iStock 000017880167SmallWhen pursuing multi-channel innovations, health care can learn a lot from outside the industry. This notion was underscored at the recent American Association of Inside Sales Professionals Leadership Summit, a cross-industry gathering on how to design successful inside sales teams. At it, I collected inspiration from beyond health care.

As we look to improve inside sales performance, is one team really that much better than another? Here is an astounding benchmark: While the average team is able to contact 25% to 33% of its list, a best-in-class team can successfully reach 70% to 90%. Given such a dramatic difference in performance, we can all agree in the value of leveraging insights from these best-in-class teams. Here are five performance tips:

1. Partner with marketing on right targets and right message.

    It is easy for sales to blame poor performance on the quality of the target list provided by marketing … and for marketing to blame sales team’s execution. Best-in-class companies have marketing teams that leverage knowledge gained from their inside sales team to improve their targeting methodology, and inside sales uses customer-level insights from marketing as a “better hook” with individual customers. 

      2. Do not discount the value of the relationship.

        We too quickly dismiss the value that inside sales offers as a personal channel for engagement. Best-in-class inside sales teams “work the office” to gain access to more valuable stakeholders. Through perseverance and consistency in target lists, teams see increased engagement over time as they develop a relationship with the people on the other end of the phone.

          3. Optimize timing at all points in the journey with the customer.

            Inside sales offers an opportunity to mine data in a far more sophisticated way than our in-person channel. Best-in-class teams know the right time to call an office or when to schedule an appointment. Generally, delay causes decay—while next-day appointments have a 70% attendance rate, attendance drops to 30% on average if scheduled for the next week. 

              4. Maximize impact through cross-channel synergies.

                The health-care industry has yet to crack the nut on the best approach to using the inside and in-person teams as symbiotic rather than competing resources. Best-in-class examples show 1+1 > 2, as cases where the in-person and inside teams deliver details to distinct targets have lower overall impact than when the teams are working together. 

                  5. Never be satisfied—seek continuous improvement.

                    Constant experimentation is the norm for best-in-class inside sales teams. Health-care may not be leveraging the agility and relatively low-cost risk this channel offers in terms of new pilots and adaptation to an ever-changing environment.

                    If best-in-class teams are reaching 50% to 70% more of their target customers and driving two to three times higher impact, why not look to these companies as inspiration for improvement?

                    Topics: sales, Sales Force, Inside Sales, multi-channel innovations, sales performance, Jessica Jarvis