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Sales Solutions Can Be Simple

Sep 3, 2008
Again and again, when speaking with my clients, they tell me that if they had more leads or their sales staff, it would solve their challenge or problem. If they only had more leads. Yes, leads are great. But I've learned that that's not the problem they are really sharing with me.

The real problem is that their sales folks are not doing proper follow-up on the leads they are getting.

While there are plenty of VAR (Value-added reseller) companies that do not fall into to this category, it happens in about 4 out of 10 cases; that is too much for me to ignore.

Below is the type of scenario they share with me.

** Management directs business staff to:

- Schedule an appointment.

- Immediately send the prospect/lead an 1) email confirming the appointment and 2) a hardcopy letter further confirming the appointment.

This confirming and re-confirming the appointment conveys to the prospective buyer how important we believe they are - and how important it is to us that we speak with them - and that we respect how busy they are - and that we respect their time. This investment is to make sure the lead keeps the appointment.

** Sales representative process:

- The sales rep doesn't keep the appointment.

- The rep calls back a week or two (or more) and reports that the lead didn't keep their appointment.

Unfortunately, this is not the truth. My clients share that they conduct surveys with all leads to ask the prospects how the call went. They learn that the appointment was not kept by the sales representative. In fact, many times the prospect/lead either calls the company, angry that no one showed up, or reveals this on the survey.

The solution? It is a top-down solution. Management has to enforce a process or behavior that ensures that leads are followed up on and that the money spent on campaigns is used wisely.

However, what I hear from VAR execs is that this is "too difficult", that it is hard enough to get these same reps to input customer information in their CRM, much less change even more of their behavior.

Let me just ask, Who Is The Boss, Here? Who signs the checks? Who is running the show? From an executive standpoint their needs to be some enforcement, plain and simple.

While scheduling and keeping sales appointments can have complexity, the solution can be simple. In tandem with simple, clear, firm enforcement, an executive can also create an environment that makes it easy for these guys to follow-up, as well. You can create marketing and sales *systems* that can save your rep's time and make them more efficient. There will still be work on the part of your sales reps, there is no avoiding that. However, a strong marketing or sales system can make big improvements in your business. Again, who is running the show?
About the Author
Ramon provides more marketing information, especially created for the IT VAR industry but also applies to everyone who wants to improve their sales. Stay up-to-date at StreetSmartVAR.com and while you're there, don't forget to sign up for Ramon's popular, no-cost online marketing course!
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