In order to gain a better understanding on how direct dial-ins impact sales productivity, let’s first look at what sales productivity is all about.
The whole point of your business is for it to sell, with of course a sustainable profit margin. You’ve got marketers and salesmen dedicating their work hours to meet this end.
In this regard, sales productivity can be defined as the amount of time spent on active selling versus the returns obtained from it. It tells you how efficient your company’s workforce has been.
Keeping track of your sales productivity is vital not just for your business to survive but also thrive in today’s ever-competitive markets.
Productivity is mainly focused on sales representatives who are constantly contacting leads, pitching the business proposition, following-up on prospects and trying to land that deal.
Calls and emails are the most widely used mode of contact, with emails having an upper-hand in terms of the ROI that they generate.
Emails sent out through well-organized email lists are highly efficient at generating leads, launching marketing campaigns and customer engagement in terms of investment and returns.
Calls are quicker at generating leads and getting conversions, and depending on the quality of your sales team, engaging clients as well.
But have you considered the value added by Direct Inward dialing on sales productivity?
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By definition, Direct Dials or Direct Inward dialing is a service generally offered by a local phone company (or local exchange carrier) that provides a list of telephone numbers for calling into a company’s private branch exchange (PBX) system.
This allows for calls to be directed to the caller’s personal phone bypassing the switchboard, leading to a more productive conversation.
Before its inception in the US by AT&T in the early 60’s, sales reps were required to reach a manual switchboard who would then redirect their calls to the right channel. This would be an unnecessary obstacle for a sales rep who just wants to talk to the man-in-charge, pitch his proposition and reach his monthly target.
With direct dials, this hindrance in connectivity was sidestepped, allowing reps to avoid switchboard directed voicemails when prospecting and spend more time talking to decision-makers.
This might not seem like much, but back in the day, connectivity wasn’t as simple it is now. And getting a direct number was a big break in landing a potential deal.
Today, direct dials or calling is more about increasing sales efficiency.
Managers are always trying to figure-out a way to make their sales team more efficient. Statistics show that on average, sales representatives spend 21% of their day managing their email lists, 17% entering data, 17% in researching for leads, 12% each on internal meetings and scheduling calls.
That leaves them with only about a third of their work day to spend on engaging prospects and obviously, you wouldn’t want your reps wasting it on cold leads, let alone waiting to be connected to one.
When you’re keen on improving your sales productivity, reaching a switchboard is drag. Data from VorsightBP shows that on average, it takes about 22 minutes to reach a prospect via a switchboard. So that’s just 3 calls in an hour!
If you pit that against the statistics of direct dials, well, it’s not much of a competition.
Direct dial-ins take just about 5 minutes. That’s FOUR TIMES the number of calls!
Another downside of switchboards is that the operator would usually direct you to a general line, and you’d probably end up in their voicemail seven times out of ten. If you cannot connect to a prospect, that’s just valuable time spent on a call with no end-results.
Direct dial-ins can connect to a prospect every 12 calls, which is almost half of that achieved through a switchboard.
Building an effective sales team comes down to the quality of your personnel. But efficiency can certainly be incorporated, regardless of the system.
Direct dials-ins don’t guarantee lead conversions and the driving of sales figures. It’s more about making your sales team more efficient which can lead to improved sales productivity.
Having a direct line just gives you an edge over your competition; it’s more like a detour to your goal.
With the value of direct phone numbers seeming this precious, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that it’s well protected. Companies are very cautious on giving out direct lines to random businesses.