My job is selling technology. Actually I'm more of a translator. I sell technology to other businesses and that's where things get weird. There is a bewildering array of tech out there and unfortunately many companies think technology sells itself and the value that the technology delivers should be obvious. Wrong. That's where I come in. I said I was a translator. My job is to translate techno babble into value that customers understand. This blog share my adventures with high tech sales. Selling high tech is fun so come join me on my sales journey!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Sales effectiveness

Following on from my last post on experimental sales, it seemed appropriate to talk about sales effectiveness and metrication of sales.

How effective is email as a vehicle for cold calling?
Time is money - is it cheaper to use email for cold calling than ringing?
How many calls do you need to make to get a sale?

As with all metrics, it is easy to come up with lots of new measurements.
The classic question remains - are you measuring the right things or things which are easy to measure?

Building a pipeline remains a critically important task. Even if you are selling complex solutions where there are a handful of potential customers on the planet, you always need to be thinking about the next sale.

A typical sales person should be spending around 25% of their time prospecting. Assuming a 40 hr week, this translates to 480 hours per year - a large amount of time. So ensuring this time is being used effectively.

If you are selling in a business to business context, with LinkedIn it is a relatively easy task nowadays to identify who you need to target in the organisation you want to sell to.  It is usually a pretty easy task to get their email address whilst getting their mobile number to cold call them is non trivial.

So in terms of effectiveness, does it make more sense to email 20 people in the same time it might take to get hold of one person via the telephone.

Latest statistics suggest that about 18% of unsolicited emails are opened.  If your message is on-target and well crafted you might have a 1 in 4 response rate from those that bother to open it. That means from 20 emails you might 1 response. So it is comparable in reach to cold calling. If your cold calling is on target you might get 80% response so actually in terms of effort expended on emailing is comparable to the effort required to speak to someone. 

However is the goal to get a response? The goal is to progress a potential sale - email is impersonal whilst speaking carries impact. It is difficult to quantify and measure the rapport which can be built up over a phone call versus an email.

One thing is clear - in order to improve sales effectiveness, it makes sense to measure the the process in order to understand where effort is best spent.  The key resource that a salesman has is time. Time needs to be spent wisely. It is all to easy to get wrapped up in the activity of selling and it is important to take time to reflect and consider whether you are doing the right things,

Do the right things rather than do things right.

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