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Ethan Kopit
By
October 25, 2017

Sales is Overwhelmed with Followups - and It's Holding Them Back

About a week ago, our team published a study where we asked life science sales professionals about what sales challenges they experience and how they see sales changing.

One finding stuck out to me.

 

35% of respondents said that they see sales becoming more consultative AND more relationship driven. However, 38% of respondents said that they felt “overwhelmed” or “inundated” by the amount of communication (e.g. email) they receive every day. According to them, it’s their biggest obstacle to creating and managing customer relationships effectively.

 

So, if being overwhelmed by communication is getting in the way of sales right now - it’s only going to get worse as the number of consultative relationships increase.

What's actually overwhelming salespeople? Followups.

 

Now, when salespeople say that they’re overwhelmed - they don’t mean they’re overwhelmed by customers banging down their door to purchase. If you have that problem, good for you! (email me I’d love to interview you)

 

Salespeople aren’t overwhelmed by customers clamoring to buy, they’re overwhelmed by the dozens of followups (both internal and external) that happen in between a discovery conversation and an issued purchase order.

 

“I’ve read that in most industries there are about seven customer interactions before you sell anything. In Life Science, it’s at least double that. You’re not just interacting with the customer, you’re working with internal stakeholders as well (e.g. Support, Field Application Scientist).” - Monica, Territory Manager

The volume of followups makes effective nurturing difficult

 

Not only does this problem exist for prospects who are ready to buy, but it’s exacerbated when a prospect needs to be nurtured over time. For customers who are being nurtured, not only do salespeople have start the conversation and do discovery, but they also need to stay relevant to a prospect without becoming a nuisance.

 

How many prospects, how much potential business, is just falling through the cracks?

The volume of followup and nurturing that’s required to close business is holding salespeople from selling as much as the can (whether they hit their goals or not).

We're losing productivity on the most important team!

 

“If I have 20 projects - I know I might only have bandwidth for 10 of them. When that happens, I focus on where I’m going to see the highest ROI for my time. I hope that those other 10 projects stick around, but most of the time they don’t. They move on because my bandwidth doesn’t open up.” - Philip, Senior Product Manager

 

Following up, nurturing, finding relevant reasons to engage, these simple tasks are what are overwhelming our sales people and holding companies back from increased revenue.

We'll be interviewing a salesperson to understand how they manage the "Followup Deluge." Subscribe to the blog to get a copy of the interview!

 

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