How to Get Sustained Sales Growth Over Time
Ask anyone in your sales departments if they’d rather have 10 appointments they booked themselves through cold calling and prospecting activities, or 10 appointments they booked through introductions from happy customers. What do you think they would say?
Introductions will beat cold call appointments every time. I’m not a sales consultant who believes cold calling is dead and that with the right (fill in the blank…social media strategy, inbound marketing strategy, content marketing plan, Sales 2.0 approach, channel sales strategy…) you can confidently tell your sales team they’ll never need to make another cold call as long as they live. Sooner or later you still need your sales team to pick up the phone to start the conversations that lead to new business.
While introductions can be a much easier way to get appointments than cold calling or other prospecting tactics, introductions are hard to scale and predict. It takes time to earn the trust that makes introductions so much more powerful than contacting someone cold. When a third party we both trust introduces us, some of that mutual trust is transferred and we start our conversation in a better place than a conversation that starts cold.
So while building a surplus of trust takes time, companies that commit to a long-term strategy that supports this goal will drive a greater portion of their initial appointments through introductions and will see their revenue growth accelerate, will be able to attract and sustain more A-player sales people, and should enjoy higher profit margins over time when compared to similar companies in their market space.
In our previous post, we introduced you to the concept of the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Fred Reichheld’s book “The Ultimate Question.” As a long-term strategy for sustained sales growth, implementing a systematic way to consistently measure and monitor your company’s NPS is a great place to start.
Companies with a high NPS:
- Receive more warm referrals and strong introductions to new prospective accounts and buyers
- Execute better and have stronger alignment throughout the organization because everyone is conscious of the impact they have on customer satisfaction
- Attract and retain stronger team members – particularly in the sales department – because team members who “don’t give a shitake mushroom” won’t last long
- Can avoid margin-crushing pricing wars and competitive bid situations
- Enjoy a sustainable and powerful advantage over their competition
What would your company look like a year from now if you made the decision to implement a NPS strategy this quarter? Who from your leadership team can “own” this initiative and gain buy-in from all key departments? How will you communicate this effort to everyone throughout your organization? How will you measure success beyond the actual NPS score you track (improved revenue, ratio of appointments through introductions versus cold calls, improved profit margin, etc.)? Why not get started right away?