It amazes me how much one can learn about the tricks to B2B sales productivity by being prospected by someone else. I recently attended a trade show, had a pleasant chat with a vendor rep in one of the booths, then ‘got scanned’.
A couple of weeks later, our sales desk received a call (in the middle of a sales meeting). One of our colleagues dipped out to take the call. When she lifted the receiver, there was no one at the other end of the line so she hung up. Thirty seconds later, my phone rang and (given the sales meeting had already been disrupted), I took the call. It was an Account Exec from the vendor and (apparently) not anyone I’d spoken to in the booth. While I wasn’t rude (or at least worked at not being so), I did make it clear that this wasn’t the most convenient time to chat. The call ended with no attempt by the Rep to be helpful by scheduling a callback or offering to help in any other way.
A few days later, I got another call. From the same vendor, but a different Account Executive who, also, I’d never met. This time, I explained I knew someone at the firm and would probably follow-up with them. At that point, I was effectively dropped (politely) like a hot potatoe.
In both cases, I walked away feeling like here were two well meaning sales professionals who connected with me (audibly) yet missed an opportunity to really connect with me substantively.
Add it all up, and you have a prospect experience that wasn’t very helpful. Neil Rackham’s take on how to sell in tough economic times is the antithesis of this kind of activity-completing experience. Rackham advocates being exceptionally helpful, often unexpectedly; it will trigger prospects to engage in ‘the conversation’.
Are your prospect experiences activity-completing ones for your sales people, or helpful ones for your sales prospects? If you were the prospect, which type would you rather participate in?