By Pat Hinds
Recently, I was at a friend’s house for a barbecue and we were discussing sales strategy over a beer and plate of nachos. My friend is an experienced sales person and sales manager; at the same time, he is an expert in the oil & gas industry and understands the concept of vertical selling. We were discussing the challenges of the economic downturn and the impact it is having on salespersons’ selling approach. During the conversation he made reference to a sales person who is currently working for him; this individual spends a considerable amount of his time doing analysis of ROI and the financial impact of the customer buying decision. In the opinion of my friend, however, he was not spending enough time on the phone. My friend said to me, “all the analysis is fine, but eventually you have to pick-up the phone and call somebody; customers want to buy from you, all you need to do is call them.”
This comment made me reflect on what I am trying to achieve at POIM; my goal is to help companies capture market share in strategic vertical markets. We do this by using market research and market share goal setting; then we take this information and integrate it into the customer CRM, solution selling and marketing best practices. The POIM process is built on information gathering and this is similar to my friend’s salesperson who is doing the ROI work; nevertheless, it is important to remember the reason for the activity is to prepare the sales rep so he can pick-up the phone and make a phone call into a customer.
I agree with my friend that in this market you need to pick-up the phone and make calls, but the adjustments need to be made on who the sales rep is calling to reflect the changes of the targeted account. Sales reps need to be willing to work an organization deep and wide to make sales progress in the current economic climate. Listed below are three key drivers why sales reps need to increase calling activity into strategic accounts in a difficult economic environment:
1. Companies need sales, but if the sales are slow they need to know when the sales are going to pick-up again allowing them to manage cost and expectations while the market recovers.
2. Sales reps need to predict when a companies budget is coming back on-line; then they can put themselves in a position to ensure they get the order. Getting companies to spend money in a tough market often requires stimulus; you need to ensure you are the company involved in the negotiation process once the spending gets started. Do not wait to hear your competitors put a deal together while you were waiting for the phone to ring.
3. In this economic environment companies will emerge with different priorities; you need to make sure these adjustments are made and the sales rep and your companies products are aligned with the target companies new direction.
It is key that as a sales rep you have the information you require to prepare yourself to make targeted and relevant sales calls into your targeted accounts; don’t forget the simple fact that all the prep work is for one important reason – to allow you to make more calls. So pick up the phone, somebody wants to buy something from you today!
Topics: Sales Consulting