4 Must-Have Features for a B2B Calling Platform for Sales Teams
Despite the fact that technology has enabled the transfer of control to the buyer for many aspects of the sales process, outbound calling is still a crucial factor to closing deals. The primary difference between today’s B2B sales process and the old way of doing this is that sales reps engage with buyers much later in the sales cycle. The Corporate Executive Board found that the average buyer completes 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a sales rep. Rather than cold-calling potential prospects who may or may not be contemplating a purchase, today’s sales rep is responding to inbound leads who are generally educated on their problem and the options they have to solve it.
Unlike yesterday’s sales rep who met face-to-face with their prospects; today’s sales rep sells remotely, using PBX calling platforms and other communication technologies to sell to educated prospects. In most cases, the sale goes to the company who responds quickly and appropriately to the inbound lead. In it’s 2013 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, Software Advice found that if an inbound lead is called within 5 seconds, the odds of qualifying that lead are 30% higher than if the lead is called within 5 minutes.
That’s why sales technology is a crucial element in an effective B2B sales process. And that’s why a B2B calling platform is a critical componenent of a sales technology platform. Here are 4 must-have features for a B2B calling platform for sales teams.
1. Your B2B calling platform must integrate with your CRM system
As mentioned above, today’s buyers are educated about solutions to their problems and in many cases, about the features and benefits of your particular solution. A B2B calling platform that is integrated with your CRM provides your sales reps with lead intelligence that helps them create value iin their interactions with prospects. A properly-designed sales technology platform uses the CRM as a data hub that integrates the calling platform with other technology such as marketing automation, email tracking, and webinar apps.
When the calling platform is integrated with the CRM, sales reps have lead intelligence information at their fingertips that helps them sell appropriately to prospects such as:
- past history with the lead (have you spoken with them before? what was discussed? what emails have you sent them? were they opened? did they click the link?)
- the lead’s digital footprint (how did they become an inbound lead? what website pages have they visited? how did they get to your website?)
- demographic information on the lead and her company (are they in your target market? does the lead appear to have buying authority?)
While you will still need to confirm this lead intelligence, having it makes your sales interactions more valuable to your prospect while helping you qualify leads.
2. Your B2B calling platform should provide a high-quality, personalized calling experience to inbound callers
As was the case 20 years ago, it’s important to convey a professional image to customers and potential buyers. Your B2B calling platform should have the ability to identify customers by their inbound numbers and identify them by name when they call in.
In the past, this was done by receptionists whose sole job was to answer the phone and greet guests visiting your company. Today, this function is handled by a personalize audio component of the calling platform: “Hi, Sean, thanks for calling XYZ company. If you would like to speak to customer service, press 1……”
A good B2B calling platform for sales teams will take it one step further and automatically route the call to the appropriate account executive or customer service person for the caller: “Hi Sean, thanks for calling XYZ company, I will connect you with Steve Jones. If this is not who you want to speak with, …………”
As with many good automated platforms, a good B2B calling platform uses technology to provide a more human customer service experience.
3. Your B2B calling platform should increase sales outreach productivity
While the quality of sales touchpoints is vitally important, there is no doubt that increasing sales activity will lead to an increase in sales. A good B2B calling platform will use technology to increase the number of touchpoints a sales rep handles in a workday.
One way to increase sales outreach productivity is through “click-to-call” functionality. Click-to-call functionality enables a sales rep to initiate a call by clicking on phone number field within a CRM screen. While the time saved between click-to-call versus manual dialing may seem small, multiply that difference by 100 calls to get an idea of how click-to-call functionality makes a sales rep more productive. Add this to automated tracking of calls in the CRM and you will see how a good B2B calling platform will have sales reps spending more time selling and less time recordkeeping.
Power-dialing technology takes it one step further by automating dialing queues and enabling pre-recorded voicemails that can be left when the caller isn’t available.
4. Your B2B calling platform should provide anayltics to improve your sales process
Like any modern business process, your B2B calling platform should enable a process of analysis and iteration to constantly improve. Specifically, your B2B calling platform should track:
- how many phone calls each rep is making
- to whom they’re making calls
- how long they’re spending on calls
- how many go to voicemail
- conversion ratios for calls to sales
In addition, a quality B2B calling platform will record calls for the sales leader to use for coaching purposes. The most powerful analysis is to look at the bests practices of high-performers on your sales team to spread throughout the rest of the team.