Tag Archives: marketing

Sales Rant – Why can't your company handle an onbound query from a prospective buyer?

16 Oct

I called a division of Acme Industrial [name changed to protect the guilty] a week ago and asked to speak to someone in sales as I had some questions.   The service runs about $7500-12,000 per year, not an insubstantial amount of investment. The phone system asked me to press 1 if I wanted to speak to someone who “would be happy to answer your questions about our services.” The person I got didn’t know anything about the product at all, and said someone would call me back.  Already a bad precedent, I wonder how the sales rep covering my territory would feel about their inside team dropping the ball.

A week goes by. A week!

SalesRant

So I call back today and go thru the menu prompts again and again I’m told I’ll be transferred to someone who “would be happy to answer your questions about our services.” When they did answer, they said that they have no record of my call last week. They put me on hold for 4 minutes. They come back on the line and ask me for the same contact information I provided a week earlier. Didn’t ask any qualifying questions, curiously, like budget, timeframe, or even what 2-3 top questions I wanted answered. Said “someone will call you back.” When I asked when I would hear from them or who would call me, the rep didn’t know. I pointed out it had been a week and I wanted this information as soon as possible so I could make a final decision – would I get a call back today? “I’ll ask them to call you sooner rather than later.”

By contrast, their competitor took my call live on the first time I called them, answered my questions reasonably well, and sent me email today to follow up.

What company can afford to put themselves in this situation? How many other calls did they handle this way? Sales live by the numbers, but this team isn’t doing themselves any good. And with marketers scrambling to justify their existence and their budgets based on closed leads, its clear that getting the metrics right is only part of the equation. What does this experience communicate to me as a prospective buyer about what it may be like to work with these guys? I felt a lack of accountability, lack of concern for me as a customer, and a very low service experience.   Guess who’s product I purchased?  And that Acme Industrial sales rep handling my territory never even knew what they lost.

Thanks to Malay Pharma Sales Rep Rant  for the picture.
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Make It Relevant

17 Feb

Make it relevant

I’m a big fan of Kevin Sasser’s The Sales Wars blog.  He  must be really busy in his day job because he’s not posted in almost 2 months.  Well, my wait is over and as usual, I learned something and laughed at the same time.

Definitely read the full blog post.  After the funny analogy, Kevin writes about a colleague who is putting together an agenda for marketing to update the sales team.  The standard agenda is suggested:

  • Our company overview
  • What we see happening in the industry
  • Our “vision”
  • Our unique approach

To which Kevin figuratively sticks his fingers in his mouth at the thought of listening to all that.  What struck me is that the sales team is probably doing the same thing to the prospect!  You are polite while marketing pitches you but you’re secretly daydreaming or reading your BlackBerry under the table.  Wanna bet your prospect is doing the same as  you pitch?  Kevin suggested the following agenda for marketing.  I suggest you follow the same agenda when selling to prospects:

  • Why you are in my office taking up my time
  • My problem that you can solve for me
  • How you will solve the problem in clear, concise, concrete terms
  • The benefit that you will deliver to me that your competitor can’t

As I get reminded at home, it’s not about me, it’s about what’s important to them!

Recession Proof Marketing

13 Mar

After reading Joanne’s post yesterday about recession proof selling, I saw this posting about recession proof marketing. Uh oh, it looks like almost everyone is agreeing we’re headed into a recession. (Unless you’re part of the tech industry in Boston, but I digress.)

Brian and Joanne both agree that one of the key areas to focus when economic times are tough is lead generation. Joanne gives her 5 tips for salespeople to improve lead generation through referrals. Brian tells marketers to, “…direct their budgets away from traditional awareness building campaigns that quickly eat up budget and instead expand and optimize lead generation programs that bring measurable results.” And he points to an IDC study that says that 80% of marketing expenditures on lead generation and collateral are wasted because the leads are ignored by sales people.

The Marketing department in a recession needs to focus on those tasks that generate valuable leads for the sales reps. So valuable that these leads are equal in value to the sales rep’s own lead generation through referrals.

Actually, marketing’s lead generation programs should be doing that even when times are booming!