Mind The Gap

We’ve analyzed the data on thousands of direct sellers and millions of their actions. One thing is clear: sales increase when you close the gap.

The risks involved with not closing the gap

When direct sellers are left asking the question “What’s next,” three clear challenges present themselves. These challenges don’t just kill sales, but they directly contribute to attrition in organizations’ salesforces—attrition caused primarily by the lack of success.

50% of NEW DISTRIBUTORS QUIT if they don’t sell any products within the first two weeks.

Our data compiled from customer metrics shows that 50 percent of new distributors quit if they don’t sell any products within the first two weeks. That’s right, if you don’t enable your new distributors to make a sale to their first customer within two weeks, it’s a flip of the coin on whether they’ll stay on board.

Here are the three key issues we found when salespeople found themselves asking the question “What’s next?”

Sellers get stuck in their own heads (aka, “the spin”)

Also known as “analysis paralysis” — Challenge #1 directly contributes to Challenges #2 and #3. Uncertainty and lack of knowledge results in ongoing analysis and review of the options in front of them. Due to inexperience, new distributors will weigh the pros and cons of all the sales tactics they could take while ending up taking no action at all.

Desire outpaces ability

All the desire, enthusiasm and motivation in the world can quickly dissipate when ability and enablement don’t keep pace. However, possibly just as bad to your organization, a green salesperson’s high enthusiasm paired with inappropriate/improper next steps, can bring a negative tarnish on your product — no matter how professional the salesperson otherwise is.

Left in the dust

Of course, all this can mean the salesperson is left in the dust as the prospect moves on to another option that can answer the prospect’s needs more quickly and effectively. Unlike getting stuck in their heads or desire outpacing ability, there’s no coming back from being left in the dust. The sale is lost because the need is filled elsewhere.

4 Tips For Avoiding “What’s Next?” In The Sales Cycle

There are four clear tips we’ve uncovered in our machine learning and sales teams optimization that present a path to break out of the norm — a norm of 80% of new distributors quitting. While the following four tips are all enhanced by machine learning and algorithmic optimization through sales platforms, you can still take advantage of the learnings using old‑fashioned techniques, too.

1. The right collateral at your fingertips

New and old salespeople alike rightly have their focus on understanding the prospect’s needs. Don’t distract that attention by having to search for the right materials to send as a follow-up. Ideally, smart platforms and machine learning will recommend the right collateral for the right scenario.

But even just identifying a few go-to pieces of collateral — your “if I have no idea what to do next, just send this” items — can break salespeople out of analysis paralysis and avoid them being left in the dust.

2. Turn to the data for answers

Sometimes we seem to think that if we stare at a prospect’s contact card long enough, that some magical divination will happen to give us answers like a crystal ball. But, we need to set aside the crystal ball and pull out a calculator or spreadsheet instead. Even if you don’t have automation on your side, some key data points that can ensure desire doesn’t outpace ability.

Pick up your print copy of the September 2018 issue in which this article appeared.

Have a prospect that you’ve been talking to for a while, but you don’t know how hard to push? Take a look at your past communications: did the prospect follow a consistent interval between their communications or was the prospect always spurred to communicate by an outreach from you? If a consistent interval, don’t ping the prospect too early. Wait until the interval period — you’ll not only optimize your time, but you’ll also connect more deeply with the prospect. If the prospect has shown they need outreach from you, then don’t be afraid to reach out sooner rather than later.

Thousands of such data points that can be analyzed with the help of systems and machine learning. However, even without that help, you can look for a few key patterns like the above to rely less on gut and more on real-life.

Just like playing poker or blackjack… If you rely on gut, your bankroll is going to disappear fast. But if you understand the odds and what cards are in the deck, your chances of winning jump exponentially.

3. Get personal

The social graphs of prospects are a treasure trove of information. Social graphs help sales teams optimize communications, cadence, and frequency. By looking across a sales organization, like prospects can be identified and content personalized based on previous successes.

Asking yourself “What’s next?” You can get personal, too.

While you can’t necessarily draw parallels between prospects without the help of machine learning, you can still utilize social connects to spur creativity and new ideas for communication. See that someone is a baseball fan? Use a baseball analogy in your next outreach. Notice you have a contact in common? Reach out to ask how long they’ve known each other.

Don’t go all super-stalker on your prospects, but go ahead and get personal.

4. Maybe now’s not the time

One of the best things you can figure out is knowing when you don’t have to do anything. Silence isn’t always uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s golden.

Best of all, when salespeople realize when they don’t have to connect with someone, that frees them up to spend strategic energy on points one through three above. Because even if the answer to “What’s next?” is silence there’s always a never-ending stream of data to analyze next.

Yak GertmenianYak Gertmenian is VP of Client Success at Gig Economy Group, focusing on empowering large sales organizations with machine learning-powered systems to minimize attrition and maximize sales across the entire sales group from the top performers to the greenest rookies. Helping to ensure everyone always has the answer to “What’s next?”