Getting to “NO!”

October 08, 2010

Most sales efforts, training and management focus on getting to Yes. In most cases, Yes, or an order, takes a full sales cycle. A lot of time and resources are spent on your leads and prospects pipelines. Getting to “No” while not as lucrative as a “Yes” can be just as important especially in the early stages of the sales cycle as getting to “Yes”.

Sales efforts, marketing spend; management effort and other resources are all consumed getting to “Yes”. Expending these efforts on “No’s” is a huge waste of resources, dilutes your ability to analyze your sales and marketing efforts, and is a deterrent to the sales organization.

Proper lead/prospect qualification, a long topic for another time, can help you to group your prospects. It’s a harsh reality to some marketing and sales staff that their leads and prospects are unqualified, “0%” prospects, or so unlikely to buy that expending more than token efforts to their cultivation is a waste of resources.

Many companies have a sales funnel. Prospects are qualified from above 0% to 100% (100% is actually a customer) with sales stages, in many cases very subjective, reflecting the sales staffs best guess as to the overall projected weighted sales forecast. Sales staff are often coached, cajoled, rewarded and pushed to reflect higher probabilities of closure.

How often have you recognized the sales staffs’ ability to identify that some prospects are not qualified prospects, at least in the foreseeable future or in the window you maintain your sales pipeline?

  • Does this prospect have a 3 year supply of your competitors’ products or are they locked up in an exclusive contract?
  • Does your competitor’s brother run the company?
  • Is there a former disgruntled employee of yours there blocking your access?
  • Did you company burn the bridge there which will require time to heal?
  • Is the company in financial difficulty?
  • Is the company changing focus and moving away from the products you supply?
  • Does your product really fit?
  • Is your product competitive in price, quality, form, fit and function for their needs?

There are many disqualifying reasons that are OK!

Move the l-o-n-g term leads to the market folder for periodic updates and annual review and make room for prospects that have a probability of closure and new leads to qualify.

By not wasting time on call backs, beating the same dead horse, spending money on “No’s” you free up not only resources but also improve attitude in the sales group.

Topics: Sales, Featured, Blog Posts

Mike Romanie

FUEL Marketing and Sales

Michael is a hands-on Executive with more than 25 years experience profitably driving marketing, branding, sales, and operations for public and private companies ranging from start-ups and turn-arounds to divisions of multi-billion dollar multi-national entities. Michael’s career milestones include executive teams; raising more than $75 million from public and private sources, producing 2 IPOS (NASDAQ), being an officer of two Publicly traded companies and a divisional executive of three multi-national and two multi-billion dollar companies. Michael has managed operations with full P&L responsibility and has recruited and managed teams from start-up to more than 350 employees with national and international staff, highlights include; • At a technology products and services company reversed an operating loss and posted profits at 300% above plan within one year of accepting P&L. • Chief Marketing and Sales Officer for an imbedded microprocessor company securing 180 design-in’s with major companies including Nortel, IBM, Lucent and others. Lead the Recruitment of U.S. and Canadian Independent Sales representatives (70+), and 15 Design Support Development Partners, to rapidly gain market presence and design support. • Virtual Marketing and Sales Officer for a consumer software company: Increased revenue from $1.3MM to over $6.1M in less than 18 months. Closed key retailers including; QVC, BigLots!, Penney’s, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJX, Walgreens.com, The Shopping Channel (Canada) and others. Co-Managed multi-national Independent Rep. Firm covering accounts including; Costco, SAM’s Club, BJ’s, Target, Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy and others. Developed Australian distributing accounting for 15% of annual revenue.
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