One Sales “Moment of Truth” You Want to Avoid Is a Hang-Up


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In sales, there are plenty moments of truth. Unfortunately, most of these moments do not happen after closing a big sale or great accomplishment. They usually come after a prospect has slammed the phone receiver in your ear. And more often than not, that nasty moment of truth is not the result of a bad salesperson but a deficiency in the sales process. Bad sales management systems are a prime culprit, and probably lead to more confusion among sales people and over-contacted customers than any other sales process technology.

Having an unorganized sales process and more than one salesperson calling the same prospect is the moment you probably lost the sale. In sales, there is no excuse for a disorganized database sales program. Every organization, from a small business with two salespeople to a big enterprise, can afford to have sales process management software in place so that no target is being called more times than necessary.

Although there is no excuse for having a deficient database, it happens easily, and it happens frequently. Let’s say, hypothetically, that a company has five salespeople and they are each responsible for calling the businesses listed in their territory for payments and sales. Unfortunately, there is no feature in their sales management system that displays when a prospect was contacted.

On Monday, Joe decides to call Roxy’s House of Nails but has no place in the contact record to enter when or who he called. On Wednesday, another salesperson is looking through the database and calls Roxy’s for the second time. Now, Roxy is starting to get angry because she keeps getting sales calls from the same organization. On Thursday, Wendy makes the unfortunate decision to call Roxy’s. Poor Wendy gets an earful from Roxy, who screams that she will never buy another item from the company again. For emphasis, she slams the phone receiver in Wendy’s ear. That is a sales moment of truth.

The BBB’s problem
A real life example of a company that has solved this problem is the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston. With a disorganized system, the Better Business Bureau was notorious for making multiple calls to the same prospect. With a list of more than 200,000 local businesses, Juan Ortega, regional sales manager, needed a more efficient method to manage lead processing and membership list development. He needed a system that would help build a better sales process and enable the internal sales team to focus on moving leads through the sales process.

Because the Houston Better Business Bureau is a nonprofit organization and is funded by dues from member companies, it focuses on selling its mission. Once a company is contacted, the general rule is to wait 90 days before making contact again. Unfortunately, with no formal sales management system in place, multiple sales reps were calling the same organization time and time again, leading to frustrated prospects and a high employee turnover rate (and more repeat calls by the replacement telemarketers).

After some initial research, Ortega found a sales management system that not only allowed him to track his sales team’s activities but also allowed him to import thousands of pre-screened leads into the system and choose the best prospects for his team. The result was a shortened sales process. Generally one call equals one close. The team also had fewer angry prospects and converted more leads to customers.

"Before we had our sales management system in place, I couldn’t control which sales rep was calling what company," said Ortega. "Now I know who called what company, when they called, and what was said. I can effectively track leads and broaden our outreach to more promising industries."

Ortega said the sales reps have become more consistent in their sales efforts. "The performance bar has been raised," he said. "After implementing the software, 75 percent of our sales team is now producing at the bonus level."

After a year of implementing the software, Ortega has a fast and efficient sales tool that has led the Houston Better Business Bureau to record months of membership growth. What was once an unorganized sales process plagued by a high employee turnover rate and low morale is now a proficient sales group propelling the organization to record growth.

Take advantage of a sales management system. It’s easy and affordable and, if used correctly, can boost sales and create a happier and more productive sales team. Who wants to work for a company where you get constantly yelled at by prospects for calling too many times?

Research your options and choose software that fits your company’s needs. Do not allow the technology to be complicated or become part of the problem. Most sales management systems come with some type of training. Using a hosted system is even easier. It is easy to install and is affordable.

Installing the software is only half of the battle. Establish sales policies in your company. Make it mandatory for every sales rep to use the system. Although you might get resistance from a few members of your sales team who do not welcome change, making a sales management system a mandate will keep your sales efforts organized and easy to manage.

There is no excuse for weak or incapable management of sales information or overcalling potential targets. Use a sales management system and save your team members the indignity of having prospects yell at them and, worse, slam phones down on them. If you decide to take my advice, you will never have to endure this particularly distasteful sales moment of truth. Trust me, it’s not pretty, and there is always the possibility of going deaf.

Geary Broadnax
Geary Broadnax, president and chief executive officer of Dovarri, Inc., is a recognized expert in the development of hosted sales force automation and customer relationship management software, and an award winning photographer. He joined Dovarri after a successful career at Reliant Energy Communications, an exchange carrier that provides the Houston, Texas, metropolitan area with a combination of voice, data transport and Internet services. Broadnax has received numerous awards of distinction, including the Small Businessperson of the Year award given by the Houston Small Business Association in 1999, and he has twice been a finalist for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award.


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