Case Study: Improved Sales Results Through Fractional Leadership
This case study explores a situation at a small software product development company with 6 sales staff, preparing to launch a brand new product offering to market, and how their GTM Sales Strategy was improved and amplified by engaging with a Fractional Sales Leader.
Not uncommon to many small businesses, the company did not have dedicated sales leadership or expertise, so those duties defaulted to the VP of Technology, who implemented and administered the company's CRM system. Despite having no experience or training in sales, he was enthusiastic to learn. Motivated by a recent seminar on cold calling, he devised his own approach for their new campaign.
- Goal: Book live product demo meeting with prospects
- Audience: A purchased list, comprised of potential target contacts
- Behaviors: 200 new contacts called per day, by each sales rep
- Follow-Up: Daily follow-up calls for a week to try to reach a live contact or get a callback
- Demos: Sales reps to administer their scheduled demos to their qualified prospects
Engaging a Fractional Sales Leader
The original campaign had some well-intentioned foundations; however, there were some flaws with the plan.
Relying on cold calls alone is not a complete or effective strategy. A cold call results in a live connection less than 75% of the time. 90%+ of voicemails are ignored and unreturned. Overall, cold calls typically have a 1-5% conversion rate.
Furthermore, purchased lists are often incorrect or outdated. Even worse, the same list is generally sold to multiple companies, resulting in contacts that are tired of receiving cold call after cold call. A good Go-To-Market strategy should be balanced with lead generation, advertising, social media, PR, and promotions... More than one outlet should be employed to drive prospects to the company’s product.
On average, a cold call takes 1-5 minutes from "dial" to "qualify." 200 calls a day has long been the telemarketing gold standard. However, with a 25% connection rate, that means daily 75% of initial calls need follow-up calls.
In practice, here's how the original strategy would play out:
|Call 1 |
|Call 2 |
|Call 3 |
|Call 4 |
|Call 5 |
At an average of 2 minutes a call, the minimum of 200 new calls is nearly 8 hours of effort. Adding follow-up calls starting day 2 equates to 12-hour days. By the end of the week, fully loaded, each rep would be required to make 600+ calls, which would take 20 hours per day to complete!
On top of that, these sales reps are responsible for doing the demos as well. That adds up to an additional 4-12 hours of demo time each day. That's more than 24 hours of effort each day for every sales rep.
These are the modifications that the Fractional Sales Leader made before the campaign was launched.
The company had already purchased the contact list. It was very broad and benefitted from some cleanup before use. This eliminated about 30% of contacts that were not really prospects at all. In addition, the reach could be expanded. Existing customers, prospects, and other company social media and marketing contacts were added to the list.
Ideal Number of Calls
The call goal was unsustainably high. It was lowered to 10 per day per rep--a far cry from the original 200. Studies show that average reps can sustainably make 30 cold calls a day. Once fully loaded with new calls plus follow-up calls, reps would not exceed 30 minimum calls a day.
Demos are a great chance to get to know a prospect’s needs, challenges, and objections as they relate to a product. Instead of timely, repetitive live demos, prospects were shown a recorded demo, muted, and asked to hold all questions to the end. A 60-minute demo effort transformed to 15 minutes of quality conversation.
More and Varied Touch Points
Recent research shows that it takes an average of 7 or more touches to get a good response. The original strategy called for 4 follow-up calls. This was a chance to add 4 additional touch points across other channels, such as email and social and was able to be automated via the company's CRM system, so there was no impact to sales time.
When the revised campaign launched, each sales rep spent 1-2 hours on calls, and 1-2 hours on demos each day. That allowed 4-6 hours of time for other necessary activities, such as servicing existing clients, following up on incoming leads, closing sales, and meeting with clients/prospects.
Individually, 5 out of 6 reps exceeded their goals. The company experienced better-than-expected demos and product sales. Overall, the campaign was a great success to the delight of the company's ownership.
Small-and-medium-sized businesses aren't always able to afford full-time sales leadership. In that situation, usually, the owner or another leader ends up functioning as a sales expert , but, more often than not, they are not experienced or trained in sales.
Real-life sales expertise can be the key difference between a winning and losing strategy. Not all businesses can afford to hire full-time top-tier sales talent, but they don't need to suffer since fractional sales leadership produces sustainable, affordable results. A fractional leader is embedded with your team, represents and promotes your company, and is dedicated to your company’s success.