Why your sales people miss out on 80% of sales opportunities

In the B2B world, it is estimated that 90% of companies aren’t actually in a buying cycle when we first contact them.(Source: Selling is Dead)

  1. 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
  2. 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop
  3. 12% of sales people only make three contacts and stop
  4. only 10% of sales people make more than three contacts
  5. 2% of sales are made on the first contact
  6. 3% of sales are made on the second contact
  7. 5% of sales are made on the third contact
  8. 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
  9. 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact

According to the National Sales Executive Association, 80% of sales are made from the 5th to the 12th contact (an average of eight contacts).

The problem is that according to the statistics, only 52% of sales people follow up at least twice. What’s worse is that less than 25% of sales people will make a second contact. Worse still is that 12% of the sales population will make three contacts before they stop. The scary statistic for most sales managers is that less than 10% of all sales people will make more than 3 calls.

Here are 3 things you can do right away to get your sales teams numbers up.

1. Systematize your post initial sales call follow up process. get a hold of the book eMarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale by Ardath Albee. This terrific book is a  comprehensive guide to your marketing to drive decisions to buy in your companies  favor.This is  a great resource for you to support your sales people and increase their willingness to follow up more often.

2. Do your any of your salespeople struggle with call reluctance? If so write back to me at ians@iansegail.com and I will send you my free report on how to deal with sales people who are afflicted with this crippling disease.

3. Coach your sales people in the field.

Think about it….If you were going to take your car on a long journey, wouldn’t it be advisable to first take it in for a check-up and service beforehand? Of course!

Well the same theory applies to your salespeople. One of the first place I begin any sales improvement intervention is to check the attitude and aptitude of the team.In this case specifically their reluctance to make more than sales 3 calls.

If you were a football coach, this would be easy. You would simply watch videos of each individual’s most recent performances. You would most likely want to view behavioural evidence of what you have to work with.

Well…assessing a team of salespeople requires a similar approach. The big difference obviously being that you cannot video tape their performances in the field. Nevertheless,… you can conduct an in-filed assessment with them. In other words you can do joint sales calls with them, which you probably already do right? The big difference with in this case is that your role is strictly to observe behaviour and not to sell.NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO RESCUE THEM!

As sales managers when we typically conduct joint sales calls with our sales people, our primary purpose is to support the salesperson to move the sales opportunity forward in some way. This being the case is it any wonder we find ourselves jumping in and rescuing our people when they start floundering. We just can help ourselves.

However, when you set a goal to observe behaviour only, the whole sales visit takes on a different complexion. Now you are in research mode as opposed to sales mode. Your goal here is to uncover the real reason why they are choosing not to follow up.

The bottom line is this. Every sales call your people make costs your organization money. Every time your sales people don’t follow up or you don’t have a system to complete the follow up for them… you are pouring good money down the drain!

What are you doing today to ensure the success of your salespeople tomorrow?



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