By Sid Chadwick – 04/27/18
Published in American Printer
“Don’t throw away the old bucket…. until you know whether the new one holds water…”…………………..Swedish Proverb
We recently put a few divergent notes together…. and finally….had to stop pondering.
The picture had begun to clear……some would say….”…it had become very clear….”.
This particular organization appears to have “hit a wall” regarding their steady growth. Historically, they’ve counted on SEO investments with outside agencies — to generate significant new business prospects. Each year over much of the last decade, their revenues grew, and their profitability stayed strong…..
However, a pattern was developing…..that did not portend “good things waiting for them at the end of the road they were on…..as their growth seemed to be slowing down, and their profit margins were no longer — double-digit.”
Their…. “new prospects’ first orders — turned into repeat customers ratio” — was also — low…and trending lower.
Historically, Sales Reps would take their “leads” — generated by their SEO outside agencies, generate a quote, and then following-up that quote — to a hopeful order.
However, after the first order was delivered, “repeat business — was low…..even very low.”
From my personal perspective, and training, there’s “relationship development — from the female perspective”, and “relationship development — from the male perspective.”
Their system of SEO generated leads — and quotes — and orders — could be termed: “Wham – Bam – Thank You Maam.”
Questioning revealed that their Sales Reps:
- …..knew little about their customers’ business models. (But did generally know what had been quoted, and ordered.)
- …..did not know what questions to ask — to learn their customers’ business models.
- ….considered themselves to be “delivery vehicles” — of Quotes, Proofs, and Samples.
- ….received little to no frequent and consistent sales and technical education and training.
- ….considered themselves to be “Experts of…………social media apps”……..
- ….almost never conducted a “Major Account Review”, and if one of them did conduct a Major Account Review, there was no: (a) senior manager/owner in attendance at the Major Account Review, and (b) there was no “write-up” — of what was learned, what needed to be improved, and expected supplier follow-up — that went back to the customer…and… was also shared with their own management team — including the CSR.
- “….Their Sales Reps seldom wrote “thank you notes” to customers, as an expression of appreciation for their business, for their patience in receiving requested information, for inviting them to quote on a project, etc., etc..”
Two observations from recent client sponsored Customer Survey results:
- Customers are not happy with “the frequency” – of Sales Rep sales calls they experience………..
- Customers are not happy with “the value” – brought to them by their supplier’s Sales Reps — in the few Sales Calls — they experience…………..
My guess is that you are not surprised by those two statements.
Now the question remains:
“What are you going to do to change that condition in your organization, since you are not surprised by those two pieces — of relevant, primary research?”
“When I rest…..I rust….”……………..German Proverb