This is Part 1 of a 2 part blog post by Nigel Edelshain
By now you’ve probably seen the statistic from CSO Insights that shows 48% of sales people missed their quota in 2009.
The percentage of sales people missing their number increased over 2008. Now I, for one, would not be surprised if this number actually increases in 2010 even though the economy has improved a bit.
I would not be surprised if this number gets worse because I thoroughly believe the miss is NOT just a function of the economy. I believe there’s something far more fundamental going on: our customer has changed their behavior. Consider that recent Forrester research showed that 91% of B2B IT buyers are now involved in social media at least as “spectators”.
There’s a new sales game in town. In this new game sales people need to align their selling to the new way customers buy. In 2011 it will become clearer that sales people that master this new game are poised to become “linchpins.” And that those that don’t are set to become cogs in someone else’s factory. You know who is paid more – a lot more.
Customers Have Changed
Your customers are spending more-and-more time online. They’re searching on Google for information and their talking to each other on social networks.
But where are we sales people? Most have not yet caught up. Consider that research released last week by OgilvyOne (one of the world’s largest ad agencies) showed that sixty-eight percent of sales professionals say they believed that the selling process is changing faster than their own organizations are adapting to it.
What’s Your Brand?
The game is getting personal. In the past your customers only had your company website to look at, now they have social networks. You hear that “tap-tap” sound on the other end of your phone line? That’s your prospect searching for your Linkedin page. We humans are curious. We want to know exactly who we’re talking to. We’d much rather get the true skinny on you than read a boring sanitized website.
And if you don’t show up on Linkedin then we’re left wondering: who are you? Why aren’t you there? Are you hiding something? Or are you just way behind-the-times? You lose the chance to build trust either way.
It’s Broke so Let’s Do More
Cold calling working great for you? Is 1 in 200 an acceptable rate of success metric for what you need to get done to be a rock star in 2011?
That’s the kind of conversion we’re seeing from multiple sources for number of dials to number of meetings. It’s taking folks 20 dials just to get a relevant decision-maker on the phone. Then if you get 1in 10 of those to convert to a meeting then you’ve got 200 calls for every one meeting.
But there are ways to change those metrics significantly and the tools to help you do that are social media and Sales 2.0. Now it’s not the tools that change the outcome it’s YOU. By learning those tools and integrating them into your prospecting, you can dramatically alter your results.
Consider integrating trigger events into your cold calling can increase your success 3-5 x according to authors Craig Elias and Tibor Shanto. The tools are out there now to help you monitor these trigger events and gain that edge. Then plug in the “big daddy” of them all: referrals and our data shows you’re up 8 x at least in your prospecting results.
Big, big improvements and something that actually makes cold calling fun because you experience success and connect with people way more frequently than the old ways allow.
In-Person Calls: Do your Homework
A recent IDC study revealed only one out of six sales professionals were “extremely prepared” for an initial meeting with a customer. 57 percent were either not or only somewhat prepared.
You’ve got more information available to you via the Internet than ever before. There’s really no excuse for not being prepared for you sales calls (meetings). Showing up and “winging it” is just not acceptable to the vast majority of B2B customers out there. They know you can do your homework so they expect you to do so. Otherwise you could be in for a quick meeting.
Match your research time to the importance of the opportunity. As a rule-of-thumb, I’d expect to spend at least one hour preparing for a fairly important one hour sales call, half an hour for a half hour meeting etc. – increase or decrease to taste. But do do your homework.
Tune in tomorrow for Part II!
For more information on my friend Nigel Edelshain please visit his site http://www.sales2.com/ and while you are there, make sure you check out his upcoming event “Social Selling Bootcamp” and take advantage of the hefty December discount. And just for the heck of it, stop by his Linkedin Group Sales 2.0