Hey CEOs! Your Sales People Are Losing You Money




  • October 10, 2016

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    First things first. I’ve done the math on this, and each of your sales people is losing you money – and you’re not helping them.


    While closing deals is often the most emphasised part of selling, you never get this opportunity without first landing appointments.


    One of the mainstays of any business is getting appointments with influential people in an organisation.


    Notice I didn’t say the “right” person, or the “decision maker”, that will come with time. It is rare you can call the CEO, CIO or CFO and get an appointment on the back of a cold call.


    Most businesses today have a range of people involved with any purchase, particularly those in the technology sector. Unless you are very skilled at getting in to see the “right” people, your focus should be on getting in the front door and moving up the value chain.


    You have one objective and one objective only – to get your prospect at ease as quickly as possible in order to schedule an appointment with them.


    Research and Prepare


    Cold calling may seem like a mundane task, and often it can be. Let’s be honest here, no sales person likes making cold calls.


    Sales people enjoy building relationships and essentially want to close deals. That’s what you pay them for, right!


    So think about this for a moment:


    Your company’s reputation is on the line each and every time someone makes a bad call.


    And you’ll do well to find me a sales person who prefers making cold calling over closing deals! Check out the Pros & Cons section from this feedback from BDM’s:


    Source: Feedback from Business Development Managers via Payscale.com

    Source: Feedback from Business Development Managers via Payscale.com


    Sales people, you must be in the right frame of mind and understand the market you are calling into.


    Calling the wrong people with the wrong mindset and faulty information won’t get you appointments. If you haven’t done your research properly, you can forget about it. Savvy buyers will know you are simply looking to sell something.


    Research and preparation is a necessary starting point for efficient appointment setting. You need to call on people that have a genuine need or preference for the solutions you offer and be able to demonstrate value if you are asked.


    Part of your preparation should be understanding objections and ensuring you have a logical set of steps to help the prospect overcome their own objections.


    Because objections are good. You should welcome them. They allow you assist the buyer down a path that can help them overcome their objection.


    Look at it this way: Which of these comments would you rather hear? “I’m not sure your solution can help us reduce our lead times for project delivery” or “Sure, send me on some information”.


    Research the marketplace, align your prospecting efforts with the solutions your company provides and develop a clear profile of the audience you need to go after.


    If your role is in sales management, coach your reps to make calls with the intent of helping targeted prospects with a need.


    As someone who has been on the receiving end of cold calls (yes, I get them too!), there is nothing worse than a sales person who is not prepared for questions.


    Stop Selling!


    Yes, you did read that correctly.


    Salespeople have a natural inclination to want to sell a product when interacting with a potential buyer. Nobody wants to have something pushed upon them.


    Instead, appointment setting calls are designed to intrigue a prospect enough to get a face-to-face meeting. Your goal is to set an appointment, not sell them something. (Or as in the case of my new friend John, a demonstration of the service.)


    By calling with a genuine desire to help, it is easier for salespeople not to pressure prospects.


    Don’t force the issue. Instead, reps should call with a sincere belief that they are trying to help a prospect out of a situation or predicament. This helpful tone is less likely to offend buyers or put them on guard.


    Remember, your goal is to arrange a meeting so don’t lose focus of that. Don’t be shy about getting to the point and asking for some time to introduce how your company has helped similar organisations. Just make sure you have your facts & figures correct.


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    How Sales People Are Losing You Money


    A simple but often effective way to enhance your appointment setting efficiency is to turn this role over to an outside firm. Many sales reps dread cold calling above most other tasks.


    Let them focus on the selling processes they relish to close more deals and turn appointment setting over to experts in this area.


    Firms that specialise in appointment setting services usually have advanced processes, highly experienced staff, and technology tools to generate high-quality appointments.


    Let’s look at it logically. And for the sake of simplicity, I’ve purposefully left out the additional costs associated with having someone on your payroll.


    According to Glassdoor the average Business Development Manager salary per annum is



    • Dublin is €44,875k
    • London £43,719k
    • San Francisco $ 97,067
    • New York $ 105,218.

    Let’s assume that your sales person spends (a very conservative) 2 hours per day researching and cold calling for new business and prospects.


    That’s 10 hours a week, which is 40 hours per month.


    So over the course of a year, each of your sales people spends a minimum of 480 hours just looking for new prospects.


    If we take it that they work 8 hours a day, that is 60 working days prospecting.


    And if there are 20 working days in each month, you’ve just lost a whole quarter to each sales person looking for leads and not closing any sales!



    To put it another way, your sales people LOSE 3 months of closing new deals because they are too busy looking for new leads, costing you a minimum of €11,250, £10,929, $ 24,266, or $ 26,304 respectively. And that is per person!


    Wrap Up


    We all understand that if you can’t get an appointment, you can’t make a sale.


    Therefore, it follows that salespeople need to spend adequate time researching and preparing for prospecting calls.


    However, in spending a lot of their time doing this “top of funnel” activity they are losing out on buyers who may be closer to making a purchasing decision.


    Salespeople are damn good at what they do – sales. So recognise that, and let them do what you pay them to do. Stop tying them down by asking them to focus on areas that negatively impact your bottom line.


    Not only is it costing you money to carry on with this method, you are also losing potential clients to your competitors because of it.

    Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community

    Author: Will Humphries


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