Picture the situation.
Your sales are not where they need to be – they may even be down…
So being the good sales people they are, your sales team gets on the phone – “dialling for dollars”…
It’s well intentioned.
But it’s also bad instincts…
“Hi. I’m Julie from XYZ Company. We are a 30 year old company with a gazillion customers, locations, products, awards, etc etc etc…blah blah blah blah….
…. would you like to see if we can do better than your current supplier?”
Now, some prospects would just hang up, politely or otherwise.
Some would say “send me your details” just to be really polite and, well, you never know when you might want to change your supplier…
And some would agree, perhaps reluctantly, to a bigger call or even a meeting.
And what has the sales person done? Put the details of those who didn’t hang up, in to their sales funnel… because the customer hadn’t said “No!”
But was the customer really looking at that time to buy? Probably not.
So you now have a funnel that’s filling up.
And initially you get excited because you know your conversion rates historically… so you’re now forecasting 25% of these opportunities just added to the funnel, will close. Hooray.
Except your conversion rate is about to drop through the floor…
Because unwittingly, your sales people have MANUFACTURED a sales cycle by forcing an event!
Many of these opportunities will just stall – sales people are reluctant to call any opportunity as lost, so they’ll languish in your funnel, not going anywhere. And if you ask about any of them, you’ll get the standard “they’re just waiting on budget approval” or some other excuse… and the trouble is, the sales person may be right, up to a point.
So now YOU begin to look a little ropey because you forecasted an upturn, which isn’t materialising, your funnel data is contaminated, and you can no longer be sure what’s really going on.
Many of these opportunities are stalled because they are FAKE! The prospect was nowhere near ready to buy, until your sales person came along. The prospect is perhaps still nowhere closer to buying, but your funnel is skewed, and your salespeople may be burning their reputation, or building the wrong one, as they push on an unready set of prospects…
What are you going to do about it? What directions and guidance are you going to give your sales people? Is your incentive programme actually contributing to this?