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Are Your Inside Sales Reps sacrificing Effectiveness for Efficiency?


Nowhere is the overall management of an inside sales teleprospecting team more difficult than the process of trying to gain efficiencies without losing effectiveness.  We all want our reps to make the most activities possible while also passing the most qualified opportunities they can.  CRM suites like and have revolutionized the industry from a efficiency standpoint.  Teleprospectors today have all the tools at their disposal to maximize their outbound activity with minimal administrative effort.  It all sounds so great…but BEWARE!!  While efficiency gains through the use of technology can be incredibly valuable, they mean very little if the quality of your product (the qualified lead) suffers.

Before we get into one of the great effectiveness killers, Email Templates, it is important for you to understand how we define both efficiency and effectiveness in Teleprospecting.  Please keep in mind that these are our organizational definitions.  I’m well aware that any solid MBA or Basic business course would define these differently.

Efficiency:  The amount of output (outbound activities) a single inside sales rep can produce in one 8 hour work day.

Effectiveness:  The number of fully qualified sale opportunities created by that same outbound activity in one 8 hour day.

The two go hand in hand; too much focus on one will invariably decrease the other.  For example, several years ago we made a shift in management and required a 20% increase in daily activity from our inside sales reps.  We did the simple math and figured the increased efficiency\output would yield a great increase in effectiveness\Leads.  It didn’t pan out that way.  Our inside sales reps became more robotic in their approach in a quest to get more activity and thus became less focused on the amount of information they were gathering on each live conversation.  The live conversation became something that got in the way of more activity.  Not a good problem to have in our business. 

One of the most popular features amongst our team in our is the ability to set up email templates.  We’ve all used this feature I’m sure and at face value it seems like a no brainer in terms of being able to touch more prospects with your message faster.  Instead of taking time to write individual emails to a prospect you can simply click a couple of buttons and fire out a standard pitch template.  Great time saver, huge efficiency gain for your team and I HATE IT. 

Email templates have a purpose, but it doesn’t reside in the day to day prospecting activity of an inside sales rep.  If you strive to pass your sales team FULLY qualified leads, you should strongly consider not allowing your inside sales reps to use this functionality.  The use of email is essential in building the proper rapport needed to fully qualify a prospect.  Cutting corners in their content and delivery will only serve to turn that prospect off.  You can tell when someone has sent you and email template as opposed to taking 3 minutes to write you a unique one.  Unique in that it is personalized.  Perhaps reflecting that you’ve been to their site, or spoken with a colleague, etc…  I understand the allure of using email templates as they truly can and do increase efficiency\output, but I stand firm in my belief that they disrespect the prospect and have no place in the process of fully qualifying a lead.


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