One of the questions most sales representatives ask during a hiring interview is “Do you provide me with leads or is this a cold calling sales job?” Since cold calling is a relic of the past except for selling to very small family owned businesses where it is possible to just walk in and make a “pitch” to the owner, most companies budget extensively to generate inquiries for their sales people to contact.
In working with many sales organizations throughout the country, I have observed a great discrepancy between what most salespeople consider to be a valid inquiry because of completely bogus reasons like:
I contacted this lead two years ago and they were not interested.
This company is not really the kind of company to which we sell.
I met their sales manager at a trade show last year and he was a real dunce
They don’t use our product.
And this list goes on. What most sales people really want is for customers to call them so they don’t have to hunt for them. They want orders.
Now here is the really strange part. Most sales managers never review the leads they give their sales people with them or hold them accountable for contacting the inquiries.
Ask most sales managers how many leads they generated at the last trade show they attended and they will pull out a drawer full of them that haven’t even been contacted.
Marketing and senior management are told that the trade show was a huge success because they met so many cool people who they will be following up with. Strangely, they don’t ask how many were received, how many were contacted, how many appointments have been scheduled with them, and most importantly, where they are in the pipeline.
The truth is that leads generated at trade shows are not even tracked to determine if they were good leads or not.
What is the answer to this common sales problem? The answer is that 80% of the sales people are going to lose their jobs within the next five years. The only salespeople of any value will be extremely talented top producing sales people who go after new business with an attitude that leads are a valuable way to begin a relationship with a company.
Top Producers know that leads are gold and have to be mined. So, they dig in and refine the opportunity.
The Future of Sales is already enabling savvy marketers to develop leads that have been ‘vetted’ and determined to be valuable. Inbound lead generation is providing inquiries from buyers who want to know more about the company and its products and services. Those leads are funneled by computerized algorithms to the best qualified representative to handle that lead. Those same systems will follow-up with the representative to determine action taken and reports will be given to marketing and sales management that indicate how well the leads are being handled by the representative. Top sales representatives will embrace this because it will free them from time consuming data entry tasks so they can focus more on relationships.
Mediocre representatives will either be forced out or put into other more specialized areas that do not require talented sales people such customer service representatives, account management, data entry, appointment setters, and sales administration.
The Future of Sales will be bright Future for Talented Sales People.
© 2016 | Harrison R. Greene | All Rights Reserved
Harrison R. Greene helps sales organizations and their representatives prepare for the Future of Sales. 508-400-6193 | Harrison@UniqueSellingSystems.com