When most people hear the phrase “on-call”, they likely think of doctors, or folks in the medical profession. But those of us in IT know there’s another on-call world — one where Operations & Development Teams alike are awakened at 2 am to a notification telling them their servers are crashing, where Sys Admins are working away at midnight because they got a page saying their website was down, and hopefully, a world where remediation can take place faster.


The Why

Time is of the essence for more than just IT teams, though. In fact, some would argue it’s equally as important that your Sales team have prompt responses.

Hubspot found that responding to queries within the hour they’re received generates 7 times as many conversations.

But according to the Harvard Business Review, only 37% of companies respond to leads within an hour. Why? All Business tells us it’s for these main reasons:

— The marketing automation system isn’t set up to get to a salesperson quickly.

— The salesperson isn’t logged into email when the lead comes in.

— There is no formal lead process for responding promptly.

To address these things at VictorOps, we put our Salespeople on-call. It’s not nearly as bad as it sounds, (after all, we are the company that makes on-call suck less) and better yet: it works.

The How

Here’s how we do it, and some things you might want to consider as well:

Pick the types of queries you’d like to be notified on. For us, anyone requesting a demo on our website or contacting the Sales team sends the on-call rep a page via their chosen method (reps can pick set their own personal paging policy in VictorOps).  You’ll likely not want to be paged when someone simply downloads a piece of content but would like to respond more promptly to say, someone that has a pricing inquiry.

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Set up your on-call schedule. This can be done by having reps rotate days, weeks, nights, weekends, etc. For our team, we have 5 on-call reps. We each take one day of the week and rotate nights and weekends. This way, at most, we’re only likely to be woken up one or two nights a week.

Create escalations. If the first person doesn’t respond within 15 minutes, we escalate to the next person. You can even escalate to the entire team if you’d like, just to *really* make sure that the alert gets to a qualified person.

Know the difference between Acknowledging a page and Resolving the page. Acknowledging stops the paging for an inquiry and tells the team, “Hey, I’ve got this one.” Once you’ve responded, mark the inquiry as resolved. This lets your team know who is working on it, and if anyone ever Acknowledges but forgets to Resolve (respond to) an inquiry, it will remain in a queue that the entire team can see, making it easier for someone to catch.

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The Results

After implementing on-call for our team here at VictorOps, we jumped to converting 70% of inquiries into product demonstrations. Not bad.

There was also an unintended result of this new way of responding to leads: empathy. Now that Sales is getting paged at 2am in the morning, we have a better idea of how our customer feels while using our product. Walking in the shoes of our customer helps us to know them and understand their pain points. It ensures that we clearly address those pain points and ended up creating a more robust sales pipeline.

Thoughts? How would your sales team handle going on-call?