Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sell More

How do top performing companies achieve their results? For starters,they sell more.

Seems like a no brainer, doesn't it?

But when I say they "sell more," I don't mean they "sell more products" (although they do). What I mean is that they "spend more of their time selling." In fact, at top performing companies, sales reps spend 72% of their time selling, compared to 59% for average companies, and 47% for the least mature companies.

Why is this? Simple: Top performers maximize revenue by ensuring that only the most qualified sales leads are passed from the marketing department to the sales department. When this happens, sales spends more time following up leads from marketing. When it doesn't happen - that is, when marketing delivers unqualified leads to sales - the sales reps quickly grow frustrated and decide to generate their own sales leads. So, instead of spending their time selling, they spend their time prospecting on their own. Often, this means crawling through databases, creating their own marketing materials, and basically duplicating the work that's already being done by the marketing department. In short, sales reps spend their time marketing instead of selling and companies generate less revenue. On the other hand, when the sales team focuses on selling to the high quality leads the marketing delivers, revenue goes up.

The key here is that the marketing department must deliver qualified leads. Without that, the trust between the departments breaks down. This requires the marketing department to adopt lead scoring tactics to ensure they are qualified, and to work with sales to come up with a mutually agreed upon definition of what constitutes a qualified lead. Leads with low scores that don't meet the criteria of that definition get recycled back into the marketing database for more nurturing, while leads that do get passed to sales. This allows the sales team to spend more time selling.

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To share common sense lessons learned with 40-plus years experience in marketing, sales and as a B2B publisher.