Sales Pursuits with NO Fruit for the Labor

Sales Pursuits with NO Fruit for the Labor
By Bob Beck CEO Sales Builders
How many sales pursuits do you or your sales team engage in each year with no fruit for your labor? What do you think the average is across all Business to Business industries?
As you ponder those two questions, let’s define what a sales pursuit is: a perceived opportunity that a sales person invests time, money, and resources in trying to sell. These sales pursuits have met some qualification criteria, are typically new opportunities (not existing clients) and the rep has engaged the prospect at some level via on the phone or in person. What we are not referring to is a cold call with a single conversation, a reply to a marketing campaign, trade show follow-up or a blind inquiry.
So now, what do you think the percentage of sales pursuits that are invested in annually with no results are? Some of these sales pursuits can go on for months and sometimes years. We actually had a client that had been pursuing an account for 5 years and had spent over $250,000 in expenses. After a 60-minute review of all the activity, it became very clear to everyone involved they had less than a 1% chance of winning the deal. They were dealing with the wrong person, had no reason to change, had no budget, and were partners with their main competitor!
The percent across all industries we have found ranges from 70% at the very lowest to a high of 90%. That is staggering. There are some sales executives that aren’t sure what the percentage is, which is a bit shocking.
Let’s break down what this is costing you as a rep or as an organization. As a rep, your most valuable asset is your time. If we just focus on the low end of this percentage (70%), think about how much more you would sell, how much bigger your bank account would be if you invested that wasted 70% into prospecting and aligning yourself with prospects that were actually going to do something, like buy your offering! Stop and think where you would be in life if you wasted 70% of your money, or 70% of your time sleeping, or wasting 70% of anything!
From an organizational standpoint it costs you:
· Profits- because money is being wasted on T&E with opportunities that don’t happen
· Misuse of company resources that drain morale and productivity
· Sales turnover because they get frustrated and move onto the next company
· Revenue because sales don’t close
· Forecasting accuracy, which can effort your stock price or at least your credibility
· Time- as one of a million examples, how often are you investing time, money and resources to respond to RFP’s that never bear fruit?
· Efficiency throughout the organization
The overall costs from unrealized revenue from sales pursuits is tremendous. If you aren’t looking at this, measuring this percentage and the costs, you might have a blind spot in your business. You can change this percentage and recoup the money that is wasted year after year on this huge issue by investing more into your sales force. An effective sales approach in 2018/2019 is not the same as it might have been in 2007!
We are often asked: Why is the percentage of sales pursuits that end up with no fruit for the labor so high? There are many reasons for this, some include:
· Little control of the sales pursuit itself
· Sales people are putting themselves in a subservient position with the prospect
· There is not enough or no real collaboration between sales and the prospect
· Sales doesn’t engage the decision maker early enough in the sales cycle
· The qualification process being followed has too many gaps in it
· Sales is not relating to the people they are selling to
· Sales reps are mostly mimicking the marketing materials
· There is more of a “make it up as you go” sales approach rather than a results orientated process that is followed and measured
· The culture of the organization condones that a 70-90% failure rate is acceptable
· Sales team is not valued nor acting like trusted advisors to prospects
The full list of reasons is very long, but these are some of the typical issues we change for organizations to impact that troubling percentage. It only makes logical sense and is prudent for your business to address these issues head on. It’s time to change the percentage of sales pursuits that net positive results to your advantage. Regardless what your market is, or your products are, investing in your sales team to address the above issues will show you an immediate ROI.
If you would like to learn more about how for 17 years, in 10 countries, we have effectively impacted these and many other issues that hamper individual and organizational growth, please contact us at: 404 822 9082
Sales Builders is a dedicated professional development firm that offers organizational assessment, training, coaching and consulting all geared to help organizations transform, thrive, and expand. We’re architects of change and builders of consistency. We’re pioneers of innovation and masters in sales transformation.
Bob Beck


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