Monday, March 2, 2009
Swinging Doors Have Swung Shut!
Many sales managers will tell their sales reps that they can make a great living and hit bonus numbers by swinging 25 doors per day? That is sooooooo... 2008.
Ten years ago, companies began to flood their markets with feet on the street. Outside sales reps with assigned geographic territories was the preferred method of acquiring and maintaining a customer base. Problem is, EV-ER-Y BOD-Y did it. Soon companies had large sales forces raking in six figure salaries while maintaining current customer bases.
Then 3-5 years ago, those same companies decided to get their money's worth out of their sales reps. So, they upped the pressure and shrunk their sales force. Along with it came a new focus on new customer acquisition. This forced the outside sales rep to play "bump and run" coverage with their clients and ignore those proven retention based practices they were so good at just a few years earlier.
With this new shift in management, sales tactics, and salesmanship styles... customers began to feel slighted. They haven't been able to get their calls answered. After repetitively being treated like a cash cow rather than being made to feel valued for their commitment and loyalty, customers have begun to strike back. Each day, the trust level between potential customers and sales reps is being depleted. That 25 doors per day mark is now 35 doors that a sales rep needs to swing before finding an interested prospect. Sales reps that were once welcomed with open arms carrying in baskets of bagels, are now ushered out with the same disregard and disgust of a mother receiving a call from their favorite telemarketer as she tiredly sits down with her family for a home cooked meal. Ad in the current economic pressures and past experiences of those potential customers, the field of play will continue to get tougher.
I'll share some ideas on how outside sales reps should dial into this new perception in 2009 as we go through the week. Or, maybe I should say, in the spring of 2009. Because we all know, it could change by fall.