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I Signed Up For An eBook……..

by David Brock on February 27th, 2015

I saw an intriguing eBook being promoted by a company known for providing Sales Acceleration/High Velocity selling tools.  It was on a topic that I have huge passion for.  I respect the company and wanted to learn more from their research.

I diligently filled out the form, hitting Submit, at 8:00 am.

At 8:01, I had an email with the following:

Thank you for downloading [Title Witheld] eBook. You can click here to access the eBook at anytime. (link deleted)   To see how companies like [Company A, Company B,  Company C] and others are using [Company Name] software to contact, qualify, and sell more, click here to see a live demo.(link deleted)

At 8:02 (actually earlier), my phone rings, I let it go into voicemail.  It’s a salesperson following up on my interest in the eBook and wanting to talk to me about their solution.

I haven’t had a chance to click on the link yet, I really wasn’t interested in a solution, I was just interested in the eBook.

At 8:02, I had an email with the following:

Hey Dave, I saw that you took a look at some of our research and wanted to see when you’d have about 30 minutes where we can show you how our software will increase your sales by 33% in 90 days. Our Video (link deleted)provides a brief intro to what we do. My Best,

I don’t see it for a while, but I’m intrigued.  He must know what we are doing wrong in our sales and marketing.  He already knows enough about our company to tell me that he can increase our sales by 33% in 90 days.  I’d be a fool not to learn the secret he knows about our company and take advantage of it,  So at 9:02, I respond:

[Name Withheld], Thank you for your very fast phone call and email.  I actually haven’t had a chance to review the research.  But I am curious, what is it about our company that makes you think your software can increase our sales by 33%.  I’m always looking to drive growth.  Thx, Dave

At 9:15, I get a response:

Dave,  Let me know when you got some time either today or earlier next week and I would love to get you to one of my Account Executives so you can see an on screen demo that would be customized to you. Regards,

“Hmmm,” I think.  He really is in pitch mode.  He wants me to see his software.  But I still don’t know what errors my company is making.  I don’t know why we are so screwed up that in his 2 minutes of research on our company, he was able to discern the problems we have and can increase our sales by 33% over the next 90 days.  I really want to understand that first, he must be onto something, because it was apparently so obvious to him……..

At 9:19, I respond:

But [Name Withheld], I really don’t care about a demo.  You seem to have some insight about how to improve my sales 33% in 90 days.  What is it about our company that makes you think that is achievable?  I’d really like to understand that before I commit to a demo.  Looking forward to hearing more, Hugs and Kisses, Dave [OK, I’m using a little literary license on the Hugs and Kisses part, I really just said “Regards.”]

At 9:31, I get a response.  It has the obligatory 3 product brochures that I’m supposed to open and read.  His response:

Hey Dave, Great question… Our software is directed towards inside sales teams. increasing contacts, contact ratios, and managing your leads so you get the most out of them. On average we see in increase of 33%. For your company personally I’m not sure but want to find out your sales process to see if we are a good fit.   In a recent case study with [Multi Billion $ Software Company], we increased their lead contact rate from 21% to 74% in just 3 months, and with that came a 33% spike in revenue.  We believe science trumps intuition; that sales growth is a matter of math, not magic. When you have had a chance to check out the documents I’ve attached, I would love to hear more about your sales process and show you how our software works.  Brief Overview Video  (link deleted)  I look forward to hearing from you.

I’m really confused at this point.  I thought he knew our company, perhaps he’d gone to our web site, or this blog, or even looked at my LinkedIn profile.  We aren’t a Multi Billions $ Software Company.  We are a Multi Millions $ Boutique Consulting company.  So our businesses are very different.  The majority of our “sales calls” are with very senior level executives of Global 1000 companies.  There aren’t 1000’s of them every year, possibly 100’s…..

Based on the brochures the sales person sent me, apparently we are missing out.  We should be using high velocity and “power dialing technologies.”  It’s a novel idea, in the past, since our prospects are very busy, we had worked with them by email or worked with their assistants in scheduling calls with them.  Sometimes, the calls are scheduled weeks in advance–base both on their calendars and ours.  Perhaps, that’s the reason we aren’t selling as much as we could, as fast as I could.  Perhaps power dialing will get us to talk to them much sooner.  I have to think on that one a little bit.

I hadn’t, honestly considered inside sales as a solution to my revenue problem.  So I decided to do a quick customer survey.  I happened to have a short call scheduled with the CEO of a very large technology company.  It was a quick call on an issue we were working on with his company.  At conclusion of the conversation, I asked, “Would you mind if I asked you a question about our own selling?  Should we be using inside sales people to be prospecting with people like you?”  He reflected–he has great experience with inside selling because 30% of their sales team is inside sales people.  He reminded me of how we first connected, the depth of the conversations we had when we were assessing each other.  He concluded, “They have to be able to conduct the same level of conversation as you and I had.”  Then he said, “If they could conduct that kind of conversation, wouldn’t they be part of your consulting team?”  He has a point……

It’s 10:08, I’m still tantalized, yet confused by these emails.  Clearly, we are really screwing up.  We apparently aren’t using the science and math of selling.  We apparently aren’t using data the way we should.  I had thought the most relevant data was understanding the customer, their business, and potential triggers.   Somehow, we believe a prospecting call is about the customer, not about our products and services.

Somehow, we believe our initial conversations should also be about them and their business, about opportunities they might pursue, about things that may be disruptive to them and their customers.  About problems they are having…..

I know this sales person couldn’t be making a mistake.  When you read their website, when the CEO speaks, the focus is all about the customer and engaging them in conversations about the business.  They talk about knowing your customer and having relevant data and knowledge, leveraging that in high velocity conversations with the customer.

So, clearly I’m really missing something.  I guess I should read the brochures and commit to a demo.

I wonder if they will write 33% revenue growth in 90 days, into their contracts?

How could I have screwed up so badly?

Can you straighten me out?

It’s 10:43, I’m sitting by my phone……..

 

 

 

 Book CoverFor a free peek at Sales Manager Survival Guide, click the picture or link.  You’ll get the Table of Contents, Foreword, and 2 free Chapters.  Free Sample

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8 Comments
  1. Martin Schmalenbach permalink

    You ARE funny!

    I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing a little bit of deja vu reading your blog!

    • Bet you can even recognize the company 😉 This may be a case of “Do as I say, not as I do…..”

  2. Exceptional post Dave. In a real world context, you highlight some very important points about today’s selling best practices:

    1) Calling inbound leads quickly increases the likelihood of engaging with prospects. If this salesperson had waited a day or even a few hours, the likelihood that you would have still been at your computer thinking about this issue would have been long past.

    2) The salesperson’s approach was way off. It is a classic example of combining outbound sales tactics, which push prospects quickly to a demo and close, with an inbound sales context. This salesperson would have been far more successful if they appreciated the stage at which you were in the buying journey and aligned their messaging around it. For example, “Thanks for downloading our eBook on Sales Acceleration David. Given the size of your organization, I would recommend honing in on pages 12 to 14 for the benchmarks applicable to you. Feel free to reach out to me around the specific questions you have on Sales Acceleration so I can make sure you have the right research at your disposal.”

    3) Based on the fact that this salesperson was looking to pass you off to an Account Executive, I assume they were a junior salesperson such as an SDR/BDR. There is a high probability that this person would not have been able to address the strategic questions you hoped to solve when you downloaded the eBook. Therefore, even if you decided to take the salesperson up on the offer outlined in point #2, this salesperson is not in a position to help you, earn your trust, and discover whether their company can ultimately help you with your issue.

    Kudos to this company for having their systems and process in place to engage inbound interest in a timely manner. Few organizations have made this transition. However, in my opinion, if they can improve on points #2 and #3 above, they will have more success.

    • Mark: Thanks so much for the great comment. The key issue, I think, is what you outlined in 2. For the level of engagement, the approach was way off. One wonders, in fact, whether the first time something is downloaded, particularly something like an eBook, whether a call was appropriate. Perhaps a follow up email pointing to something else relevant, then assessing my actions for the next step.

      Item 3 may have been an issue, but I’ve been prospected by other junior sales people, who, when the recognize they can’t handle my questions, politely find a way to get me connected with the right person. Perhaps, since they had asked for my title, they might push “CEO’s” (even of very small companies, to someone who might be better at handling these calls.

      Thanks so much for the response, I learned a lot from it.

      • Martin Schmalenbach permalink

        One thing I took away from this was that to engage with a certain kind of organization, such as a smaller consultancy rather than large multinational, the chances are that the consultancy will be staffed almost exclusively by very influential operators/consultants. And this requires an appropriately skilled and knowledgeable sales person to engage – not really what you find in the approach of most…

        Just yesterday I received a contact from somebody who apparently I interacted with on this very blog – I don’t recall if true or not as I talk to so many folks and I have real grey hair(!). This contact clearly was aware my organization is implementing Challenger, and this person felt they may be able to help with the implementation. A couple of things felt strange, in terms of approach/technique. First, there was no reference to my first or second name, and secondly, if we’d had more than a passing interaction they might have known we’re very much advanced in our implementation and working with the CEB to do so. Therefore a lot more research is needed for them to figure out where they might be able to help – I got a fairly untailored pitch – not something I expect from somebody who claims to be able to help with implementing Challenger… “do as I say, not as I do” come to mind (again)!

        Needless to say their reputation.credibility with me, such as it was, took a knock that I’m not sure I care to give up even 5 minutes of my limited time for them to recover from. Life is too short and there are to many fish out there vying for my mindshare and influence on our training budgets…

  3. Hahahaha!!!

    I got a call from a sales guy who mentioned a product I apparently downloaded. When I pressed him for details he couldn’t tell me what I downloaded or when. Now there’s a company that needs some work!

    Keep up the great work!

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