One of the benefits of having been in the sales coaching, consulting and training business for the past forty years is that I’ve had an opportunity to see a lot of so-called magical solutions come through our industry.
There have been training programs with “hypnotic closes” associated with the program. There have been all kinds of gadgets and devices intended to help salespeople sell more.
With the advent of the PC (yes, I was in practice before the PC was on the scene) and now smartphones and apps, there is a proliferation of technology-based tools, all intended to help salespeople sell more.
Most recently, there has been a stampede to embrace marketing automation platforms. These platforms can do a ton of good for some companies in some situations. Please notice the emphasis on the word some.
As with all of the other “magical solutions” that I’ve seen over the past forty years, marketing automation has a place but, more often than not, it doesn’t fit where its purveyors and vendors claim that it fits.
I have yet to see one solution that works for everybody all the time. It may exist, but I have not yet seen it. Here’s the real scoop.
In order for you to grow your sales, you and your team must get in touch and then, most importantly, you must stay in touch with all or as many decision-makers in your market as possible. Billions of dollars have been spent on these solutions, but few of them truly focus on the issue of getting in touch and staying in touch. So, let me ask you a few questions.
- How many individuals are in your marketing database?
- How many individuals should be in your marketing database?
- And, how many of the individuals that are in your marketing database have a scheduled next step?
Let’s deal with each of these questions individually.
My experience is most marketing databases in most companies fall far short of the optimum volume of contacts.
If you’d like to know how many contacts you should have, spend a little bit of time and zero money on the phone with a list broker. Ask that list broker to give you a count (that’s the list brokerage terminology) of the number of demographically desirable opportunities in your market. Compare that count to the number of names in your database.
Now, take a hard look at your database to determine whether or not you can use the names in that database.
What I mean by that is that, all too often, databases have been corrupted by abbreviations and/or personal shortcuts that cause the database to be unusable. For instance, if the first name field has a phone number, it’s not usable.
Regardless of how many names are in your database, you must focus on the number of names that have a scheduled next step. If they don’t have a scheduled next step, you are allowing your database, at least partially, to stagnate.
All of the research, whether it’s from the Harvard Business School, Aberdeen Research, Selling Power Magazine and many others, have indicated that, if we don’t stay in touch with the decision-maker after the first contact, then that decision-maker will forget about us.
Some studies show that, in as little as four months, the decision-maker’s retention of your value proposition has dropped to 6%.
So, let’s get rid of all the magic, all the voodoo and all the instant solutions. There is no magic.
Selling in the 21st century is hard; just as hard as it was in the 20th century.
We just have to get in touch and then stay in touch with all of the desirable decision-makers in all of the accounts, all of the time. When you do this consistently, you will see an increase in the number of inbound opportunities and, most importantly, a significant uptick in your top line.