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Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

Thank You for Calling the Sales Prevention Department

by Janet Stucchi on Fri, Oct 21, 2011

Your Reps are spending significant time, effort & energy trying to speak with prospects live.

When the great miracle happens and a prospect tries to call your Sales Line, are you making it easy for them? Are you sure?

Many companies have a department they’re not even aware of – Sales Prevention. It’s comprised of delightfully polite, yet ultimately rage-inducing auto attendant that prevent Prospects from reaching your Sales Reps.

The good news is that there’s a way to downsize the Sales Prevention Department. Here’s how:

  • Dial the phone numbers listed on your website, booth, cut sheets, etc.
    Make sure you call the main line and the sales line (if they’re separate). This will help you understand the prospect’s experience.
    How quickly is the phone answered, if at all? If you have an auto attendant, is the Sales option 1st, 2nd,  6th? Is the prospect forced to listen to a commercial before you provide them with routing options? 
  • Make sure that the Sales option rings more than one Rep
    Most systems will allow you to route to a specific extension or randomly based on availability. Whichever way you go, you must have overflow routing in case the first person is unavailable. This may mean that you, as a Sales Manager, will have to answer the phone on occasion. Not a bad thing, right?
  • Never have your inbound line dump into a single Rep’s voicemail.
    Does the caller get dumped into ‘Brian Sellers’ voicemail – without any indication who exactly he is?
    There are numerous issues with this, not the least of which is the inability to retrieve those messages in the Rep is out.
    If you can't have a live person answer the call, have a dedicated Sales voicemail where prospects can leave a message. It goes without saying that you’ll need to make sure that voicemail is being checked – perhaps sales support can help with this one.
  • Establish an SLA for Sales voicemails.
    There should be a time limit by which each voicemail must be retrieved and answered. It should be as short as reasonably possible. Your prospects need to know that their calls are important to you. The only way to demonstrate this, if the call cannot be answered live, is to respond to their message in a timely manner.
  • Ensure your Reps’ names & extensions are publicized within the organization.
    It would be ideal to include the territories (if not too complex). If a prospect mistakenly dials HR or Customer Support, can those folks quickly and seamlessly intro and connect the prospect with the correct Rep.

Fair or not, if your prospect is left thinking – “Gee, talking to a Sales Rep is so effortless I just can’t wait to work with their legal & billing team!” –they will call your competitors.

No matter how unique your product; or how differentiated your company; in 99.9% of cases, you have competition and your potential customers will reach out to them if you make it difficult to speak with you.

Now, go call your sales line and see what happens!

(Editor’s note: Thanks to Cindy Littlefield for sharing two companies who’ve added some humor to their auto-attendant.)

  • Bronto Software: 919-595-2500 listen & choose Option 3
  • Unidesk: 508-573-7800 listen & choose Option 7

(Photo credit: ElDave)

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Topics: best practices, technology

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