Motivating sales agents to respond to leads

Sales is a very fast-paced aspect of business. Representatives must quickly complete multiple meetings and client calls every day in order to sell goods or merchandise to meet their quotas. Unfortunately, some agents don’t move at a brisk pace when it comes to responding to leads. 

The longer prospective clients wait to hear from a vendor, the less likely it is that the two parties will do business together. Consumers are fickle and won’t wait for one company to respond to their inquiries. It is imperative that managers create compensation solutions that motivate agents to contact leads as soon as possible. 

Developing a metric
Every enterprise has different metrics for measuring the performance of its sales team. No statistic is more important for business than the length of time it takes representatives to contact leads. Karen Ong, CEO of Language International, told Inc. Magazine that the sales performance management (SPM) staff at her company spoke to its employees and found that it took 36 hours for agents to respond to leads

“When we then interviewed our sales team members, we found out that they were always prioritizing follow-ups over new leads,” Ong said. 

Language International began moving away from sales-centric compensation plan to encourage salespeople to quickly contact potential clients. Inc. Magazine reports that the education company is looking for ways to scale its sales incentives with how long it takes employees to respond to its leads. 

Managers should follow Language International’s footsteps and review its sales staff’s techniques. Teams that are prioritizing current clients over new business are hamstringing growth. Companies should conduct regular review meetings to determine if its staff needs to shift its focus. If the average response-time to a lead is longer than 24 hours, the incentive plan should be adapted accordingly. 

Appropriately scaling incentives
Effective incentive compensation management (ICM) ensures that rewards provide sufficient motivation for the staff. Salespeople want to earn fair bonuses for adhering to their company’s best standards. Managers must develop fair compensation plans that will reduce the amount of time it takes for agents to respond to inbound leads. 

The simplest solution is to offer depreciating incentives. The longer it takes for an agent to call or email a potential customer, the less money the employee will be able to earn. Managers can subtract small percentages for every hour that passes. Additionally, companies can customize their ICM applications to automate the incentive reductions.