Why Are You Still Only Looking At Your Sales Reps’ Phone Metrics?

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Tracking Phone Metrics
Inside sales managers typically place a huge emphasis on tracking phone metrics to measure their sales reps’ individual performance. These metrics are crucial to understanding the success of the top performers and the shortcomings of the underperformers. To gain these insights, numerous data sets can be studied including:
          1. Inbound & Outbound Calls Per Day: The total number of phone calls made and received by each rep in one day.
          2. Average Call Disposition: Reveals the result of phone calls:
               a. Transferred to voicemail
               b. Busy signal – no connect
               c. Goes through resulting in a meaningful conversation measured by time on the phone
          3. Quality Connections By Time Of Day: The time of day when reps’ phone calls result in valuable, desired outcomes such as sales or appointments.
          4. Call Connect Rate With Decision Makers: Measures the percentage of phone calls that connect with key decision makers. 
          5. Rep Average Call Duration: The average length of a phone call, both inbound and outbound, with a lead.
          6. Average Calls Per Sale: The average number of calls with a prospect before closing a deal.
          7. Average Lead Response Time: The average time it takes a sales rep to respond to an interested lead.
These are only a portion of all of the possible phone call data sets, but the ones that we believe are the most worthwhile to look at (if you’re insistent about tracking phone metrics).
Corporate Email: The Missing Data Set
Although phone metrics are an important part of internal sales cultures, they are not the only resource depended on to perform sales tasks. An equally (if not more) significant resource heavily relied on is corporate email, which works in conjunction with phone calls. Of all of the resources at sales reps’ disposal, these two are at the forefront of operations. In fact, most organizations deem email a primary form of communication between key players including employees, customers, and clients. 
With this in mind, it is downright astounding that sales managers are only paying attention to phone metrics to assess their sales reps. Whether they realize it or not, they are completely neglecting a crucial data set: corporate emails. The reality is that we are in the year 2015, and email usage is prevalent both in and away from the office. Plus, younger generations are filling open sales rep positions at companies. These 20-somethings and 30-somethings grew up in the Digital Age, meaning they’re more likely to interact with customers via email than on the phone. So why exactly are we overlooking these key metrics? In doing this, we’re not measuring a significant part of the sales process.
If I don’t have you convinced at this point, then perhaps the numbers will do justice. Radicatiresults show that this year there are approximately 122.5 billion business emails sent and received per day. On an individual basis, you’re looking at roughly 122 emails! Don’t worry - sales reps have plenty of time to tackle these emails during the day, considering they only spend 1/3 (or 33%) of their time selling – which is surprising given their primary focus should be to sell. With their remaining time, 28% of it is allocated to reading and sending emails. And now for the icing on the cake: 75% of a company’s intellectual property is stored in e-mail! Based on this statistic, your seemingly important phone metrics really only show you a portion of reality – a whole 15% worth! Still think you’re getting all of the bang for your buck?
Looking At E-mail Analytics
With all of the time sales reps dedicate to emailing and the amount of intellectual property stored in email, it is only fitting for sales managers to also value this data. An E-mail Analytics solution looks at many metrics, some of which are very similar to the phone metrics discussed earlier:
          1. Number of E-mail Communications: The number of email communications (with different prospects or customers) that a rep is engaged in on a daily basis.
          2. Overall Number of Contacts: The number of contacts or email signatures found in a rep’s inbox and the average management level of the contacts (Admin Assistant or C-Suite)
          3. Number of Contacts per Customer: The average number of contacts that the sales rep has with a given customer or prospect. Do your top reps have an average of 20 contacts per account while your bottom performers are falling into the single point of contact trap?
          4. E-mail Frequency: How often (the rate) a sales rep is sending emails to specific prospects or customers.
          5. E-mail Language: The value propositions, proposal language, and messaging (i.e. tribal knowledge) that gets responses. If a top performer is having success with certain value propositions or strategic messaging, why isn’t it being shared across the sales organization?
          6. E-mail Sentiment: The overall sentiment (feelings, attitudes, opinions) of a specific communication based on positive, negative, or neutral values. Do your top reps have an overall positive sentiment score on their outbound emails to prospects and customers? Are your bottom performers using negative language that is turning away prospects and customers?
As you can see, a couple of the email metrics are very similar to the phone metrics. We certainly don’t have a problem with the kind of phone metrics studied. After all, the E-mail Analytics solution was modeled after it! Our only concern is that not enough emphasis is being placed on the communication medium that truly matters today. In other words, the medium where the conversations are actually happening!
Combining Phone & Email Metrics
To be successful in today’s world, sales departments employ both phone calls and emails. Although the medium of communication used often depends on personal preference, there are certain instances where one mode is recommended over the other. For example, emails give you the luxury of responding at convenient times, whereas picking up the phone is more personal. Regardless, the point is that if sales reps are using two mediums of communication, then simply tracking metrics for one of them is not sufficient. You’re essentially disregarding at least half of the data, and therefore only obtaining a 50% view of your sales’ reps performance through the sales process. If you truly care (which I know you do) about gaining the proper insights and providing direction to your sales reps, then it’s time to take a look at the missing data set.