90% of decision makers will never answer a cold call because the salesperson attempting to sell to them cannot sell and / or the decision-maker lacks the capacity to appreciate the value being sold.
Beware of snake oil solutions to improving sales.
Recently I saw the seemingly frightening Social Selling Labs statistic that caught my attention.
"90% of decision makers never answer a cold call."
Social Selling Labs is obviously selling their Social Selling Training. If you buy their social selling training, your emails and cold calls will yield fruit, right?
The question I have is, "Are there other strategies that could measurably and sustainably move the needle more than social selling training?"
There is no doubt that improving your sales team's social selling skills could be helpful. With a statistic this dismal, anything other than maintaining the status quo could help. Going on nature walks could help.
There are far more strategic areas to address prior to social selling training that will improve your cold call outcomes.
Your objective should be to optimize everything possible that impacts sales performance. I am going to share two in particular that are most effective in moving the sales performance needle.
Conditions necessary for consistent sales performance.
Consistent successful sales performance requires a combination of the following three essential conditions:
- A desirable product / service.
- A salesperson who can actually sell (not entirely common).
- A prospect who has the ability to recognize value and the ability to invest (not entirely common).
Maximize these three factors and you will make the greatest impact with the least relative effort.
It is reasonable to assume the following:
- A great salesperson can sell a mediocre product / service.
- A strong brand can carry a weak sales team.
- Just because a prospect buys does not make them intelligent.
In the long-run we are all dead and everything is variable. Therefore, let's assume the product / service is desirable in the long-run.
The two most significant reasons sales performance is diminished boils down to one or both of the following serious challenges:
- The salesperson cannot sell.
- The prospect cannot buy.
Sales systems and culture are important but without the right salespeople engaging the right target personas, you are dead in the water.
Serious sales performance barrier #1 - The salesperson cannot sell.
It is dangerous to assume that all salespeople can sell. Not every salesperson can sell. In fact, depending upon the sales team, company and industry, the real percentage of salespeople who really can sell is 10 to 70 percent.
The product / service reputation outsells most salespeople. Salespeople often receive / take credit they do not deserve.
How many times have you had a salesperson approach you who was inept and clearly not a fit for the role, yet you wanted the product / service?
I have. The purchase was made in spite of the poor sales effort. The reputation / branding of the product / service was known.
The great majority of the time a lousy salesperson misses the sale because they could not sell.
Besides, most salespeople who are unable / unwilling to sell are not calling. They are waiting for the phone to ring.
Put a lousy salesperson in front of an ideal target persona and it is very likely the salesperson will leave empty-handed.
If you are serious about identifying and hiring ONLY the best salespeople, you need the most accurate sales personality test available today.
Serious sales performance barrier #2 - The prospect is not an ideal target persona.
Not all prospects are good prospects.
In fact, few prospects are good prospects.
How many times have you or one of your salespeople put your heart and soul into a prospect only to have them fail to invest in your product / service?
Yep me too. I have way too many Phds from the school of hard knocks and my forehead is permanently flat due to chasing deals that never had a chance in the first place.
It is essential to identify precisely who your ideal target personas are and focus only on selling to them.
Social selling to prospects who are never going to buy from you is a waste of time.
If you really want to improve sales performance...
Focus on the basics.
Focus on hiring the best salespeople in the first place. Have those salespeople pursue only ideal target personas.
When you have that down, then invest in social selling training.