Keys strategies exist for organizations with an inside sales, call-center-based environment (whether an inbound or outbound sales team) to manage their group to achieve desired results. The strategies I have found to be the most effective require a certain level of interaction and oversight by management.
Front line managers (team leads, sales managers, branch managers—depending on the organization’s structure) should be able to answer two questions at any time during a shift:
- How many deals does each rep have right now?
- Where is each rep on the team at (with their current call, or in making calls) right now?
If managers cannot answer these two questions, then they are not managing their call centers proactively, but most likely operating reactively, waiting for reps who need help instead of actively assessing and running the team.
Front line managers of call-center-based sales teams should be actively listening to live or recorded calls at every available chance. Their goal is to coach by supporting low-performing reps with helpful feedback, and by supporting the reps doing well so they will replicate their results daily.
Historically, sales management tends to focus on underperformers to help them improve, leaving the top reps to continue on their own without feedback because “They know what they are doing and don’t need help.” In my opinion, that is a poor philosophy. Looking at the bottom line, if you get a poor performing rep to improve by 50 percent, that could mean they go from two deals per week to three. If you put in similar effort with a top performing rep, the rep could go from six to nine deals in a week. Then the company has yielded three more deals, instead of one, with the same relative management effort. Yes, it is important to support all members of the team, but call center managers should balance the standard practice of bringing up the bottom with maximizing the top players’ opportunities and effectiveness.
Call Center Management Tip
One-on-one manager/rep meetings are critical. The best frequency is daily. During that one-on-one meeting, the manager should cover the previous day’s stats for the rep and compare that to the goal the rep set for themselves (within the key performance indicators (KPI) categories a rep has within their control). Then have the rep set new goals for the day. These goals should be in line with their weekly goal (as well as management’s requirement/quota). The best way for the rep to set these goals is to tie them into items on their Vision Board (see Sales Management section) and the money needed to accomplish those items.