• How Sales Operations relates to Sales Success in Appointment Setting Programs: Part 1

    Sales operations questions appointment setting

    Have you ever taken a step back and thought about the questions you get asked the most in your role? As the Senior Operations Manager at Invenio Solutions®, a provider of outsourced sales solutions, I work across Invenio® functions to form meaningful relationships that promote intradepartmental efficiency, all with the end goal of sales program success in mind.  Working with IT, Metrics, Sales & Business Development, Training, People 1st (Invenio’s people-centric HR team), Finance and Management – it’s both tasking yet rewarding. Doing so has also provided me exposure to the responsibilities encompassed within these roles as well as insights into how the questions they get asked have changed.

    From the plethora of demands made to the various departments within Invenio, I narrowed it down to the two questions that get asked the most frequently. Not surprisingly, they are related, and they occur before a sales campaign begins:

    • What is your average close rate?
    • How long will it take for my sales program to gain traction?

    Question: What is your average close rate?

    For Part 1 of this 2 part blog post, we’ll start with close rate.  It’s the most common indicator to gauge whether erecting a new program with an outsourced sales provider is worth the spend. Typically those considering a new sales endeavor will do some quick math, and understandably so – they want to visualize a solution that includes a return on investment. Experience denotes however, that quick math is dangerous when it stands alone and is not followed with a thorough analysis of the investment and its returns.

    Answer: It’s less about Close Ratio and more about Cost Ratio

    To directly answer the question, in an outbound phone environment most sales programs fall between 1% and 5%.  Once again drawing from personal experience, we’ve seen successful programs with a close rate of less than 1%, and others far above 5%, but it varies by type of program, industry, data quality, available messaging and more.

    While we can discuss close rates all day, and even measure and track them as often as needed – close rates are only a sliver of the big picture of what an operations manager looks at. Ultimately, close rates are not the only measure of sales success. Instead, it’s more viable for our prospective clients to examine the cost ratio: cost of sales acquisition versus the cost of (product or service) delivery.  This is where Invenio exhibits prowessand make sure we run operations efficiently.  We typically feature certain key elements that help potential clients calculate overall spend in an outsourced sales program, such as fixed cost (AKA sales acquisition), or a known range of cost. Businesses that understand profitability know that it takes time to see a true sales investment grow; they know that efficiencies will be gained over time and with good communication and reporting you can create a win-win partnership.

    Stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series, “How long will it take for my sales program to gain traction”, where I cover the second most asked question that we encounter when prospecting potential clients for B2B sales solutions.