Latest Research by Trish Bertuzzi and The Bridge Group: Most Leverage Comes With Dialer Software and Lead Research
#3 Most Popular on Forbes! When you think about inside sales or selling remotely, one of the first names that comes to mind is Trish Bertuzzi, the President and Chief Strategist of The Bridge Group, Inc. Her experience goes back two decades and her awards, recognition, eBooks, and Board Affiliations would take up all the words I have allotted in this article. She runs the largest LinkedIn Group about the inside sales space called Inside Sales Experts, with 23,212 members as of today. I could (and often have) gone on and on about Trish.
But it’s her research I want to talk about – Ken
Trish Bertuzzi and her firm, The Bridge Group, Inc., pulls together an ongoing research study every year for the last five years on “Lead Generation: Metrics and Compensation Report for B2B technology companies” that has become a watermark for the entire industry. One of many of her areas of expertise is in gathering, recruiting, compensating, and onboarding talent for the hottest game changing segment of all of sales and marketing: inside sales.
This year 197 business-to-business (B2B) companies in the technology space answered about key metrics that drive success in inside sales, the fastest growing segment of sales and marketing.
Half the companies declared themselves to be software companies with a third specifically in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or cloud computing segment with the rest focused on hardware sales, a combination, or other.
In fact, 24% of the companies described their sale as a “New Concept,” requiring extensive education to make buyers aware of their solvable problem, what Harvard Business School Press authors Kim and Mauborgne call “Blue Ocean,” where there are no other competitors. My company, InsideSales.com, is in this category.
37% had a “New Paradigm”, where they offer a more effective solution in a fairly crowded space.
And 39% face off in an “Established Market” that is highly competitive where they have to differentiate themselves in what “Blue Ocean Strategy” calls Red Ocean, where the sharks are swimming in heavy competition for limited food sources.
I want to highlight a few very important findings.
Bertuzzi notes that average job experience is down 20% from 2.5 years in 2010 to 2.0 years in 2012. That percentage of respondents requiring less than one year of experience has doubled in the same time frame, noting:
“The job itself hasn’t changed, but the hiring landscape has certainly shifted. Between 2009 and 2011, demand for lead generation reps grew 54%. That is significant. With demand outstripping supply, companies are moving further down the experience food chain.”
The average tenure of a lead generation rep in an inside sales department has fallen from 2.4 years in 2009 to 2.1 years in 2012. Again, denoting less experienced sales reps entering the sales department in droves. This has also driven down the average compensation from $77,000 in 2009, to $71,600 in 2012.
But note, this is NOT a lessening in the value of the role, but a number of factors including companies now hiring less experienced reps.
But from a positive note for more experienced reps, sales reps making more than $100,000 has risen from 8% in 2010 to 20% in 2012. Those making $85,000 has grown from 21% to 27% in the same time period.
Another interesting trend is in 2010, 50% of lead generation teams reported to the Marketing department. In 2012, 70% of teams report to Sales, with sales particularly driving the Outbound Prospecting component.
Of great interest to my company particularly is the groundbreaking research Trish has led in the area of sales reps using dialing technologies. 21% of companies researched are now using this highly leveraged resource, leading a Bridge Group opinion that:
We think dialing technologies might be the #1 productivity tool to invest in. Having more conversations with your target audience can only lead to more pipeline and that is never a bad thing!”
Average dials per day have risen to 56, the highest level in 5 years.
- 4% of groups make less than 19 dials daily
- 31% make 20-39 dials daily
- 34% make 40-59
- 11% make 60-79
- 9% make 80-99, and
- 11% make more than 100 dials a day.
The big news for outbound groups is an average of 59 dials without a dialer, and 81 dials with a dialer, an increase of 37.3% in output.
At InsideSales.com, we have pioneered dial rates well over 300 dials per day from lead generation reps. Much like my friend Mark Roberge of HubSpot, who claims the more blog articles they write every day the more leads they generate, we find leads, appointments, and sales just keep going up with more calls, but especially contacts. With competitive gamification models in place like those from my friend Chuck Coonradt, author of Game of Work, these paces are easily maintained. We have a few clients whose reps top 700 dials in a day without burnout.
And guess what? Just like Trish Bertuzzi and her team verify, “more conversations … is never a bad thing!”
There seems to be a sweet spot for each company, whether it is 120, 170, 350, or 700+ dials in a day. But companies still have a lot of leverage to reap by increasing the dials their teams are making with 120 as about the minimum. I see thousands of dated managers of inside sales teams who balk at these numbers and say things like, “Our company is different, we have to personalize our calls, or we have to do too much research before we call.”
I say bunk!
What that really means is they haven’t won the battle of turf with the rest of the company and the outside sales teams or marketers are holding them back with their “traditional” (read archaic) methodologies. Just fix the problems and take the research function out of the hands of the inside sales reps and turn them loose to succeed!
It seems to center around that fine balance between quantity of calls and quality of calls. Quality is based on pre-call planning, 3×3 analysis techniques like those espoused from my friend Steve Richards of Vorsight, and data scoring, targeting, and appending. We call this pre-call enriching of the data “Lead Research.” It is becoming a new specialist position that sits in front of the lead generation teams.
This is becoming such a hot topic that I have committed Mark Ruthfield, my friend at Zoominfo, the list company we have tested three years running and have found to have the strongest contact information, to share their secrets in lead research and data append in a lead research webinar next week.
The final page of this landmark study asks a question and summarizes:
“What percentage of a given day do reps spend figuring out who to call and how to reach them as opposed to having conversations with buyers? Most likely, far too much. That wasted time serves as a productivity killer.”
“We are seeing an emerging trend of hiring (either full or part time) a resource that does nothing but keep contact and account data “clean.” These resources utilize a combination of online and phone research to keep CRM data immaculate and sales-ready (think: org charts, current contacts, direct dials, etc.)”
The Bridge Group adds nearly two dozen other very relevant and important findings in this research study. I highly recommend if you are in a sales or marketing capacity that you access this incredible study from Trish and her team.
Here’s the link again: “Lead Generation: Metrics and Compensation Report for B2B technology companies”
Thanks Trish, for all you do for our exciting industry of inside sales!