I’ve been haunted by a salesman for the last 5 weeks. He keeps calling me on the phone, sending text messages and emails. He didn’t come knocking on my doors yet, but he’s been persistent about it. This seems to be his goal since he believes that he only needs an hour of my attention to show me something that will certainly change my life. On the other hand, I’m not at all interested in spending an hour of my time until I know exactly which problem this will help me solve. I won’t reveal the name of this company that focuses on persistence and rigorously follows outbound marketing principles, since I don’t want to answer emails from offended managers. The young salesman and his boss will certainly recognize themselves in this text if they read it.
I’ll wait another half an hour. If she isn’t here in an hour, I’ll leave in two.
This reminds me of a high school kid that was infatuated with a girl he met at his cousin’s birthday party. He got her phone number and email address from his cousin after the party and was set to work the lead. Since she didn’t respond to his email, he called her after two days, but the conversation was over quickly, because she was “at the cash register in a supermarket”, and she told him she’d call him later. Since she didn’t return the call, he called her again the next day. She didn’t answer even though the phone was ringing for a long time. He decided to send a text message to let her know that he called her and that he wanted to talk to her again. She didn’t answer for two days, so he was pondering whether he should send an email or text message or maybe even try calling her again.
We all know that the young man won’t be any closer to his goal with an additional call. We’re fully aware that he should do something that draws her interest before calling her. If he doesn’t move on that front, there’s no use in trying to reach her in other ways. This is how I understand sales.
If you think that your sales process and CRM system are great because your sellers don’t lose their grip on any of their leads, think about the problems of this young man. Your offer will only interest those who are aware of their need and like your approach.
Buyers used to be afraid of sales people. Now it’s the other way around.
I keep saying that the role of sales people has drastically changed because of the internet and the digitalization that comes from the mobile revolution. Salespeople used to be the ones with all the information about the products, and the buyers mostly knew only what they heard from them. The salesperson was a key information source for the buyer and some business deals could be made because the buyer wasn’t educated enough.Committed buyers will find their own information. They no longer need salespeople for that. Click To Tweet
It’s just the opposite today. Manipulating uninformed buyers is getting harder and harder. Businesses that prey on uninformed customers are failing if they didn’t fail already. Committed buyers will find their own information. They will check all the information that is available online, analyze it, and compare different sources or use experiences of their friends on different social networks. Language is the only hurdle for potential buyers, since information is globally available and only a click away. It often happens that buyers are more familiar with the product (and competing products) than the salespeople they meet at the end of their customer journey. We read about our condition before visiting our doctor, read about people before we decide to go on a date… We’re used to the fact that almost everything we need to know is available online.
A deal requires a certain amount of fondness on both sides.
The digital transformation that is required by the new economy changed the relationship between sales and marketing. Educating the buyer, following the customer journey and adapting the online communication to individuals is the job of the marketing department nowadays. Marketing automation enables you to monitor every visitor that shows interest in your online content. Their digital trail shows you what they’re interested in and how interested they are. This enables you to predict the stage of their customer journey and see what they need (based on statistics of previous buyers) to face their fears and decide to contact you and buy from you.
A Lead Score tells us how interesting the offer is to your lead.
To simplify the overview of buying readiness for individual buyers, we assign points for activities of every visitor. The cumulative total of these points is called the Lead Score which is a relatively good indicator of our attractiveness as a provider. We also use an Engagement Score which eliminates visitors who just happen to be researching for their term papers or unemployed individuals who just want to educate themselves, but explaining the Engagement Score would require more words than most readers of our blog are prepared to read.
A Lead Grade tells us how interesting the lead is to the provider.
A more important realization is that advanced marketing automation systems offer the possibility to evaluate the buyer according to the data that visitors offer online. Let’s say that FrodX is only interested in business buyers with a larger sales team, product or service that requires a long and well-considered purchasing process, and who act like our previous customers when studying our content. Such ranking of our leads is called Lead Grade (lately it’s been called Predictive Lead Score).
Why is lead selection required?
The more aggressive your marketing is, the more bad leads it acquires which increases the cost of acquiring new customers. Unfortunately, the intensity of marketing activities does not increase sales linearly, the growth of sales is logarithmic. This is why extremely active marketing can kill sales if they use old lead qualification methods.A business deal can only be made if you’re interested in the customer and vice versa. Click To Tweet
Let me explain with an example. A car dealership will not profit if it’s full of people who can’t afford to buy their cars. The salespeople will lose time dealing with them and fail to notice proper leads. This is why companies must learn to recognize which people who show interest are interesting to them. I call it defining their own sweet spot. A business deal can only be made with customers who find me interesting while my offer is interesting and reachable to them.
If you think I haven’t called you because you’re not interesting enough for FrodX, I would like to put your mind at ease. I am the only salesman in our company and I can only handle two quality sales meetings every week. I could barely even handle all the invitations in the last year and a half. But it’s also true that it’s much easier to write a blog post than to bother people over the phone. Whether I want to or not, I think about my high school years and all the girls I called too many times.
Ps. If you need inspiration for drawing customer interest instead of betting on persistence, I recommend you read this manual.