It’s very common and understandable for B2B sales reps, sales management and the management team to become frustrated if the end of the quarter approaches and the forecast crashes and revenue targets are not met. Usually the start of the quarter goes well as B2B sales reps forecast (i.e. the number of opportunities multiplied by one divided by the close ratio) are well above quota. However in the final weeks of the quarter forecasts tend to drop as B2B sales reps frequently report “radio silence” as their forecasted opportunities suddenly cuts off communication and then the questions run rampant during the weekly forecast call.
This of course causes B2B salespeople (sales development reps (SDRs), inside sales reps (ISRs) and even field sales reps (FSRs) to be frustrated by the turn of events because when they last spoke to the prospect the prospect said YES. Well, unfortunately YES does not always mean YES as there are three primary types of yesses.
Yes – Please Stop Talking or Just Go Away
Yes. The prospect says yes in the hopes that the sales rep will stop talking and go away—assertive or driver personalities typically cut the caller off or hang up. This situation can occur anytime but most often it happens in a non-face-to-face environment when a telemarketer, sales development rep or inside sales rep is reading a script or rambling on about everything their offering does or every prior conversation that they have ever had. This type of yes does not usually create any weight in terms of the opportunity eventually converting to a customer and revenue.
Yes – You Made a Valid Point
While the prospect will reply yes to the point the rep just made in the specific context just described, there is typically no purchase interest on their part. Often the B2B sales rep is being used as column fodder (i.e. procurement requires three vendors to be analyzed) and information is being gathered to disqualify the B2B sales rep’s solution in favor of another company’s offering.
Yes – I Agree with you and I will Take Action
Finally a prospect can provide a yes meaning they agree with what the B2B sales rep is saying and they are committed to take action inside their organization to drive a purchase decision.
Getting to the yes that leads to an order is hard for two reasons. On one hand, buyers can be both savvy and deceptive — and even the best B2B sales reps can be fooled. On the other hand, B2B sales people (SDRs, ISRs and even FSRs) may be less seasoned or so eager to make their number that they misinterpret the yes (intentionally or unintentionally.) This is because they are anxious to post good numbers in the sales force automation system to relieve pressure on them from sales management. However in doing so, this only postpones the inevitable and magnifies the negative impact.
If your organization is missing its sales numbers each quarter as deals die or are pushed out due to changing business conditions, organizational changes, budget issues, etc., invest in some sales training to ensure that SDRs, ISRs and FSRs are well-versed in the three types of YES.