Sales Models, Metrics, and Motions Blog

How Actionable is your Prospect Feedback?

by Matt Bertuzzi on Tue, Apr 14, 2009

So, the other day I was presenting on actionable data from prospect feedback. I threw in this graphic, which I thought was hilarious:

I put it up on the screen and waited...and waited....and...nothing. Now either I'm not as funny as I think I am (more likely than not) or garbage results like these are all too common.

Opportunity results tracked via CRM
Q1 - 2009

I mean 82% of wins resulting from "Superior Salesmanship" (!) - that doesn't set off your BS meter?! Well, maybe it doesn't.

Think about the last time a Rep came to you with a lost a deal that didn't result from "price" or "missing features."  Did it sound like this?

It turns out I poorly qualified the business influencers. The incumbent really drove the process and we never had a strong internal champion. I learned a ton about myself and my process while working this opportunity that I ultimately lost because I didn't do my job well.

I'm guessing this is the reality that you don't hear - and truth be told - it probably doesn't happen that often, but when it does, it impacts your bottom line.

The point of my little story is that anecdotal feedback on sales opportunities is next-to useless for determining:

  • strategic course corrections
  • resonance of marketing tools
  • effectiveness of sales process
  • etc.

But the anecdotal stuff, that comes out of a drop down box in our CRMs, is all most of have to work with. No wonder my little joke failed so hard.

I recently read a post on MarketingProfs from Laura Patterson on this very topic. She argues that:

The upside of anecdotal information is that it's very affordable; the downside is that it tends to be reactive, it lacks objectivity and in-depth insights, and it tends to be too narrow-merely what the field thinks it needs to close a deal.

Now this is not to bash Sales Reps. They talk to more prospects than almost anyone else in the organization. But to play off a recent Hollywood film: Who watches the Watchmen?

We are all guilty of making choices based on gut feelings and anecdotal evidence. But today more than ever, we have the tools, technologies & opportunity to really learn for our prospects.

Please share your thoughts. How do you gather prospect feedback and how do you make sure it's actionable? Thanks!

Topics: sales process, best practices

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