Last Updated Sep 14, 2009 1:20 PM EDT
If that's true, somebody isn't getting the message. At the recent Sales 2.0 conference in Chicago, Lee Levitt of IDC revealed survey results that 25% of sales reps come to face-to-face sales calls completely unprepared, according to the decision-makers on whom they call. With that scary statistic in mind, here are Neil's three rules of sales research, along with three corollaries (follow-on rules) that proceed out of them.
- RULE #1: The test of whether a sales call will prove effective is whether the insight that's conveyed is so valuable that the prospective customer would normally be willing to pay for it.
- RULE #2: Prospective customers do not value information about products; instead they value information about the industry and the customer's competition, providing it is current and up-to-date.
- RULE #3: Selling a solution is more effective if the sales rep can clearly articulate not just the value of the product, but the value of doing business with your firm.
- COROLLARY #1: Novice sales reps must spend as much time researching the customer than actually calling on the customer. Experienced sales reps can spend somewhat less time on research.
- COROLLARY #2: To do this correctly, sales reps need convenient access to the Internet, and sales management that considers sales research as an integral part of the job.
- COROLLARY #3: Companies that treat sales research as an afterthought will find it increasingly difficult to compete with companies that take sales research seriously.