How many emails do your sales people write to find a contact they are looking for?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4w4rcCfG9cA

This post is with regards to cutting down the time wasted by your own employees (and your channel partners) researching who to contact or which contact details to pass on to the customer when it comes to a specific kind of expert for a specific offering in a specific country.

Real life example

Don’t you know these email trails of at least 10 emails which started off like this: A sales rep asking his boss who in product marketing to contact for the product BCM50 when it is about a customer in Poland?

Sales writes to marketing and marketing writes to each other and before there is a meaningful answer you easily have had ten people involved and a lot of time wasted. (Business cases for how much time of information workers is worth here.)

Statistic

70% of all attempts to find an expert by email are unsuccessful
according to www.thinkbeforeyousend.com

What can Sales Enablement do about it?

Let me show you how the sales enablement application I’m looking after for our 4,000 sales people world-wide cuts down the time to research this kind of contact information. Actually it works just the same if you searched for documents, tools (like ROI calculators), relationships (like cross-selling opportunities), summary descriptions (like updates when a product will be GA) etc.:

contacts

This is what we train our marketing and sales employees to do.

  1. You drill down from ‘Global’ to ‘Poland’ on the top of the screen or by clicking on a Google Maps like map.
  2. In the search form in the upper right hand corner you type in the full name or the acronym of the product/service you are interested in.
  3. In the left hand side navigation you pick the kind of information you are looking for.
  4. Given that you have now set the context you can pick from the list of experts in the middle of the screen and even call them with one click (UC / Unified Communications that is).

How long does that take? 10 seconds for one person instead of ten emails from different people that everybody is then copied on each time.

Why is it possible to save so much time? The reason is we established an information architecture and lots of people are empowered to keep it up to date by just doing a right click on a piece of information to edit it.

For contact details the following happens: Information that is missing will be filled in the moment the contact from the higher level gets all the requests. He/she will be quick to provide the contact details of who should really be contacted for the specific situation. Basically “forced crowd-sourcing”.

The areas where all this helps you can call sales enablement, conversation enablement, channel enablement or just knowledge management.

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11 thoughts on “How many emails do your sales people write to find a contact they are looking for?”

  1. Hi Paul,

    thanks a lot for that blog post! In my experience the problem of “how many emails do your sales people write to find a contact they are lookinf for” is especially relevant in large, complex and international organization. Sellers then are asked to sell a range of products in a certain territory and industry. But their clients don’t limit themselves to the territory that is governed by the account rep that takes care of them. They might actually ask if the vendor can help them with a project in another country, maybe even on another continent.

    And that is exactly when the problems kick in that you are describing in your blog article. Who is responsible for this account in that country? If I can’t find that, who is the responsible for that territory / industry? If there is nobody designated for that area, who should I talk to instead? In most large organization, the process of finding the RIGHT person to talk to in another continent or business units takes weeks because it is just like an extended introduction in linkedin – the contact request needs to be forwarded over superiors, peers, etc.

    From my personaly view, this is actually the most important feature any knowledge management – or in the context of sales and marketing ‘sales enablement’ system needs to have: mapping its people along management, expert, industry and geographical structures so that they can be identified by colleagues from anywhere. Hook that up with unified communication technology and you will have significantly accelerated the knowledge spiral in your organization. Because no matter how much externalized information we are able to host in any system – socialization, the process of face2face / or virtualized person to person knowledge exchange is still the most valuable asset a company can have.

    Thanks again for writing about this!
    Stefan

    Like

  2. Hi Stefan,
    Thanks for your insights.
    What I forgot to mention: I love that granular information, that is missing, will be filled in the moment the contact from the higher level gets all the requests. He/she will be quick to provide the contact details of who should really be contacted for the specific situation. Basically “forced crowd-sourcing”.
    Kind regards
    Paul

    Like

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