In the last couple of days I have been called on the phone by,
- A company offering me their HR services? There are only 2 of us work at the company and we’re both model employees (honestly)
- An organisation that wanted to know if I would like to add their data back up services to my portfolio of products? I sell a management consultancy service: I don’t sell IT products
- A debt collection service: All my customers are very nice people who always pay on time
- Someone who wanted to know if I would like to advertise johnpc ltd in the Daily Telegraph? A snip at £10k so they say!
I am always polite, explain that I don’t have a need for what they are offering and wish them good luck with their calls for the rest of the day.
However, the thought that runs around my head during all these calls is what a waste of time, money and resource, not mine, theirs.
Instead of calling me they should be calling someone who “might” have a need for what they are offering and where the sales pitch they want to give will resonate with the prospect.
This (unfortunately) is something I have seen time and time again during my sales career and to be quite frank it completely baffles me.
Also, it’s not limited to sales calls on the phone; I have witnessed countless field sales campaigns where phenomenal amounts of money, time and resources have been sunk into prospects that are never going to buy what someone is trying to sell them.
With the range of tools available to sales people today, it has never been easier to research prospects and assess (before engaging in sales activity) an organisations match to the product or service that you are offering.
If any of the aforementioned salespeople had looked at, my or the johnpc ltd profile on Linkedin, the “story of johnpc ltd” video on YouTube or used the Company Check website, they could have worked out that,
- We are a small (but beautifully formed) company
- Our core capability is organisational review of B2B sales teams
- All our business is through recommendation, we have never booked paid advertising
- (And we don’t have any money worries- thank you).
What they should do (what all sales teams should do) is work out what their Target Market Profile is.
In other words, figure out who are the organisations that are likely to have a genuine need for the product or service they sell, before they engage in any sales activity.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to look at organisations they have successfully sold to before and focus prospecting activity at companies that look the same (or similar).
However, the best way is to identify 5 or 6 key things that represent the ideal prospect for whatever it is they are selling. These could be, (for example),
- Industry sector,
- Number of sites
- Relationship with other companies they have sold to.
Spend an hour on it, (you can come up with an extensive list), then pick the top 5 or 6.
It’s not a difficult exercise and the time invested in establishing a good Target Market Profile will reap a huge return in time and money and immeasurably improve sales productivity.
Until then, I will just keep being polite and saying “no thanks, but good luck with your calls for the rest of the day”.