In our 2nd article we wrote that many sales organizations pay attention to only about 40 % of their sales effort. To illustrate this, we conducted an assessment at a major national bank, and what we found was not surprising. We discovered that this bank missed over 10,000 new sales opportunities in just one month, opportunities that could have been won if the bank had monitored information that was held by their front line sales people.

Like many businesses, this bank also paid very close attention to qualified sales leads (hard data) that was captured and managed in CRM like systems. Critical sales information that was generated by this banks front line sales people which included, tellers, lenders, advisors, was not monitored. It was not that these front line sales people deliberately withheld this information; it was simply a case of no one asked them for it. Every single individual felt that they had a unique situation and that everyone else was doing much better. Doesn’t this sound familiar? It should. This scenario plays out in all businesses not just banking.

Front line sales people generate and hold critical sales data every day. Today executives recognize the importance of this data and are now looking inwards into their organizations to tap into this critical sales data on regular basis. Executives recognize that focusing on qualified sales leads only is ignoring the 60% of sales effort where opportunities are discovered and lost.

There is no shortage of suggestions on how to find new prospects. Digital marketing, videos, content marketing, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, advertising and many more approaches are just some examples that many experts promote as ways to find new sales leads. Some of these methods may produce some results. Many executives we spoke to tried many of these options and all have the same common concerns. They don’t know if these efforts actually produce direct results. Why, because they can’t measure direct impact.

Unless you know exactly where your target contacts visit and what they read, you simply don’t know if any of your target audiences are listening to social media channels where you might be promoting your messages. What complicates this scenario is the fact that your business is not the only business that promotes their messages on these social media channels. For a target contact who might occasionally visit any of these social media channels, the volume of information is simply overwhelming. If you don’t believe this article, simply visit several of these channels and draw your own conclusion.

Front line sales people have always been exposed to daily interactions with new contacts. They discover each day which messages sparked interests with new contacts and why and which messages failed. They hear arguments from new contacts about why they are not interested in further discussions. They also know why some agreed to learn more. And they definitely will know if your marketing efforts helped open up new conversations. Front line sales people generate this critical sales data every day.

Who are the front line sales people? Every person in your business, who speaks to existing clients or new prospects, is your front line sales person. Granted, they do perform different functions but they all influence your clients or prospects perception of your business. Not all front line sales people have the same skills. Some are excellent and some struggle. Would your business not want to know that?

In another assessment with a service company, we found that front line sales people worked very hard on finding and qualifying new prospects. There was no shortage of effort but the results showed that only 20% of the people were succeeding and the remaining front line sales staff who followed the same process struggled. The need for change was obvious. Once this company started to focus on the unmonitored 60% of their sales effort, it became immediately obvious what changes had to be made and where.

As we wrote in earlier articles, we found that many sales organizations do attempt to tap into this soft sales data. Their methods are well intended but their results are less than effective. Many sales managers hold occasional one-on-one sessions or group huddles with their sales team to learn what happened last week or month.  These attempts give sales leaders a snapshot look at the past. These snapshot analysis are not sufficient to develop or to modify sales strategy to improve sales prospecting. At best they represent a sample in time and not a trend. To implement effective changes aimed at improving sales prospecting results, sales leaders need to monitor and trend daily sales prospecting activities by their front line sales people and measure the impact implemented changes have on the success of sales leads prospecting results.

In the next article, we will share how sales leaders can monitor, trend and measure sales prospecting efforts of their front line sales team.

Posted by Jerry Witkowicz on 10 November 2017
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