How do you measure the performance of your outbound sales reps?

Last week, I talked about how to measure the performance of your national account reps who manage a group of assigned accounts.  This week, I would like to talk about how you might evaluation your outbound telesales reps who are working on marketing initiated call programs.   

Typically, these reps works 2-4 call programs at once.   Working several programs/offers/files helps ease the boredom and ensures enough names for each calling time zone.

Marketing, hopefully in concert with the circulation plan, is developing the supporting or resulting call programs based on what overall marketing activities are taking place.  Calling is just one more arrow in the quiver of marketing, albeit it an expensive one.   Often mailings will “skim off” the easy orders and call programs are used to go after the more difficult orders.  (Depending on your offer, you should consider, or ideally, test when to begin calling to achieve the best ROI..)

Telesales reps should be evaluated on the following criteria.

  • Talk time versus paid time. (If they are not talking, they are not selling.)
  • Dials, connects, presentations, sales.
  • 14-day sales from accounts called.
  • Call quality, product/offer knowledge, sales skills (Obtained from monitoring.)
  • File penetration, number of contacts skipped. (if your system even allows that)
  • Call disposition reasons
  • Returns
  • Complaints and compliments.
  • Team effectiveness or contribution.
  • Attendance, tardiness, supervision required.
  • Learning performance (each training session should contain a test.)
  • Ability to provide useful feedback on programs, products, customers.
  • Alternative program objectives. (Not all calling programs are measured by sales, other objectives such as retention, database update; market research, etc. are common.)

As anyone who manages outbound call centers knows, motivation is key to keeping happy, productive reps.  Negativity and turnover are killers.  Training costs for new hires are high.  Good reps, especially ones that set the example for the team, need to be valued, rewarded and retained.   

Compensation is often secondary to recognition, but such reps earn salary, commission and incentives.   Commissions are often modest.  Incentives are used to create interest and motivation in the face of rejection. 

The best call programs are a balance between what needs to be sold/done and what can be sold/done and come when marketing and sales work closely together with shared ownership of results.   Also, in today’s voice mail world where a 15% presentation to dial rate is the norm, being able to sell via voice mail with a follow up email is key.

Have feedback or a question?   Email me at

Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ or (954) 383-5221

Comments or questions are welcome.

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