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Faster Isn’t Always Better

There’s a lot of focus these days on efficiency, often pitched under the banner of Sales Acceleration. Efficiency is critical, but efficiency doesn’t count for much if you aren’t also paying attention to effectiveness.

Efficiency is good, but…

Recent studies show that selling organizations are spending thousands of  dollars per sales rep per year on tools to help reps work faster.  The range is dramatic – some companies with shorter sales cycles or higher transaction sizes are reported to be spending as much as $8,000 per rep per year.

Why such a significant investment? Well, CSO Insights reports that, on average, almost 50% of reps don’t make their quotas*. Prospects requesting info over the web often wait at least 39 hours for a response. The average rep is said to make  just 1.5 attempts to reach a lead before giving up, and only 27% of leads are even contacted.* Clearly reps need to be getting to more people, at the right time with the right information.

Don’t settle for doing the wrong things faster

If we focus on efficiency alone, then we risk the “agile” problem of doing the wrong things faster. How does this play out?  With many so-called “acceleration” tools, we make throw-away dials faster – we leave useless voice messages and send useless emails faster – we give up faster without reaching the lead – we ignore leads faster – we annoy more prospects. We do the wrong things faster.

Many of these communication technologies aren’t delivering the results we need.  All the competing sellers have power tools to bang incessantly on unwitting prospects, sometimes causing their prospects to implement defensive measures in a proverbial communications arms race.

Effectiveness first, and then efficiency! 

Your reps need more than efficiency, they need effectiveness. Sure, they need to reach people faster. But when they do connect, make sure they have everything they need to be informed and competent making them confident when they are interacting with prospects or clients. Think enablement, not just acceleration.

  •  Give them tools that are easy to use and relief from “administrivia”
  •  Put  the right information at their fingertips and coach them how to make best use of it
  •  Arm them with a complete history of all previous interactions so they are informed and don’t waste a prospect’s time
  •  Equip them with “power tools” for quick and consistent follow-up to keep the prospect engaged

And, if you want to take a deeper look at how old school tactics might have you “Doing The Wrong Things Faster”, take a look at Tom Freese’s new book, SalesForce 2020. It’s one of the best resources we’ve seen for helping your sales team achieve quota in today’s buying environment.

 

*Source: CSO Insights’ 2014 Sales Performance and Optimization Study
*Source: Forbes “27 Sales Acceleration Principles and Best Practices”

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