Yep – I am astonished by the lack of what we should know but don’t. Every day, businesses are cranking out tons of sales calls that seem to fall short of gaining any real intellectual knowledge, despite all the effort. I was chatting with an Inside Sales manager a few weeks back, and he shared some of his data. Big dialing effort, decent connects and good sales. As I quizzed him about improvements that could be made, I felt I was enveloped in emptiness. It was the emptiness of failure–failure to gain any knowledge from the stalled attempts to sell.
He had amazing data from those that took their offering. He could dazzle with knowledge of his customers. However, when it came to the other 99.99% of companies that were not customers, yeah, he was less chatty. Drilling down in conversation, I realized that the moment the sales people thought that a sale would not happen, they bailed and moved on to the next call. This may be great for speed–but it is lousy for learning. In a nutshell, they were clueless about why companies did not buy from them and who was likely to buy from them in the future. I am sure that if we gathered their sales people into a room they would have a good feel about prospects that did not buy. However, much is lost during calls by not collecting real-time data in a lead management software platform, never to be recovered again.
Lead Management Software, Telemarketing Software and Inside Sales Software make it way too easy to collect data on the fly with easy click-and-record or open-field-data collection. Sales agents can collect competition, pricing objections, contract expirations and so on. There are endless items that are easily collected during a call that will allow the overall organization to profit from the “No” just like they profit from the “Yes.” The ability to collect business intelligence during a sales call in real-time not only makes great sense; it seems like a bit of a crime not to do it.
If you are not collecting business intelligence during the call, I would start. If you do not have a sales software platform that allows easy data collection, get one. Companies that make a large number of cold calls are always looking for the next list, prospects and rich data that seem a likely fit. Mining your own list over time will pay huge dividends. Here is an example:
A company, doing things right, collected competitive info from every contact they made regardless of the fact that the prospect did not buy from them at this time. Did they get it from everyone? Of course not. Did they get it from a measurable number? You bet. They had about three years’ worth of competitive data when two of their competitors merged. The merger caused poor customer service and because they knew which companies were likely experiencing poor service, they were able to swoop in and pick up considerable market share. They had two things working very well: the foresight to collect business intelligence and the wisdom to have deployed a lead management platform that made it easy to collect and easy to mine the data.
Yes – there is money in the “No” but you have to collect it piece by piece, call by call- and act upon it.