Let’s review a situation which happens all too often.
eti has confirmed the lead as a genuine B2B Sales Opportunity meeting our client’s criteria.
We have held serious phone discussions with the decision maker (dm) and succeeded in probing for the pain and obtaining other useful business intelligence to help the sales person convert the lead into a New Customer. Moreover the dm has agreed to an appointment for the sales rep to make his/her presentation. (Generally regarded as being in ‘ready-to-buy’ mode, except when the dm sees the presentation filling an educational need.)
So what should be the outcome after the sales person takes over?
- The best result of course is a sale.
- Or when the dm gives the sales person an introductory order for the product or service.
- Often times however, the dm may delay a final decision for reasons best known to himself. In which case follow up nurturing of the lead should be instituted. (We regard ourselves at eti as nurturing specialists.)
- Sometimes unfortunately, the response may be “thanks, but no thanks”. And we may or may not get to know the real reason why.
Are Your Leads Being Abused?
The successful handling of B2B sales leads isn’t simple because there are many variations on a theme.
Researchers for instance continue to report that sales leads are still being abused by a section of the selling community. Many valid leads are not being followed up even though they have been identified as worthy and genuine prospects during the lead qualification process.
Apparently many a salesperson looks at lead qualification reports somewhat derisively. And decide, somewhat arrogantly, which leads deserves their follow up attention - or otherwise. It boggles the mind that this can happen even when an appointment has actually been set.
Have you heard similar remarks?
- “Well I got the lead … read the transcript and determined there was no potential so I threw it away.”
- “Yes – I went on the appointment and it was a waste of my time.”
- “Yes – I got the lead but decided to call ahead. When the guy came on the phone he told me he wasn’t interested.”
- “I was traveling so I could not keep the appointment.”
- “I never got the lead.”
- And worst of all – “The opportunity was not qualified.
Let me be the first to admit that “you can’t win them all”. But that’s only valid when the sales person has done his hand-on-heart best to make the sale.
Our client has a stake in every lead because new customers are a necessity not a luxury. And because each qualified lead represents a significant cost. Salespersons should be all the more accountable for each opportunity. They should not be permitted to blow them away. Sales managers need to be harder on those who don’t keep appointments to present.