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When The Script Works

by David Brock on March 8th, 2016

Over the past weeks, I’ve been arguing against mindless scripts being executed mindlessly.

But what happens if the script works?

Recently, I responded to an email, get the inevitable call, the SDR opens with “We can help with your performance measurement issues…..”

I wasn’t sure I had any performance measurement issues, but was interested in learning more.  I had described our key metrics and asked, “What should we be doing differently?”

The sales person had, apparently, been prepped for that, saying, “You need more KPI’s and you need them in real time.”

I asked, “Why?”

The rep paused, “I can arrange a demo and discussion for you….”

“No, right now, I’m interested in learning more.” I respond, “Why do I need more KPI’s?  Why do I need them in real time?”

The question is a dream question for anyone doing prospecting calls.  This sales person had managed to capture my interest and engage me.  I was asking questions, seeking some insight.  For those Challenger aficionados, it was the perfect, “Teach, Tailor, Take Control” moment.

The conversation continued for a couple of minutes, the sales person couldn’t answer any of my questions.  She kept talking about how the product could help me, how they had lots of customers, like me, who saw great value in the product.

It was clear the only option in her script was to hand me off to someone else and to get me into a demo.

But the real questions, the questions important to me, about why I needed to change the way I should do things or what I should do differently, couldn’t be answered.

Sometimes the scripts work, sometimes we capture the attention of our customers, we engage them.  But we fail in the very next moment.  We can’t answer the customer’s questions.   We can’t talk to the customer about their business.  Or we don’t understand our products well enough to know how they apply to the customers business.

How many opportunities do we waste because our sales people don’t know enough to respond, to teach, tailor, take control?

What would happen if we could actually engage our customers in conversations about their business in those first calls?  What if we could take that opportunity to ask questions and learn?

How might our success rate change?

I don’t hold sales people accountable for this failure to engage customers.  It’s their management, marketing, product marketing people that are not equipping the sales person to teach, tailor, take control.

How many 1000’s of articles and 100’s of books need to be published saying, “It’s about the customer and their problems/opportunities/challenges?”

How many research studies citing customer unhappiness with how they are engaged need to be published before we understand we need to train and script our SDR’s and BDR’s differently?

Management won’t see this.  This call, the lost opportunity, will be lost in the metrics.  This sales person will get credit in the call statistics, will post another data point in failing to convert the call to the demo.

They’ll keep calling, sometimes someone will say I’m interested, let me tell you about my challenges, and the sales person will fail one more time.

The cycle never stops, but the volume keeps increasing.

There has to be a better way.

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