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Sales Productivity As A New Science

Productivity in business-to-business sales is increasingly driven by having engaging conversations with prospects and having more of them every day with the help of ‘smart’ tools that increase the odds.

Creating conversations that engage prospects will seed future sales from companies that aren’t ready to buy right away, according to an article in the latest CPSA newsletter. It notes that most Reps make the mistake of searching, every day, for companies that are buying right now. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. Only 3% are ready to do so. Another 67% will be buyers soon. Companies which create value, via conversations, ahead of a prospect’s time to buy, will be the ones those prospects flock to when they’re ready to buy.

These and other points made by the author, Jeremy Miller echo our experiences. Our clients have increased their number of booked sales appointments from cold calling programs anywhere from 35-85% by letting prospects say ‘yes’ when they’re ready to say ‘yes’. They’ve often done so in a matter of weeks. The real trick to this is in using tools that identify prospects who are most likely ready for, and interested in, another conversation.

These are two examples of the value of marrying the art of selling with emerging tools that help existing reps sell more and shrink their sales cycles. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review refers to this as the new Science of Sales Force Productivity. The authors, including Dianne Ledingham with Bain & Company, note that it enables companies to replicate the best practices of their top reps across their entire sales team, much as happened in this example of one of our users’ experiences. They conclude that this ‘new science’ is the cheapest, most effective, route to sales growth: a 5% improvement in the productivity of existing reps will achieve the same sales growth as hiring 28% more reps.

This entry was posted in Conversations, Productivity, Results, Sales cycles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sales Productivity As A New Science

  1. Ian Farmer says:

    Most sales people are out of the habit, or have never been taught the skills, of creating demand – they only know how to service it.

    This has been bought about in the main because of a whole series of fads, IT technologies, fashion, the Internet, anomalies (Y2K) and over abundance of commercial and consumer credit, over the past couple of decades, which means that very poor sales people can get away with "taking" very good orders and not really selling. We used to have one client whose inside sales team joked their favorite closing technique was standing behind the fax machine.

    When there are no customers volunteering to buy these sales people struggle. Often they also fall into the trap of confusing activity with results as they try to simply increase productivity with little forethought or planning.

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