If you’re familiar with the sales world, you’ve probably heard that cold calling is dying. Sure, for some it’s getting an increasingly negative connotation. But that doesn’t mean you should stop calling prospects. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. A recent study shows that 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone, and it takes about five calls to close 80% of a company’s sales.
These figures simply mean your business development representatives (BDRs) need to call as many prospects as possible. If they do, they’ll help your sales reps by scheduling qualified appointments and they’ll produce a healthy sales pipeline full of closing opportunities.
As you know, new sales opportunities are the lifeblood of your business. According to recent research by HubSpot, 72% of businesses with less than 50 sales opportunities a month failed to reach their revenue goals. In contrast, only 4% of those businesses with between 101 and 200 sales opportunities fail to reach their revenue targets.
However, reaching a sales target is easier said than done. Apart from prospecting, BDRs and SDRs have to follow up with and nurture leads, answer emails, do research on prospects or their industry, prepare weekly and monthly reports, and much more. Many times with this mountain of tasks, they simply cannot strategically prospect leads. Here’s where sales power hours come into play.
In this guide, we’ll explore what a sales power hour is and how it works. More importantly, we’ll show you how you can implement sales power hours in your business.
Simply put, it’s one hour a day during which your SDR teams will focus solely on prospecting. During this hour, all your sales and business development representatives should only concentrate on calling your business’s top prospects.
In other words, your SDRs shouldn’t focus on any other tasks like prospect nurturing, list building, or extensive research on any prospects. It’s also vital that you don’t schedule any meetings or other activities during the sales power hour. If you do, your sales power hours will lose their effectiveness.
Now, keep in mind that different businesses might implement power hours differently. One thing is certain, though—these power hours produce results. They allow your SDRs to make high volumes of calls, and when they do, they’re able to create more leads which, in turn, gives your sales reps more opportunities to take advantage of.
In simple terms, power hours make your SDRs more productive. Considering the research we mentioned earlier, this puts your business in the ideal position to generate more sales opportunities and reach its goals.
It’s important to remember, though, that the success of a power hour shouldn’t be measured based on the number of calls a representative makes. For this reason, you might want to use some other metric to gauge the results your team is able to achieve. This could include the number of appointments they’re able to set, the number of demos they’re able to schedule, or other business opportunities they’re able to create.
Now, considering how effective sales power hours are as a lead generation and productivity tool, you might be wondering what you need for a power hour. Fortunately, it’s nothing you don’t already have. You only need an hour a day, telephones, and your SDRs’ and BDRs’ undivided attention.
A lead generation program is nothing without reliable BDRs and SDRs to help accumulate leads and make sales. But what’s the difference between the two roles? Learn here.
By now, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” With power hours, it’s especially true. For them to be effective and deliver on their promise of increased productivity and more sales opportunities for your sales reps, it’s vital that you plan them carefully.
With that in mind, here are some strategies and tips you can use to not only implement sales power hours in your business but also make sure they’re successful. It’s important to note, however, that when you implement power hours, how you do it, and what your goals are with these power hours will largely depend on your business’s goals and requirements.
The cornerstone of your planning should be to have everything ready in advance before a power hour. And by “in advance” we don’t just mean shortly before the power hour, but days and weeks in advance.
If you plan on introducing power hours in your business, you should let your SDRs and BDRs know well in advance. Remember, most of your representatives might already have a routine they follow and a system they use to approach prospects.
When you introduce a new system without notifying them, you’ll interfere with their current routine. This could, in turn, have unwanted results and could even lead to a loss of productivity.
Also, by discussing power hours with your team in advance, you’ll get them on board with the benefits they can bring. After all, the more productive they are, the more money they can make, so if they see the benefits they’ll be more likely to embrace the process.
Also, plan the details in advance as to who is calling whom, what territories are open, and what industries you’ll be attacking during the power hour. Having a strategic prospecting plan for your sales power hours ensures that BDRs and SDRs call the hottest leads in the sales pipeline. Without a list of hot leads, you risk wasting valuable time.
When you do your planning upfront and give your SDRs all the tools and information they need, you’ll eliminate delays and enable them to call as many prospects as possible during the power hour. You can almost think of your planning as laying the foundation for its success.
As mentioned earlier, the ultimate goal of a power hour is to allow your team to be more productive, reach more prospective clients, and create more sales opportunities.
To achieve the results you want, it’s vital to set measurable goals for your sales power hours. When you do this, you’ll ensure that your team knows what it’s working toward, and it gives you something to measure your actual results against.
Instead of saying your SDRs should make 20 calls during the power hour, you should give them goals like getting prospects’ contact details, setting qualified appointments, or speaking to key decision-makers.
Moving on to the next step, you’ll need to decide when your sales power hours should happen. This could vary from business to business but generally, you’ll want to schedule the power hours for when your SDRs will be most productive.
In other words, schedule your power hours for when your SDRs will have the best opportunity to talk to prospects. For some businesses, this could be the first thing in the morning, while it could be later in the day for others.
For instance, if your business finds most of its clients regionally, you can schedule the power hour first thing in the morning. In contrast, if your business predominantly sells to international customers in a different time zone, your power hour could be later in the afternoon.
No matter when it is, it’s vital that everyone on your team understands that a power hour is not optional and that they show up. The most effective way to do this is to schedule the power hour on everyone’s calendar.
Now, the next question is who should participate in a power hour. Typically, you’d think that only your SDRs should be involved. We, however, believe that it’s not only SDRs who need to participate; senior SDRs and team leads need to be a part of this exercise too.
When your SDRs see that their seniors participate in these power hours, they’ll be more motivated, increasing the adoption rate of the power hour strategy across the board. Besides, it will also enable you to foster a culture of teamwork and collaboration because everyone will be working toward the same goal.
As mentioned earlier, the ultimate goal with power hours is to make your SDRs more productive and efficient by allowing them to contact more prospects and create more sales opportunities for your sales reps. But wait, if they’re able to be so productive during power hours, why aren’t they able to do this during normal working hours?
The simple answer is that they’re multitasking. That means, apart from contacting prospects and trying to make sales, they’re usually also replying to emails, nurturing leads, and much more. Although these activities are crucial for any business, they don’t promote productivity and efficiency.
Apart from these activities, there are also several other reasons and distractions that could decrease productivity. In reality, it’s rare for SDRs (or any worker) to be productive for eight hours straight. According to research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while an average worker is at work for eight hours and 48 minutes a day, they are only productive for two hours and 53 minutes of that time.
Some of the most unproductive tasks include:
- Reading news websites
- Checking social media
- Searching for new jobs
- Discussing non-work-related topics with co-workers
- Taking smoke breaks
- Making food or eating
- Sending texts or instant messages
Although these tasks are unproductive, it’s unlikely that you’ll eliminate them as your SDRs are human and need breaks now and then. However, as power hours require your SDRs to disable or mute all notifications and instant messaging apps, stay off social media, decline phone calls, and refrain from eating, they improve productivity.
Remember, power hours are there to make your SDRs more productive. So, in addition to the above strategies, you should also aim to make power hours as engaging as possible. This is especially important because engaged employees are more productive, efficient, and can increase a business’s profitability by 21% and sales by 20%.
It goes further than this, though. Research shows that employee engagement, generally:
- Ensures happier employees. It’s simple, when your SDRs are happier, they’ll perform better. As a result, they’ll be able to get more leads and create more sales opportunities. Also, when your employees are happier, they don’t need any added pressure to stay motivated.
- Improves employee satisfaction. When your SDRs are more satisfied, they’ll work better. In fact, satisfied employees are 13% more productive than unsatisfied ones.
- Improves employee loyalty. When your employees are happier and more satisfied, they’re more loyal. In turn, they care more about their jobs and the success of your business.
- Improves employee retention. When employees care about their jobs and are given opportunities to use their strengths, they are less likely to look for a job elsewhere. In other words, you increase your employee retention rate.
- Enhances customer service. It’s proven that engaged employees care about their work and the company they work for. When they care more, they serve your customers better.
- Leads to higher sales. When your employees are more productive and your clients are more satisfied, you make more sales and unlock more growth in your business.
Considering the above, it’s easy to understand why engagement is the key to unlocking your SDRs’ productivity. The question is, how do you do this? For one, you should always make power hours a fun activity.
The importance of this can’t be overstated. According to Forbes and Harvard Business Review, businesses with employees who are having fun experience a 31% increase in productivity and a 37% increase in sales. So, when you’re able to make power hours a fun activity, your SDRs will not only want to participate more but they’ll also stay more motivated and perform better.
Another key point is to encourage your SDRs to keep score. If they do, they’ll be able to gauge how they perform, which will give them insights into where they can improve. Besides, letting them keep score will give them the chance to see how they compare against their peers. This is a great motivator to keep them productive.
One of the best ways to keep your SDRs engaged is by introducing a competitive element into your sales power hours. It effectively combines having fun and keeping score into one, which ensures your engagement levels stay where they need to be.
Consider organizing individual or team competitions and award the winners with some sort of incentive. Here are some examples of competitions:
- Daily prize: This is as simple as it gets. You’ll need to decide on a specific goal or metric for your SDRs and the SDR who performs best based on the specific metric wins the prize at the end of every day. This is an excellent way to create a healthy competitive environment for your SDRs, which will drive them to make more calls.
- Power hour performer of the month: Like the daily prize competition, the SDR who performs best wins the prize or incentive. However, this competition will be held over the course of a month and you can even combine it with the daily prize competition. This then creates both short-term and long-term incentives that keep your SDRs engaged and motivated.
- Taxi ride: This competition serves as an incentive scheme with a trip to a city of your choosing as the prize. During the competition, SDRs accumulate points when they reach certain milestones and the SDR with the most points at the end of the month wins the trip. However, as they accumulate points, the points are recorded in an online game or map that involves a taxi visiting landmarks in the chosen city. The points they earn allow them to buy a taxi ride to the next location. You can then award prizes for each separate location.
- Buddy up: This is an excellent competition to increase the productivity of all the SDRs on your team. During the competition, you’ll pair your SDRs in teams of two, one of your top performers with one of the lower performers. At the end of the competition, you’ll reward the team that performed the best measured against your chosen metric. Ultimately, you’ll be able to improve collaboration between your SDRs and give your lower performers the chance to learn what it takes to be a top performer.
- On track racing: For this competition, you’ll simulate car racing. To do this, you’ll decide on a specific period during which the competition will run. You’ll then reward your SDRs with fuel and time on the track as they reach certain milestones during this period. The winner is the SDR who travels furthest around the racing track. You can even consider giving prizes to those who place in the top 10.
- Power hour Monopoly: Much like the board game it’s named after, this competition requires that your SDRs move around a game board as they reach certain milestones. Before the competition starts, you’ll give each SDR fake money and, as in the board game, they’ll get more when they pass Go. They’ll then be able to spend the fake money on incentives as they play the game.
- Knockout: This simple competition is able to increase your SDRs’ performance and motivation by making them play against each other and attempt to knock others out of the game. Here, you’ll need to draw a grid with several boxes. You’ll then pick one box before the competition begins that will win the prize. For every power hour, your SDRs will have the chance to claim a box. They’ll do this every time they complete a goal that’s decided before the time. So, if the goal is appointment setting, an SDR will write their initials in a box once they set an appointment. Over time the grid will fill up, and if it does, your SDRs will have the opportunity to knock out their peers by performing better. At the end of the competition, the SDR with the winning box wins the prize.
- Balls of steel: With this competition, every SDR is given five balls before the power hour starts and their goal is to take balls from the other SDRs. To do this, they’ll need to reach the goal you set for the power hour. At the end of the hour, the SDR with the most balls wins the prize. You can even stretch the competition out over a week or a month and offer bigger incentives at the end of the period.
- Raffle: Like a normal raffle, your SDRs will get raffle tickets as they reach specific goals during your power hours. They’ll then be able to win a prize or incentive when their ticket is drawn. For this competition, you’ll typically use a larger prize and will track your SDRs’ performance over a longer period. This gives you the opportunity to increase their performance in the long term while also allowing them to reach short-term goals.
- Sales Poker: With this competition, your SDRs will earn cards out of a 52-card deck by reaching the goals you set for your power hours. At the end of the competition, the SDR with the best poker hand wins the incentive. This competition gives everyone on your team the opportunity to win the prize, so it’s ideal to increase your SDRs’ motivation and performance.
Keep in mind, though, that these are just some examples you can use. In fact, the possibilities are basically endless and, no matter what you choose, it’s certain that your SDRs will be engaged.
When they are, they’ll be more effective at prospecting and more productive, which means you’ll make more sales. It’s important to remember to change up the competition regularly so that it stays fresh and keeps them motivated.
As mentioned earlier, you need to set goals for every power hour. It’s also important to measure the success and your progress against these goals. Depending on your goals, the metrics by which you measure success will differ.
You’ll also need to choose the right metrics to measure success. For instance, as mentioned above, if you measure success by looking at the number of calls each SDR makes, it doesn’t show you how effective the power hour was. This is simply because anyone can make a number of calls in an hour, but only an exceptional SDR can set more appointments.
On the other hand, too stringent requirements for measuring success could have unwanted effects. For example, if you measure an SDRs success based on a metric that’s too difficult to achieve or control, it could end up being too stressful.
Considering the above, an extremely valuable metric is the number of appointments made in the power hour. This gives you a great idea of how your SDRs are performing. It does have some limitations, though.
For instance, just by looking at the number of appointments made, you can’t gauge how productive your SDRs actually are because you don’t have any deeper insights into how many prospects they contact and how long they speak to those prospects. In other words, you don’t get the full picture just by looking at the number of appointments set.
With that in mind, some other metrics you could consider to measure the success of your SDRs and your power hours are:
- Call-to-close ratio: With this metric, you’re able to see how many calls an SDR makes and how many appointments they make during these calls. This will give you greater insights into how they engage and pitch prospects. It’s important to remember that each industry varies in its call-to-close rates. Understanding your industry’s call-to-close rate ensures that you’re on the right path. If you’re not, uncover gaps in the process to boost your call-to-close rate.
- Key decision maker (KDM) pitched-to-appointment ratio: This metric takes the call-to-close ratio a step further and gives insights into how many KDMs your SDRs talk to and how many appointments they set during these calls. Like the metric mentioned above, this shows you how well your SDRs engage with KDMs. Here, a good ratio would be 2:1, or, for every two KDMs they pitch, they set one appointment.
- Show rate: Show rate is a vital metric to track. Most businesses should have a no show rate that’s less than 20%. If your no show rate is greater than 20%, there may be gaps in your process.
- Cost-to-acquisition ratio: This metric shows you how many sales you’re actually closing from your SDR team not only to justify its cost but also to grow the team. In other words, the cost-to-acquisition ratio shows you the overall contribution your SDRs are making to your business.
Keep in mind that these are some examples of important metrics to measure, but there are many others you could consider to measure success. Ultimately, the metrics you use will depend on your business’s specific needs and requirements and what goals you set for your power hours.
No matter which metric you choose, it’s important that you record your chosen metric for one or two weeks during power hours before you start measuring its effectiveness. This gives you a benchmark to measure your results against and enables you to see how well your power hours are working. If they’re not working as expected, it will show you what you can do to improve.
It’s no secret that competition in business is fierce. To stay on top and ensure continued success, you need to make more sales. In turn, you’ll need more sales opportunities, which requires that your SDRs be as productive and motivated as possible.
One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by implementing sales power hours. During these hours, your SDRs will focus solely on prospecting, cold-calling, or other lead generation activities. As a bonus, to make them even more productive, you can make these power hours more engaging with fun competitions.
They do require some planning, but they produce measurable results. Your sales reps will have more sales opportunities and you’ll have the chance to generate more revenue. Ultimately, you’ll reap the rewards if you plan and execute your power hours correctly.
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