What I Learned From Monitoring Call Activity

Lindsay Frey — President & Co-Founder @ demandDrive

Every time I’m interviewing a new candidate for an Inside Sales or Sales Development position, I ask them this question: “What type of management style do you respond best to?”

Most of them answer the same way — “I don’t like to be micro-managed…I prefer a manager who communicates goals and supports me when I need it, but isn’t monitoring my every move…I like to be given the autonomy to do my own thing, etc…”

Now maybe this is because many of the candidates I’m interviewing are Millennials, and they’re afraid I’m going to catch them on Facebook. Perhaps they’re just used to a lot of autonomy. My belief is that if I’m hiring someone I want to be able to trust that they know what they need to do to hit their goals without me checking their call activity every 15 minutes. And frankly, I don’t have the time.

I used to check daily activity and hold my reps accountable for getting in 80–100 call activities per day. Yet in actuality, did these numbers translate into better conversations and more opportunities? If a rep hit 110 calls but didn’t have any worthwhile conversations, did they consider that a solid day? I sure didn’t, so why was I using that as a barometer of success?

During one of our morning meet-ups I told the team that I wasn’t going to be looking at call numbers anymore. I cared about how many people they had meaningful conversations with, how much pipeline they generated and how many qualified leads they found. I asked them to look at the number of connects they had and aim for 15 meaningful conversations a day. I told them that there might be days where it would take 60 calls to get that number, and there might be days it takes 100+ calls.

A strange thing happened — the call numbers didn’t change that much, but the quality of their conversations improved. With the focus shifted away from volume, they stopped stressing about getting “10 more calls in” before heading home and instead approached each account they were calling with more thought and preparation.

This being said, if I notice a rep not hitting their connect and lead goals then I will look at their call activity. If that is significantly lower than their colleagues then there is usually another issue that needs to be addressed.

My belief is that employees thrive in an environment in which they feel supported, are presented with a clear path to success and are trusted to work hard and hit their goals without someone constantly peering over their shoulder. Perhaps I’m a bit idealistic, but if it’s worked for me it could work for you!

Do you monitor call activity? How do you measure the success of your inside sales team? Not every approach works for every company, so if you have something that works let us know!

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