A professional services company had a handful of junior sales reps, all of whom were missing their numbers. The CEO was frustrated because they had a strong direct-mail program that was producing a very high call-in rate. However, the call-in conversion rate was quite low and generating far less revenue/sales than projected.
We went in to study the client acquisition process from beginning to end. Clearly, the direct-mail campaign was working based on the number of pieces that were sent out every month and the high percentage of prospects calling in from each mailing. The sales reps had good selling skills and used a traditional consultative selling process. However, the company’s offerings were simple and straightforward. We discovered that the prospects calling in were ready to buy and didn’t need to go through a consultative process. So the sales reps were actually getting in the way of the sales!
We took one sales rep out of the client acquisition process for one day and had his incoming calls answered by an office assistant whom we asked to play customer service rep. At the end of the day, the number of call-in conversions was up significantly. We immediately replaced all of the sales reps with customer service reps. Since the company wanted to keep the sales reps, we moved the handful of sales reps to outside sales with a major account acquisition strategy and execution plan.
Sales tripled in the first thirty days from the direct-mailing call-in conversions! One sales rep left the company within three weeks. Another sales rep set the world on fire and closed two major accounts a week with corporate licenses after a thirty-day ramp-up period. The others did moderately well, gaining 1 major account a week with corporate licenses after a thirty-day ramp-up period. Total revenue from the new major account division was an additional 29% at the end of four months.
The Common Mistake
Literally 99% of all companies that we evaluate have no company-wide sales process or, even worse, an ineffective sales process. This is like a football team not using the same playbook or defending against a running game when the opponents are playing a passing game!