Over the past several weeks we have been running the Selling Pains Survey amongst sales professionals and this is what we figured :
1. After you identify a prospect, the next step is to get a face to face meeting. Do you have a problem to land one? 83.3% of respondents had problems getting a face to face meeting. Of this around 50% respondents admitted to having this problem sometimes and 33.3% responded with a Yes as in most of the times. 16.7% doesn’t feel this is a problem.
Aside from this specific Survey, in hundreds of interactions that I have had with Sales and Inside Sales professionals across geographies, landing a face-to-face meeting with customers, investors and target groups surfaced as a key problem for sales folks. Another interesting point that came out was even when the first meeting did take place, the follow up, with other key decision makers turned into a challenge in a significant % of cases.
2. As a follow up we asked You have a MQL/SQL identified prospect. Next step is a face to face meeting. Do you often wait for weeks at a time to get in front of your prospects and pitch your products or services? An overwhelming 90% confirmed that as an issue. So even when you are getting that meeting the wait time could be very long, thus changing the dynamics of the purchase environment.
Many a time sales people reported, when face to face meetings get delayed it has cascading effect on the outcome. Prospects get more inputs from numerous sources and sometimes the priorities change altogether.
3.When you do land the meeting how much time do you usually get? According to feedback a face to face meeting lasts 30 to 60 minutes and the spread is an even 50:50 between the two time spans.
4. Is the first face to face meeting with a single person? 66% said it was 1 person while the remaining 33% reported meeting more than one person in the first meeting itself. We followed up with : If you answered ‘No’ – how many stakeholders do you usually meet with? To this 71.4% reported to be meeting with 2 people and 28.6% reported meeting upto 4 persons.
5. To the question How often do you have to change / rush through a presentation because the prospect could not spare the agreed time due to exigencies? 63.6% responded that it happens between 10 and 20% of the time, 18.2% says they experienced it between 21 and 40% of the time and though the least but not negligible by any change – 18.2% said it happened 41-60% of the time.
Even 10-20 % of the time rushing through your presentation takes the value out of the meeting. More critically respondents reported that they saw lack of focus and attention, frequent phone or human interruptions to such situations. All in all over 85% of respondents responded to this question making this a critical performance issue.
6. As a follow up to the above question we asked How often did the prospect excuse herself and put you in front of complete strangers asking you to continue with the presentation? All of the above respondents (about 85%) responded to this follow up. 72.7% said this happened between 10-20% of times, 18.2 said it happened 21-40% of the time and 9.1% said it happened more often.
7. 75% of the respondents used online tools like Zoom, Webex etc. for pitching.
8. Sharing of collaterals were not a problem for most. Still nearly 34% face issues with file sharing, permissions to access cloud drives and file size restrictions.
This is evident that services like Dropbox, Box, Microsoft One Drive ()which is integrated with Office 365 as well as Google Drive ( integrated with Google Docs) have taken out most of the pain around sharing. Still permission issues and cross access issues remain to be resolved. Answers to a follow up question revealed email remained the most favored mode for sharing resources with prospects. A side study showed that at the prospects end managing the files shared by mail, sharing it internally as well as keeping track of which stakeholder has seen which collateral / file becomes a challenge.
9. 41.7% of the respondents find that interruption based cold outreach doesn’t work anymore. However 58% respondents felt it is still effective, although the rate of success has been falling dramatically – so you now have to send more mails and make more calls to a cold list to find the warm leads.
10. Tracking interaction is a problem for over one third of the respondents, 25% used auto logging interaction into CRMs and favored mode of communication was mail, followed by phone and Whatsapp.
11. On tracking user interaction – 45.5% have no idea if it is done through permission, 36.4% say they take prior permission before tracking and 18.2% say they do not take any permission at all. This question was included to see the impact of privacy legislations like GDPR and CCPA. However when asked Do you think privacy of users will be a big issue going forward? ( In light of GDPR/CCPA etc.) an overwhelming 83.3% resounded in the affirmative while about 16% said they have no idea.