Beware the I-can-sell-ice-to-Eskimos type. It's not impressive. These egotistical chest-thumpers obsess over converting difficult, ornery, low-value prospects, but more sensible colleagues are cultivating relationships with the right prospects that stand to benefit immensely from the company's product or service. These leads, which are often easy to spot by their high energy and enthusiasm toward the product or service, can be the most rewarding. And their excitement will encourage them to invest more of themselves into your product or service, fixing small problems on their own and looking to capitalize on creative opportunities your offering can provide.
In "No More Dying by Inches," Senior Editor Marshall Lager quotes Robert Bois, research director at AMR Research: "'Sales thinks that this is its value, being able to look at a pile of leads and just know what's good,'" and that's where the difficulty can occur. 'Maybe they interpret that 70 percent of responses to the red campaign will convert, but only 30 percent from the blue campaign will. The problem is, you still have salespeople who believe they can sell to the blues.'"
Even if a salesperson is successful selling to these blues, consider what the company sacrifices. Because a blue prospect can be mistrusting, the salesperson spends a lot of time and company resources closing the deal, then naturally gloats about the conversion. What he doesn't realize is, this prospect can be extremely difficult, overemotional, and will exhaust him to no end. Worse, the prospect can also be a big financial burden on the company, requiring extraordinary service and support demands. And, heaven help the poor salesman if his blue client has a small problem. With these clients small problems often become catastrophes--the alarm is sounded and a team of people must immediately intervene. Clearly, the handholding, complaints, and aggravation are hardly worth it.
Savvy salespeople know this and aim to avoid these parasitic prospects. And, if these reps are unfortunate enough to land one, they know enough to let it go when they get the chance. That's why as long as there are highly qualified leads in the sales pipeline salespeople should target them first. It's more impressive to focus time and resources on highly qualified leads that are ready and eager to start a rewarding relationship with the company than with a low-value prospect.
The trick is to know the difference between window shoppers and buyers. That's where data mining tools come in. These tools enable marketers to more quickly and accurately deliver premium leads to sales teams. For insight on how sales and marketing teams can work together to better target highly qualified leads, read Lager's piece and Assistant Editor Jessica Sebor's cofeature, "Too Much Pork for Just One Fork." They offer valuable insights and tips on how companies can avoid the blues and uplift sales pipelines.