Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Canceled Appointments Putting Sales Quotas Out of Reach

July 06, 2016
By Susan J. Campbell - Telemarketing Software Contributing Editor

The triumph for any inside sales professional is securing the commitment from the customer for the next step. It might be an appointment for a presentation, a demo or a field appointment. While this is the goal for any telemarketing software implementation and helps to push the sale forward, it also has the potential to fail.

According to a post by telemarketing software company VanillaSoft, the number of canceled appointments is on the rise today. Organizations are feeling the fallout from disappearing customers and lost sales in a climate that is both volatile and unpredictable. The sales cycle is being stretched by factors such as more competition, larger deals and even questionable lead quality. The start and stop cadence is throwing off the sales professional’s momentum and can lead to absolutely nothing.

In fact, according to IDC (News - Alert) research, the sales professional spends roughly 25 percent of his or her time on unproductive prospects. Deals that present themselves as having great potential fall apart. Appointments that were a challenge to get in the first place are increasingly being canceled. As frustration levels rise, companies need more than robust telemarketing software to land and keep those key appointments.

We know for certain that today’s customer is much busier, more connected, more mobile and more independent than yesterday. These individuals are self-sufficient and tend to prefer to do their own research, no longer trusting the information gleaned solely from the sales professional. They complete their own evaluations on social networks, websites and other digital resources.

Forrester Research (News - Alert) suggests that customers will wait to engage with the sales professional until they are 60 to 90 percent into the sales process. When engagement finally occurs, they tend to know more about the product or service than the sales professional. This puts the control of the buying process firmly in the hands of the customer, creating a unique, and often hidden, sales cycle. Buying occurs only when the customer is ready to buy.

For the inside sales professional relying on telemarketing software, the challenges could not be greater. Customers are quick to ignore calls or messages. They are quick to bail on an appointment at a moment’s notice. They view the phone as an interruption and are too smart and informed on a product to respond to promotional incentives. IDC research suggests that 85 percent of sales professionals are struggling to meet quotas, putting more importance on gaining control over the top of funnel activities.

It’s not a hopeless situation, but it is one that requires a different approach if companies hope to achieve better sales performance and greater profitability. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi