Things aren't always what they seem with your salespeople. Sometimes, the busier they are, the less they are doing! I had several conversations in the past week that explain my opening comment.
The first conversation had to do with lead generation. It seems that the more leads you generate, the more lousy opportunities you spend time working on, and the less time you have to get the real work done. While many leads are better than cold calls, one very important activity falls off quickly. The work your salespeople do to get referrals and introductions from existing customers and clients is the most important business development activity and often leads to your best new customers and clients. More leads it seems, leads to fewer introductions. Not a good formula for success!
The second conversation had to do with many incoming requests for quotes and proposals. Salespeople think they are busy, and lots of business is about to come there way, but, like in the example above, in this case it takes you away from proactive business development. Requests for quotes and proposals are nice, but it means sitting at a desk, working on your computer, and investing time working on opportunities that you may not, and probably will not win. Proactive business development leads to opportunities that you have a much better chance of winning because you enter the sales cycle at the beginning, rather than at the end.
The third conversation had to do with sending meeting agendas in advance. The salesperson remarked that his meetings were going so well because the prospects were simply going down his agenda, providing all of the information, and getting the calls and meetings over with. That's nice cooperation, but it doesn't provide an opportunity for relationship building, pushing back, challenging, differentiating yourself and having meaningful conversations.
The common theme of these three examples is that just when it seems like everything is going your way, you suddenly fail to do some of your most important work. Busy = Lazy.