Omnichannel sales is the trend that has rocked 2019 in terms of prospecting methods. While sales reps everywhere (and prospects, most likely) rejoice that the days of “smile and dial” are over, measuring the performance of modern sales teams has brought new challenges for sales managers everywhere. CRM’s are typically not equipped to track complex rep activities that happen on multiple sales channels.
Today’s sales reps use sales sequences that span over two weeks and that often use every communication method available:
Oftentimes, reps will reach out to multiple contacts on the same account with different messages and methods, working in an ABM-sales approach.
Sales managers need to track these complex cadences and grade the sales team’s performance-based results in this cross-channel environment.
Not an easy task.
We took to explore how are sales leaders are tracking performance engagement across multiple communication channels for their teams, and here’s what we found.
There are many reasons for using omnichannel communication in sales, and here’s just a few of them:
While sales veterans still believe there is life in cold calling, there is a growing body of research that shows prospects are fine with making purchases online, via live chat, apps, email or even text messages.
“I used to think traditionally, believing that phone calls should carry more weight in terms of sales performance. Nowadays, a well-worded LinkedIn message can be equally as valid, if not more than a traditional phone call. The reason being, people nowadays hate phone calls, especially sales calls.
So if you approach them through a channel where they feel more comfortable replying, such as social media, there is a higher chance of getting a sale. Especially since they can reply at their own convenience, and do their homework to make sure you are a real person representing a legitimate company. In my opinion, phone sales will eventually be phased out completely in the next 10 years,” said Tony Arevalo, co-founder of Carsurance.net.
Connect rates increase when more communication methods are used in sales outreach, at the prospecting stage. Experiments have shown that three methods of communication is optimal.
Most of the time, however, not all touches are registered in the CRM, which makes it difficult to track them: “At PrimePay, we track phone calls, emails, and voicemails. Direct mail and social media posts are logged in Salesforce but not nearly as often – the nature of it being inside,” said Ben Marchesini, inside sales manager at PrimePay, a payroll service for SMB’s.
Tracking omnichannel communications allows sales managers to fine-tune outreach approaches across demographics, territories, business units or products.
This allows faster sales rep onboarding, as reps are able to use the sales cadence that works best for their customers right off the bat, instead of experimenting with what works and what doesn’t.
At a time when sales rep ramp time is anywhere between 4-6 months, getting sales reps onboarded faster via pre-set sales cadences is a valuable feature.
Having a tested sales sequence that includes all communication channels also allows sales managers to better allocate resources based on individual sales rep skills.
“Some employees are stronger at selling via email while others are better over the phone or social media. When looking at KPIs and targets at the end of the month, having this data on hand is also useful. It can help to determine which communication channels are more successful than others, and how to best allocate sales reps according to their skill and ability with that particular sales medium,” said Tony.
Sales sequences that include multiple sales channels have been proven to lift revenue for companies. But tracking all of these activities across channels is not always easy.
Here are a few tactics that have proven to be effective.
Sales managers need to measure sales performance at the end of the day, and sales activities across channels do not necessarily reflect that. This is why they need to tie in activities with KPIs such as conversion, appointments held, demos and revenue.
There is a long list of KPIs that you can use, but here is a simple breakdown from OutboundView:
Pipeline metrics: Metrics related to how much pipeline the reps build. These are: the number of meetings, the number of appointments set, appointments held or sales activity. You can also count deals opened and closed in the same quarter, touches per appointments, or forecast accuracy.
Quota metrics: Revenue, closed deals, win ratio, deal size and sales cycle.
Using multiple communication channels is awesome, got it. But this can become a significant investment when it comes to sales rep’s time. This is where list segmentation comes in.
“The time commitment can be significant, so we evaluate and segment our prospect lists based on our “right-to-win” the prospect’s business. Prospects that rank highest receive the omnichannel program, whereas prospects just outside our sweet spot receive a program with fewer outreach channels. While we have found that our team is more successful in setting appointments using traditional channels like phone and email, prospects frequently reference seeing the messages in the other non-traditional channels,” said Christian Banach, Business Development Director at Genuine Interactive and sales coach.
You would think that with all the evidence pointing towards multiple communication channels, this strategy would make it into the sales rep’s compensation plans. However, sales leaders prefer a balanced approach and use quota metrics more often than not to determine sales rep’s commissions.
“Attribution is hard to track in omnichannel communication. So, if someone closes by phone, they may have had previous interactions through email or social media that helped them close. So it’s unfair to only count email as the channel that makes an impact,” said Carsten Schaefer, founder and CEO at crowdy.ai.
Sales teams work better if they believe their targets are achievable, so it’s always good to have a simple way to explain quotas. Whatever sales KPI you are using to track omnichannel communication, make sure it’s easy to understand by the sales reps.
“We break down our quotas to make them seem less daunting. Meaning, we take the quota and break it down into number of calls/emails/quotes/sales needed on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to reach the quota goal. This process simplifies the annual goals for the reps in a way that seems more realistic,” said Ben Marchesini, inside sales manager at PrimePay.
Omnichannel communication is a great strategy in an age of ever-evolving sales cadence tools. Your niche and industry will typically have a preference towards specific communication channels, but it’s up to you to find out what they are.
Think about it, how have clients approached you in the past? What communication method did they respond to most frequently? Did they use call, email, text, voicemail, social media? Whatever has been most common in the past is probably what you should use for the future.