Help! Our sales team isn’t converting new leads

We recently had an experience in which a printing company had sent us a number of direct marketing emails looking for new business. Around the time we received the third of these we were about to undertake a sizeable printing job, so I clicked through from their email and filled out the ‘request a quote’ form…..and waited for a response. After 3 days I hadn't heard from them, so I gave them a call and was put through to a sales representative who, whilst friendly, had no interest in finding my request for a quote. So we went over the details again and I was assured they would call me back within the hour. I never received that call and we won’t be rushing to do business with them.

This experience was a beautiful example of the disconnect that can occur between marketing promotion and the sales team. So where's the problem and what would you do about it?

Before rushing to blame the sales staff, disconnects like this can too often result from management not paying attention to the process, from lead generation to sales conversion.

So management attention, follow up and action is priority one. If you’ve got that solidly in place then you need to look at what other factors could be contributing such as:

  • People - are there enough, do they have the right skills, is the culture/attitude/environment right? Be especially mindful of ‘consequence imbalances’ by which negative actions are not addressed or worse, condoned by being ignored. Equally be aware of positive actions that are not being recognised and reinforced.
  • Process – is it deeply understood by all, what are the key activities and in particular the handoffs, where are things breaking down? Imagine you’re a customer being carried across the process; who’s dropping you on the floor, ignoring you or being slow to respond to your needs?
  • Tools - is there ‘task interference’ occurring by which the tools the team have to work with are inadequate for the various tasks they need to complete? Is there a CRM system and is it being used effectively or being by-passed? Every business or organisation, of any size, needs one and can afford one.
  • Standards – have these been established around quality, quantity, cost and timeliness? Do you have something like a ‘sunset policy’ in place by which every new prospective or customer enquiry must be responded to before the sun goes down?

These are just a few of the possible factors you should evaluate. However in our experience, the single greatest detriment to serving an external customer is the existence of a ‘we/they’ attitude internally. We should all be very clear that if this syndrome exists, it exists because management is not paying attention!

Posted: 23/06/2010 12:43:00 AM by Andy Klein | with 0 comments
Filed under: communication, management, processes
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