?

The report rightly surmised that marketers and sales managers can work together to optimize the sales process. Here are some ways that marketers and sales managers can work together to help sales reps spend less time prepping and more time closing.

Arm Sales with Data About Accounts and Opportunities

Sales Reps Spending 20% of Time Preparing for CallsThere’s no arguing with the fact that the more a rep knows about a prospect, the easier it is to close a deal. However, a manager’s goal should be to get the relevant information in front of reps as soon as possible.

That’s why we at RingDNA designed our sales app to give reps quick access to a lead’s sales history, contact history, Chatter feed, company news and social media streams within the context of a call. In a recent post, our CEO, Howard Brown, wrote about how contextual sales data delivered before calls can help save reps time. The result is that reps won’t have to switch between multiple browser windows for Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. The information is right there in the app, before, during and after calls.

Provide Social Sales Training

While our app can save reps time by giving a quick, bird’s-eye-view of prospect data, if reps want to go in depth with social sales  prospecting  it’s vital that reps get the proper training they need. Social media can be a deal-maker, but it can also be a huge time-suck if reps aren’t trained in what information to look for. Social sales training can help reps get the data they need as quickly as possible.

Train Reps on How to Prioritize Accounts

There are only so many hours in a day. Therefore, each day there’s a limited amount of leads that each rep can have sales conversations with. That’s why it’s crucial for reps to adequately prioritize leads. After all, the hotter leads might require less research than the colder ones. Marketing automation solutions can help businesses with lead scoring and lead nurturing in order to ensure that leads are sales-ready. We designed our app to go even further by allowing leads to rate calls. This can give marketers and sales managers real-time insight into lead quality. If reps are taking to many bad calls in a row, managers can work with marketing to provide a prioritized call list based on lead scoring metrics.

Create Prefabricated Sales Collateral

No matter what industry you’re in, you’re likely to encounter some common customer profiles. For example, two common customer profiles we encounter here are sales managers looking to connect their phone systems to Salesforce and marketing executives looking for a call tracking solution. We’ve been able to cut down our sales team’s prep time by creating content that is specifically geared toward common customer verticals. We recommend various pieces of content for various types of customers and make that content quickly accessible within Salesforce. Sales managers or marketers can even pre-write email templates or talking points for calls. We even designed our sales app to automatically serve up sales talking points based on particular campaigns or even keywords that customers see.

By following these strategies, we hope your reps can get back some of that “wasted workday,” and close more deals as a result.

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