An SME guide to measurement and optimisation of your Sales and Account Management effort
If you can measure it, you can improve it
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. And the important stuff can’t be measured.
In the technology space, things such as quality of code can be measured with reasonable accuracy. In business operations space though, how do you measure how well your Account Managers talk to their clients? It’s not an easy metric to quantify and to measure. At least it isn’t straightforward. So, we will park that problem for future generations of Operations Engineers.
What we can start measuring though is the amount of time spent by the Account Managers on their clients. That’s a good place to start measurement to optimise account management effort.
If you are a Small/Medium company, there are very few tools around that help you measure the team’s performance. Consequently, there is a danger that you there are some metrics dragging you down, but you don’t realise it because you aren’t measuring it.
One late-winter morning, our colleague Avinash pulled out the following data point from Exotel reports .
The bars in Blue indicate the pick-up ratio for incoming calls, — the percentage of calls picked up rightaway when a client call Exotel. The bars in Orange indicate the pick-up ratio for outgoing calls — the percentage of calls initiated by Account Manger picked up by clients.
Two observations came through
1. For each Account Manager, the outgoing pick-up ratio has a direct correlation with the incoming pick-up ratio.
2. Outgoing pick-up ratio hovered between 46% and 53%. Close to 50% of the outgoing calls made by Account Managers were not picked up by clients.
The former is logical and the latter came as a rude shock. We need to start doing two things
1. Start measuring pick-up ratios, and the amount of time spent on each successful call and call attempt.
2. Set ourselves targets to improve the pick-up ratio.
We need to measure the number of outgoing calls per account manager, and the number of calls picked up. This number is readily available in the Exotel reports . Downloading reports every week and measuring this is not my idea of good time spent. What is the easiest way to measure this?
I pushed a hidden feature into the Exotel code base to simulate StatusCallback , not just for API calls, but for all calls, including the ones originated through the Exotel Chrome Plugin , the Call button in your Exotel dashboard. With this, I’ll get a URL ping for every outbound call initiated through Exotel.
Combine that with call details API , we now have details of all the calls made by each Account Manager, to each of their clients.
1. Call Attempt — to capture all calls made to clients by our account managers, which weren’t picked up.
2. SMS — Number of SMS sent to the client.
We then started populating Call and CallAttempt activity for each Account Manager.
Improve Pickup ratio
We started with a 48% pick-up ratio. Our target was to improve this to 60% over the next couple of months. Two simple exercises helped us get here
Familiarise the client with the phone number from which you’ll get the call
Sounds intuitive, doesn’t it. Don’t bombard the client with too many phone numbers. Most important people don’t pick up calls from numbers they don’t recognise.
When the client picks up the call, suggest them to store the number with your name for quick call. You can also send your company’s VCard to the client. Exotel is coming with a quick, easy to use VCard API. So, stay tuned.
Send an SMS every time the client does not pick up the call
Hi, This is Avinash from Exotel. I tried reaching you a couple of minute back. You can call me back at 08088919888.
This SMS was sent every time the client did not pick up the call.
The result, in one month, we improved the pickup ratio to 63%
With zero budget and some code, there are always ways to improve your Key Performance Indicators.
Measuring other indicators
You see another activity type called Email. We currently measure the number of emails sent to clients, and the total time it takes to write and send these emails, all using simple code. That’s a topic for another post though.
In case you’re interested in measuring your pick-up ratio, and improving it, please speak with your Account Manager and s/he will be very happy to help you with this.