Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Buzz in the Room

by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Feb 10, 2010

I read a post over at the Cubicle Chronicles yesterday.  Now, Josiane is someone I respect immensely.  As a matter of fact, if you are in Inside Sales and have not yet bought her book Smart Selling on the Phone and Online - run don't walk to pick it up.  Josiane lays down the fundamentals in an absorbable and easy to implement fashion. 

But, having said that, she and I have slightly different viewpoints on this one. Here's an excerpt from her post - Sales Productivity Sounds:

There was a time when the success of your inside organization was the loud buzz you could hear from 6am until about 2pm in the afternoon (PST) which validated your team was working hard. You'd walk down the sales aisles and hear that loud hum accented with bells, whistles, balloons and cackling sounds from team members high fiving each other after a successful call.

Today most call centers or inside sales organization sound very different. It's not the phone you hear but keyboards clicking, texting and instant messaging. Call activity is at an all-time low these days, not because your people are not on the phones but because prospects no longer want to be bothered by phone.


I completely agree that phone time is at an all time low, but I don't agree that it is because our teams are effectively using their keyboards to move the sales process forward.  As phone time decreased - so did the percentage of Reps hitting quota. 

My take is that the the problem lies in the difference between conversation and communication. 

con·ver·sa·tion - noun
1. informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.
2. the ability to talk socially with others: She writes well but has no conversation.

com·mu·ni·ca·tion - noun
1. the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs.
2. a document or message imparting news, views, information, etc.

Effective Inside Sales strategies are based on conversation.  Yes, the phone is interruptive and prospects don't want to be bothered with calls, but the reason they don't want to be bothered is because most callers are not adding any value for the buyer. They are trying to sell them something before establishing credibility.  And, if we think that fact is any different in the keyboard world, we are kidding ourselves!

Keyboard conversations impart information but provide limited ability for an interchange of thoughts. 

  • How do you handle objections in 140 characters?
  • How do you position yourself against the competition in an email?
  • How do you develop rapport that is both personal and professional?
  • Not for nothing, but do busy Executives really need a bevy of pen pals to communicate with on a daily basis?

See our thoughts on this very topic at Pen Pals or Prospects and Pen Pals or Prospects: Part Two. What we had to say is less interesting than the dialogue in the comments section.

The perfect answer probably lies someplace in the middle. To achieve your goals you need to figure out the perfect blend of conversation and keyboard communication but in my book "Buzz" will always win out over "Click".

At the end of the day, if you are a Sales Manager ask yourself this question:

Are my Sales Reps keyboard communicating and my competitor's Reps having live conversations? If so, who is going to win the business?

Let the conversation begin!

(Photo Credit: Stewf)

Topics: inside sales management

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