People in B2B sales: be conversation managers !
In my current position I both sell and buy in a B2B environment. And as a buyer I’m stunned when I see how many people in sales don’t properly track and manage their conversations.
Even recently: I was looking for a decent web design company to make a website. So I sent out about 8 e-mails to different companies.
First disappointment: only 5 actually reacted. So apparently 3 don’t care about getting new business, OR they’re not properly structured to deal with new, and probably also ongoing, conversations.
Second disappointment: 3 others called me. To start off this is not a bad thing, but you have to know when to stop and adapt to the person you’re communicating with. I was unable to answer their calls so they left messages on my mobile phone, or even worse, some didn’t leave messages. They often called me multiple times per day, annoying the hell out of me !
I didn’t have much time to answers their calls during the day, so I was polite enough to e-mail them asking them to use e-mail. Two of them stopped communicating, one e-mailed me to ask when he could callâ€¦ gggrrrrâ€¦. At that point I lost interest and apparently so did he, because he never called or e-mailed again.
That leaves 2, of the initial 8, that actually conversed with me like they should . They can call themselves conversation managers.
So what made them stand out?
1. They responded within a decent timeframe every single time (for me that’s somewhere between immediately and 48 hours).
2. I sent e-mails to info@ addresses, so apparently they channel their new conversations in a correct way. They structured their conversation flow. Let salespeople own their conversations so they can track them.
3. They adapted to the person they’re communicating with. Sure, they called me as well, but once they felt I wasn’t available for telephone calls (2 attempts maximum), they switched to e-mail. They adapted !
4. They kept the conversation going. They asked questions, they answered my questions and they joined in on my thought process. They even seemed interested in what I had to say.
Whoever wins the race, both should be happy as they did what they had to do: they managed the conversation. To the other 6 : shame on you !
P.S. Don’t stop conversing when you’ve lost a sale ! Be nice, wish your lead the best and keep track of your lost lead. If you stay in the picture and your competitor screws up, you might be the lucky winner after all.