Sales are either transactional and relationship-based. In most cases, when sales are transactional they are relatively low-budget, a prospect can make a decision quickly, and price plays an important factor.
Digital marketing and advertising for small and medium businesses is one such area where services are provided on a more transactional than relationship-basis. Naturally, when companies are investing tens of thousands into a website and higher-value services, relationship building is a key part of the process.
However, when a company has a few hundred a month to invest in a little bit of online advertising, the dynamics change. For businesses selling these services, the sales cycle should be relatively short. Once a prospect is in the funnel, and they’re qualified and interested, it shouldn’t take long for them to go-ahead and make a purchase.
Why transactional sales involve lots of prospect follow-ups?
In theory, when a qualified prospect is in the funnel and a salesperson has been able to get through to them, it shouldn’t take long for a decision to be made.
However, this is often more of a theory than reality.
More often than not, sales team members finally get through to a decision maker (often the business owner, who’s very busy), and they sound interested. Brilliant! Another prospect in the pipeline. In situations when a potential customer can quickly understand the benefits and investment required, and has the budget to go-ahead, it should be a simple case of getting the go-ahead.
Except in far too many transactional cases, a prospect likes the sound of what a salesperson is selling, but wants to see some sales material and/or a proposal (with costings) before a second call.
Between one call and sending information and the second call, sales are lost. Prospects that appeared to be a sure thing one week fall out of the pipeline the next.
Sales are lost that should be won. Prospects forget. Prospects get too busy with other tasks and activities. When sales are a bigger ticket value than can’t be closed in one call, or prospects are easier to reach and keep in the pipeline, this time gap doesn’t cause deals to fall through it so readily and often. Whereas, with lower ticket, transactional sales, time and relevance, rather than budgetary concerns, are usually one of the main reasons for pipeline attrition.
Since no salesperson wants to lose a viable prospect, we enter the tedious in-between zone of following-up. No one enjoys being in that zone for too long. Either prospects stop responding, or salespeople give up. Not only is that a lot of time and effort wasted, the opportunity cost is that work could have gone into cultivating potentially more viable prospects.
Key Takeaways: Prospect follow-up problem
- In low-ticket value, transactional B2B sales, prospects aren’t always easy to reach and get into the pipeline;
- Once a decision maker has been reached and a lead qualified, interested prospects often want more information before making a commitment (which typically involves booking a second call);
- In this gap between calls, salespeople run the greatest risk of losing a prospect, either through lack of interest/being too busy, or to a competitor;
- A lot of time and effort is invested in following-up with prospects to get them onto a second or even a third call to get the go-ahead (close a deal);
- When that doesn’t happen, there is a double opportunity cost, as time could be invested in sourcing and cultivating new leads.
Clearly, for sales teams with ambitious targets and prospects that are hard-to-reach and engage with, this is far from ideal. It explains why targets are missed and teams struggle to hit quota as consistently as senior management would want.
Is there a better way?
Yes, instead of constantly following-up with prospects, sales teams could aim to close deals in one instead of two or more calls. Instead of sending information then trying to arrange another call, sales could be closed in a single call with the right technology solution, such as CrankWheel.
CrankWheel is a zero-hassle no download screen sharing solution, tailor-made for sales teams who need to connect and convert hard-to-reach prospects.
Sales prospects can instantly join a screen-share using any browser — desktop or mobile, right there within that first call. No fuss, and no need to ask them to download anything. Sales teams use CrankWheel to cut sales cycles in half. Close more deals, faster.
Dozens of companies around the world, including enterprise players in the digital marketing and advertising space, such as Yellow Pages Group Canada, have integrated CrankWheel with sales processes. Sales teams and leaders have implemented KPIs around instant screen-sharing, as a way of accelerating the sales cycle, which allows them to close deals in one instead of two or more calls.