Why This Salesperson Failed to Close the Deal

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 @ 07:11 AM

Have you ever played golf?  Did you ever play a hole where you drove it perfectly off the tee, hit a great shot from the fairway, and still couldn’t get it on the green in regulation?

Of course you did.  Me too.  Almost always.

This is a true story about a salesperson who experienced the same thing – only different – because he didn’t get it on the green in his sales cycle.

Our story begins when I received a marketing email from a software company. Their email worked perfectly, as they succeeded in getting me to click on the link to take their 3-question survey.  Once there, I found that I was unable to answer the questions because my true answers weren’t among the available selections.  The choices only allowed for me to have a problem that I didn’t have.  Oops.  I aborted the survey.  But they knew I had clicked on the survey and apparently didn’t care whether or not I finished.  Despite the fact that Joe Kindergarten designed the survey, their email marketing had worked flawlessly – at least on me.

Moments later, the inside salesperson (we’ll call him Phil) left me a voicemail and followed up with an email about two minutes later.  Apparently, the inside sales team, and specifically Phil, were well aware of these statistics touting the importance of calling in the first hour and for even better results, in the first five minutes:

Connects-1ResponseTimes-1Infographic provided by salesforce.com and CrystalNorth

So the email marketing worked, and Phil immediately followed up on his new lead.

Of course, there’s the issue of whether or not I was actually a lead.  Had I become a lead because I began to take a survey or was I simply a contact?  Did I become a lead when and if Phil reached me and turned me over to a salesperson or was Phil responsible for taking me through their sales cycle?

This was the topic of a very lively discussion between Koka Sexton and me on Dan McDade’s excellent video-conference last week.  You can watch the 30-minute show by clicking here.

Back to Phil.  We may never know if he was in an Inbound marketing role, an inside sales role, or a traditional sales role but from inside.  Why?  Let’s discuss what happened next.

Nothing happened next!

It seems that Phil was unaware of the well-known statistics that reveal how many follow-up attempts are required to reach a contact or a lead.   It can take 10-15 attempts and Phil gave up after 2!

Should Phil have continued calling and emailing?  Should he have attempted to connect on LinkedIn or give up?

Phil couldn’t possibly know the answer to that unless he kept trying.

For example, it took 15 attempts before I was able to connect with the Worldwide VP Sales for a company that became one of our biggest and most important clients.  And this wasn’t a name and email address on a form after an internet download of a White Paper.  This was someone who was introduced to us by another executive in his company and had already indicated that he wanted to talk with us. Even under those ideal conditions it took 15 attempts.

Lessons: Don’t. Give. Up.

Don’t. Let. Your. Salespeople. Give. Up.

In my most recent White Paper, The Modern Science of Sales Force Excellence, one of the findings showed that only a small percentage of companies doing inbound marketing/sales were converting more than 40% of their leads/contacts to conversations.  Download the White Paper to learn what they are doing differently from all of the other companies.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Inbound Marketing, inside sales, reaching prospects, prospecting tips

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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