By Jay Valentine, ContingencySales.com
There was a time, long ago, when a salesperson deployed multiple skills needed to generate revenue.
She could prospect.
Prospecting was not sending hundreds of emails to dead lists. Prospecting was about building relationships in a territory. A relationship would extend to another thus creating a network. The sales rep-built a following and used one contact to meet another. This was real prospecting.
Prospects were engaged because there was a relationship. Engaged prospects returned calls and took meetings.
The salesperson could do her own business development.
She learned which consultancies in her territory might benefit from her SaaS product and perhaps could offer services with it. She built up a following of services firms that wanted an edge. There were the frequent “lunch and learn” sessions when she brought in Jason’s Deli food and showed a willing, interested consultant team how to make some extra bucks with her product.
She was a marketing machine understanding the difference between macro marketing and micro marketing. Macro stuff was the junk from corporate. It was pretty much pablum written by a committee employing every buzzword and leaving the reader bored after the first paragraph. Our innovative sales rep had different ideas.
She understood micro-marketing.
Micro-marketing is done at the territory level. It might be hosting a breakfast for 6-8 people to hear one of her successful customers present how her SaaS solution benefitted his firm. Maybe it was the time she had two people from her most recent customer join her for drinks after work. At the same meet, she brought along a prospect, and she did very little of the talking.
Our sales rep did her own event marketing.
She knew a lot of her prospects liked to shoot.
They all had guns at home but few if any had ever fired a machine gun. She set up an afternoon event at the local shooting range, making sure there was a range safety officer on duty. All 20 invitees showed up and had a great time firing different pistols and rifles. Each then got a chance to safely fire a machine gun and have their photo taken during the process.
After shooting, they all enjoyed an afternoon meal at the local restaurant. She didn’t talk business at all. She didn’t have to. These prospects just attended the one marketing event, out of hundreds they attend in their career, which they would never forget.
Social media marketing?
Every prospect at this event had a Facebook post or Instagram about their afternoon. And those posts were read, people commented, others were most curious.
B2B selling is very different now; that is why it is estimated that over 70% of B2B reps don’t make quota. Of course, they don’t!
They are handed “territory lists” in January, sometimes not until the end of February. They are expected to parachute into a territory and make revenue happen on a quarterly cadence weeks later.
Reps are given a list of “leads” who hide their corporate email addresses behind Hotmail and Gmail accounts. They have BDRs (kids who dial call strangers all day) who “qualify” these worthless contacts.
Because any qualified prospect avoids taking these SPAM calls like the plague, there is zero chance of a real meeting.
Today’s sales rep is measured on how many emails she mindlessly sends to lists of people she never met. There is not time for a relationship-building process because there is no such step in her CRM system.
There is no opportunity to build a following in a territory because her 30-year-old sales manager cannot forecast any deal more than 45 days out. If a deal is not happening this quarter, well, it must not be real.
The advent of metrics-driven sales management killed the concept of territory marketing. CRM systems driven by SalesOps madness drive everything to the transaction level.
Salespeople do not develop the skills needed to run a territory like a franchise and make it deliver year after year. Sales managers just do not care. They want transactions this quarter. If there is a big one out there next quarter, they will discount it 50% to get it in the door.
Anyone wonder why prospects do not take calls anymore?
About The Author
Jay Valentine is the CEO of ContingencySales.com, bringing disruptive tech products to market without venture capital and the VP of Sales for portfolio company Cloud-Sliver.