Cord Blood Registry is the world’s largest cord-blood bank, storing newborn stem cells for families that bank them for clinical tests and as insurance against diseases and conditions that have no current cure. Matthew Martin, account team manager at CBR’s Tucson, Ariz., laboratory, manages a team of 85 inside salespeople who make and receive sales calls via the telephone.
Studies show that inside salespeople are rapidly replacing traditional outside or field sales reps—the classic business-to-business salespeople who travel on a route or within a geographic area to call on clients and prospects in person. “Insiders” use phones, computers, videoconferencing and other media to call on customers without necessarily leaving the office. From an employer’s perspective, insiders usually are more economical than outsiders; hence, their increasing numbers.
Most sales executives think that inside and outside reps have different sets of sales skills. If insiders receive sales training or sales coaching at all, they tend to get different or watered down sales training courses.
Matthew Martin knew better. When he set out to develop the sales skills of his team of insiders, he chose sales training and sales coaching programs from Action Selling.
“Before we conducted sales training, our phone calls lacked structure,” Martin says. “They didn’t have a logical progression from start to finish. We had salespeople who averaged 20-minute calls and others who averaged only 3-minute calls.”
What we heard over and over was: ‘I want to think about it.’
CBR previously had tried scripted messaging from a company that specialized in telemarketing. “That just didn’t work,” Martin says. “We taught people 40 or 50 things that they had to say, along with stories to tell. What we heard over and over from prospects was: ‘I want to think about it.’”
Action Selling describes “I want to think about it” as a stall. What the customer is saying is, “I’m not quite sold yet.”
“But we didn’t know what they weren’t sold on,” Martin continues. “Since we did the sales training program, along with some sales coaching, we now recognize that in most cases, hesitation happens because the salesperson hasn’t developed a sufficient trust level with the prospect.
“What we learned was that our salespeople never stopped to find out what the customer needed. That means they didn’t do a good enough job of selling themselves as individuals who cared about the customer’s situation. They also weren’t doing a good enough job of connecting the customer’s needs to the solutions that CBR could provide.”
That changed after the sales training course, Martin reports. “We saw an immediate impact in two key areas: First, our sell cycle dropped like a rock. It is 50 percent shorter than before the training and sales coaching. Secondly, we increased our enrollment yield on inbound calls by 20 percent. My biggest surprise is how a surprisingly simple sales training program can be so surprisingly effective.”
For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.