Is the fact that your reps are cold-calling and setting appointments causing a leaky sales pipeline?
If you’re a sales leader who’s been faced with a team full of empty pipelines, then chances are you’ve spent quite a bit of energy cajoling sales reps to pick up the phone and make cold calls to fill their funnels. It seems like a solution. After all, more calls, more leads, more opportunities, more sales, right?
What if I were to tell you that this is actually wasted effort?... that the empty pipeline isn't actual problem, but a symptom of something much bigger?... something that will continue to haunt you, as it has for the many years you've been in the business.
Here are five reasons why sales reps shouldn’t waste their time making cold calls and setting appointments.
1 - It pulls your top billers out of focus
Sales reps are expensive! Making cold calls distracts them from the one thing your organization pays them to do - close new business, period.
The addition of another focus misaligns incentives, makes the metrics of success unclear, and clouds visibility into problem areas. Think about how much of their time is spent sorting through piles of unqualified leads. How much time is dealt being hung up on, listening to that disconnected signal, or being told that their point of contact is no longer with the company.
It's a lot of money being spent on spinning your wheels.
Now, you may say that the answer is to get "better leads," right? It's always about the leads. The leads, the leads, the leads - so say we all. But when the better leads simply aren't there, why is the knee-jerk reaction to tell your most expensive staff to pile on the time spent smoking the tires?
There is a HUGE difference between opening and closing. They require two different skill-sets, and although your best can likely do both, it's not easy to flip the switch from one to the other. And the reality is that when they're doing one, they cannot do the other.
2 - Lack of support
Lack of clarity around key performance indicators makes it difficult to identify areas for improvement. This means it is almost impossible to build useful coaching plans. Additionally, cold calling success is hugely dependent on data and process. Without an explicit focus on cold calling it is difficult to build and refine effective systems.
Without focus and support, reps prospect inconsistently and ineffectively. They make a tremendous effort for little overall gain, so when they do manage to drop a few promising leads into the top of the funnel they have to transform into a closer.
Then they have to set up calendar invites, send out emails, note the system, and so on, and so on. It's a lot of energy being spent on anything BUT closing.
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3 - It damages your pipeline
Best case scenario: the leads they generate through their cold prospecting turn into customers. Worst case, they're busts, and then there's everything in between, such as the "future opportunities."
Whether they close or not, once they have been pushed through the cycle, they are no longer the viable opportunities for meeting your monthly quotas that they once were.
Then we're back to where we started... staring at an empty pipeline, with an overwhelming amount of pressure to cold call - and remove focus from the main objective.
4 - It makes looking into the future impossible
Your sales pipeline needs to be a predictable indicator of things to come. When lead flow is in flux, you can’t make effective sales forecasts or decide where to focus and provide support. Continue the cycle long enough and eventually (and very likely, time and time again) you’ll find yourself at the end of the month without any opportunities ready to close and without enough leads entering the funnel to hit your numbers next month.
5 - It isolates your opportunities for success
The simple fact that you're putting the entire responsibility for your sales on the shoulders of individuals, you are tying YOUR success to their individual success.
When they leave your company, they are likely to take all of those relationships and momentum they've built with them. It also means that you're relying on one person to be good in two key areas - opening AND closing, and if they're not built for the first, but are exceptional when it comes to closing, they're likely to fail all around.
Herein lies the conundrum - or the actual problem...
By getting mixed up in this cycle, there's an inevitability you're very likely to face: high attrition. When that happens, you lose your best rainmakers, the ones you spent all those hours training and investing in, to your competition.
You might as well be handing your competitors cash and your best clients. But if you can find a way to generate a steady flow of leads - ones that are not cold, but rather, warmed up, qualified, and ready to close, then you'll spend less time dealing with attrition and empty pipelines, and more time focusing on growth.
Interested in learning how an outbound B2B agency can help you develop a more robust and consistent pipeline, so your closers can continue to do what they do best? Request a quote and speak to one of our outbound specialists today!