Motivating Salespeople to Make Prospecting Calls

by | Feb 8, 2017

Getting salespeople to make their prospecting calls and getting salespeople to use the CRM are probably the two of the biggest challenges faced by a sales leader/manager.

Ironically, the two objectives go hand in hand.  You can’t reach your sales goals without consistent prospecting, and you can’t be sure that the prospecting calls are getting made without consistent use of the CRM by the salespeople.  Thankfully, overcoming this challenge is not as difficult as most people make it out to be!

Communication First

In the early stages of implementing a CRM solution, many managers make the mistake of accepting excuses far too often.  This sows the seeds of failure for the CRM implementation, hitting your prospecting goals, and therefore your sales goals.

Take the following scenario as an example:

Sales Manager: “I see you only made 20 prospecting calls this week, Jane.”

Jane: “No, I made closer to 50, but I had trouble logging them in the CRM because I couldn’t figure out the so and so…” or “I made 25 or so from my car and just haven’t logged them in yet.”

As a former salesperson, the manager can sympathize and of course, you don’t want to call the salesperson a liar without clear evidence.  You have now indirectly let them know they can get away with making excuses.

The best policy is the “If it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.”  That way, the salesperson understands that the responsibility is theirs to ensure things are documented properly.  Excuses will not be accepted.

Create dashboards that allow the manage to see the performance of all salespeople side by side.

Manager Dashboard of Prospecting Calls

Or, let the entire sales team see the same thing so that they can compete with each other!

At a minimum, be sure each salesperson can easily track their own performance at a glance.

prospecting calls

Or, perhaps allow the salespeople see themselves compared to their immediate peers or team.

Compare 2 salespeoples prospecting calls

Goal Setting and CRM

Now, establish a goal for prospecting calls by working backwards from your sales goals.


  • $100k in sales needed, is an average of 10 sales opportunities closed each month.
  • It takes 20 open qualified sales opportunities to close 10.
  • It takes 40 presentations to open 20 good sales opportunities.
  • It takes 120 prospecting calls to schedule 40 presentations.
    It takes 360 dials to have 120 prospecting calls (meaning conversations with decision makers).

Now you and the salesperson are clear:  Dial the phone to reach decision makers 360 times a month and talk to 120 decision makers and you’ll hit your goals.

Break that down to daily and weekly goals and track them in the CRM.

Carrot and Stick

Come up with rewards and consequences for performing and under-performing.  In many top sales organizations, salespeople earn more of their compensation from hitting these activity goals than they do from actual commissions on sales.  This truly focuses the team on using the CRM and making the all important prospecting calls.  Recognize top performers and reward those that are hitting their goals vocally, often and tangibly.  If possible, only pull out the consequences in extreme situations.

If a salesperson isn’t hitting their prospecting goals for a week, warn them.  The second week, if things don’t improve, warn them sternly and let them know that the consequence is coming.  If things stay the same, reduce territory, leads, reduce commission or show them the door.

Ensuring you have the visibility into prospecting behavior allows sales managers to identify problems before it’s too late to address them.