Processes to Enable Teams to Work Together

Integrating Field and Phone Sales*

Qualify By Phone - Close In Field

Some companies qualify leads on the telephone and close all sales in the field. If your enterprise uses such a system, here are three steps you may take to improve performance.

Step One

First, involve the field in defining a good lead. How? Hold a focus group or take a survey about options you are considering. This proves invaluable in designing lead criteria. Equally as important, field sales involvement in design fosters the field "buying into" the lead system and using it.

Step Two

Second, as marketing expert Ashleigh Groce says, "Close the loop". Give each prospect a unique I.D. number and find out what happens to your leads once they are sent to the field. Without this information, you are steering your marketing and sales effort with an obscured view.

For example, the lead source that produces the most leads could cost the most money per $1,000 in closed sales! Other lead sources could result in more sales volume, even though they generate fewer leads. Or, you may find that certain pairings of field reps and territories or media sources and phone reps work better than others. It is crucial to track advertising, marketing, call center and sales together to obtain useful, actionable metrics.

Persuading field sales reps to respond with lead results, particularly intermediary results, usually requires a positive incentive, or "carrot". This could a contest for a trip to Hawaii or a monetary pay bonus. A negative incentive, or "stick" is also necessary to make it uncomfortable not to provide the needed information. For example, this might be reducing commissions or withholding commission checks until the requisite information is up-to-date. Most of all, a closed-loop system requires that the sales manager make it a priority for sales reps to provide this mission-critical data.

*These are general recommendations. Specific strategies and tactics should be based on a review of your needs, market and operation. For outside support contact Lieber & Associates.

An outside salesman meeting an inside sales staffer

In today's world of cloud CRM and moble apps, providing such information may be relatively painless for the field rep. It may simply require some set-up, a brief sales rep training session and a few minutes sales after each phone or sales call.

Step Three

The third step is too often overlooked, sabotaging the field. Match the tone and style of each telephone rep with that of your field sales reps. If a telephone rep with a consultative style sets an appointment for an outside sales rep, the prospect naturally expect s a similar approach from the outside sales rep. However, if the salesperson has a very different style and approaches the appointment as a commodity sale, the meeting will "blow up" and be unsuccessful. Set realistic expectations among prospects by aiming for compatibility in attitude, style and tone between telephone and field reps. These need not be identical, but should be similar for better results.

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