The JF Guest Author Spot
We are keen on data here at Sales 2.0. In our telesales operation we recently reviewed conversion data for some of our projects. From that analysis I can reveal to you today that:
The product you sell influences your prospecting outcomes - a lot!
OK so that's intuitively extra-obvious. But the way management acts in most companies you would think everything, including a "me-too" product in a very competitive market, could be overcome by the sales force. I've heard countless conversations in senior management meetings and with sales people themselves that imply the sales people are at fault in selling such-and-such a product. I don't think so.
Here's some real world data (and yes, some of it makes us look good and some of it less so, but this is perception as I hope you will see below) Ratio 1: we looked at the number of dials our inside sales people are making to the number of conversations they are having and, Ratio 2: the number of conversations they are having to the number of appointments we could set for outside reps.
Here's what we found "Ratio 1″, number of dials to conversations, is remarkably consistent, it ranges from 5-15 but the broad average is 10. So when prospecting to people you don't know ("cold calling" but I have an issue with that phrase) it takes us an average of 10 dials of the phone to speak to a decision-maker/executive (does not include speaking to assistants or others).
This data in itself can spawn a whole discussion, "cold calling does not work" or "cold calling does work" - sort of depends which "party" you belong to. But my belief is this number is going to come out approximately the same for everyone who uses basically this same approach since it's a function of the buyer not the seller (it's about how busy and screened we all are today).
Let's look at "Ratio 2″, number of conversations to appointments (aka moving the sales process forward). Unlike "Ratio 1″ this number varies widely. For some projects we've seen this number as low as three (3) at the other extreme we've seen this number as high as forty (40) - big difference. And big (big) difference in the happiness of us and our clients (or if you work in an internal inside sales team, or a team doing your own prospecting, your CEO).
OK, so what was the difference in the projects. Did we do a good job on the projects where "Ratio 2″ was good and a lousy job where "Ratio 2″ was not so attractive? Did we just have "rock stars" on some projects and "losers" on others? No. We had similar people on each team and we constantly try to improve our processes and results.
Taking a more scientific approach (without the usual emotion attached to sales results) I believe the data shows the main variable in all this was the product. In the cases where we were achieving some great results the products are truly interesting to it's market and at the other extreme the products are in a crowded market and their value propositions are not clearly over-and-above their competition.
Of course, there are ways to improve sales results of even me-too products in crowded markets (we talk about them all the time on this website) through smart sales and marketing strategies but ultimately all firms should realize buyers are smart and sales people are not slackers.
Not every product is created equal. Some products are more equal than others.
Ed: Shades of "Animal Farm"
Nigel Edelshain is CEO of Sales 2.0
Companies use Sales 2.0's telesales and consulting services to take their sales to the next level, typically boosting results 3 - 10 times.
The company applies the latest Sales 2.0 tools and techniques in its telesales operation and shares resulting breakthroughs in sales methodology with clients through its consulting practice.
Sales 2.0 operates a website that is dedicated to sharing the latest information on Sales 2.0 thinking with sales professionals everywhere as part of the company's broader mission is to take the sales profession to the next level.
Prior to starting Sales 2.0, Nigel sold millions of dollars of technology solutions to major Fortune 500 firms for technology services companies in the New York area. He was head of sales for the financial services industry for a 600-person system integrator called Starpoint Solutions and worked as an account executive for Platinum Technology (now CA).
Nigel is the chairman of the Wharton Business School Club of New York - the School's largest alumni association. Nigel graduated from Wharton's MBA program in 1993 and has an undergraduate degree in Microelectronics (chip design) from Edinburgh University.
Visit Nigel 's website: www.sales2.com
Today's News: Fellow Top Sales Experts, Clayton Shold and Kelley Robertson are in conversation over at Salesopedia and they are discussing "The Fear Factor"- you can catch the short interview by clicking the box below.
OK, yesterday I promised you some really exciting news?
I am one of the exclusive authors/speakers/trainers/coaches for a company called CanDoGo that delivers concise advice for sales, personal development, leadership and motivation over the Web. CanDoGo has just launched a brand-new site with thousands of free pieces of advice.
Now is a really important time to hone your skills and CanDoGo's advice can help you adapt and succeed. I am proud to be part of CanDoGo's world-renowned experts and I encourage you to check out www.candogo.com
I can also tell you that CanDoGo will be one of our strategic partners, when we re-launch TSE 2.0 on December 2nd.
Tomorrow:"Our style of negotiation will be influenced by the style of the other party. If both sides are adversarial; there will be little trust between the two parties, however, if one side decides to be co-operative, there is a danger the other side will use this apparent sign of weakness to their advantage....." Be sure to join me as we look to wrap up the week strongly.
Link to original post