ALthough I have always had individual responsibility, I have had management responsibility much of the past 5 years, which means I am not only making sales calls but receiving them from other sales people, too. It is wonderfully helpful – I can see what I like, what I don’t like and what trends are and adapt my own approach accordingly.
For example, several years ago I would tell people up front in an email that they didn’t know me, and coincidentally many of the emails I receive lately from sales people start out with “we’ve never met” or “I hope you are having a good day.” That tells me to tweak that approach, since everyone else is doing it.
The other thing is, I don’t like when sales people ask for a call or a meeting yet give no information about their solution other than a few words. I don’t have time for a 15 minute “chat,” and even if I did I don’t want to talk to a sales person for 15 minutes, so in my mind better is to be clear up front about what is being offered/proposed.
Finally, I don’t take calls from other area codes, since 99% of the time it is a sales person. Instead, I let it go to voice mail. They have just a few seconds before I delete them, so those few seconds better be good, and I will never ever listen to an automated call or a call that sounds like it comes from a call center.
Anyway, sometimes the best teacher — at least for me — is watching other people in action 🙂
In the 90s, when I first started in sales, it took some doing to get a person’s name and number. There was no LinkedIn, not much internet, and there were no CRM systems. So veteran sales guys would protect their contacts and business cards very carefully. Then CRM systems came out, and those plus LinkedIn have truly been the bane of Decision Makers.
I had lunch with my former Sales Rep S yesterday, and he is with a new company. He was telling me the people he is calling, which are the same people we were calling from our previous company. Meanwhile, I am with a new company so am calling those people, and our old company is still calling those people — all because their names were entered in a Sales CRM system. It is making it challenging to get doors open (not that it ever has been easy) since soooooo many reps are calling the same people. Honestly, I am not sure CRM systems have made anyone’s job easier, but harder all the way around: harder for the AE who has to enter the data and is competing with so many other people calling in, harder for the managers who have to scrutinize reports and worry about data quality, and harder for the Decision Makers who are getting called so much.
In addition to other activitites, made the following sales calls/activities in my Enterprise List:
- Reviewed 20 Decision Makers.
- Reached out to 17 (sent 5 emails, made 15 calls (a few I both emailed and called)).
- Reached 4.
- 1 Meeting, 1 Referral, 1 Passive referral, 1 No: 1 was not interested, 1 gave me the name of the Exec who makes those decisions, 1 referred me to their procurement department, 1 said to set up a meeting in November. Nobody was rude, 2 of the 4 were friendly and informative.