salespeople

Avoid the Most Common Mistake Made by Salespeople

By Gui Costin

You’ve found the right contact and delivered a compelling message – that must mean the sale has been made and they’ll call you up ready to move forward.  We all know that’s not how it works.  And yet, follow-up is the single biggest failure of most salespeople. They can get the meeting, perform well in the meetings and then they drop the ball and never follow-up.

While past expectations may have involved a post-meeting follow-up thank you email with attachments, institutional investors are getting hammered with so many emails they will tell you they simply don’t read them.

A more personal approach is required, which means it’s critical that salespeople leverage customer relationship management (CRM) systems to help stay focused and aware of each sales cycle they are involved with. It’s important for your sales team to understand the importance of going beyond the traditional thank you note.  Have them record all the details of their conversations and efforts as a reference for future touchpoints.  Consider the following steps for a successful follow-up process:

  1. Make it mandatory to use your CRM system by leveraging pipeline reports that must be monitored and show progression.
  2. To help understand the ranking of prospects, create two opportunity pipeline reports: one for top opportunities (at Dakota, we call it Finals and Red Zone) and a second for opportunities you are working on, preferably in 2-3 stages that you are trying to move into your final stages.
  3. Review these reports daily; they should include names, contact information, and details of your prospect. Think of this review process as centering you every day and seeing where you need to take action.
  4. Create a separate pipeline report for your biggest accounts, like Banks and Broker Dealers. These are somewhat static pools of capital that have very long sales cycles, but you want to be working them all the time and not lose track of progress, no matter how small.
  5. Create a separate Consultant Opportunity Report that just has the consultants. This will help make sure nothing slips through the cracks. You want to be reviewing your lists constantly to spur action. At Dakota, we call these “Sales Triggers.”
  6. Create activity reports that show your past activity for example the last two weeks, last 30 days, and the last 90 days. Reviewing this list regularly can act as a powerful trigger for follow-up with people you have met or spoken with.

As these steps are followed, it’s critical that your salespeople remember who they are trying to connect with.  Baby boomers, GenXers, and Millennials will all have different expectations and preferences in how you execute your follow-up strategy; know and understand those preferences.  Regardless of the generation, stick to a follow-up process, not just half-way, but all the way through and you’ll have greater success overall.