Telemarketing Software Featured Article

Learning from Sales Mistakes

September 07, 2016
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

Sales is far from the easiest job in the world. This is particularly true in the case of telemarketing, or inside sales that take place over the telephone. Often, inside salespeople need to make dozens or even hundreds of calls for every sale they get. Just as often, what might look like it’s going to turn into a sale crumbles into nothing at the last moment. As a sales manager, it’s easy to blame sales personnel. But there are many reasons why sales that are “close, but no cigar” fail to happen. Rather than pointing fingers, a good sales manager should use the opportunity to find out what went wrong so processes, scripts or sales training can be altered to avoid the scenario in the future.

“Learn from your mistakes” is a great adage, particularly in sales. It’s the responsibility of the business – often the sales manager – to uncover the reasons behind the loss and work to prevent a cycle from happening, according to Jeff Pruitt writing for Inc. It’s important to remember, however, that it should be a quick and easy process and not inconvenience the would-be customer in any way. It’s also important to get the timing right.

“A debriefing interview doesn't have to take longer than fifteen minutes, but it should absolutely take place as a separate call,” wrote Pruitt. “Don't try to cram it in during the same call when your customer informs you of their decision to part ways. Emotions are just too raw, and like any breakup, your customer wants to deliver the news and get off the phone as quickly as possible.”

Pruitt notes that it’s also important to understand that just because a prospect didn’t become a customer today, this doesn’t mean that prospect won’t turn into a customer tomorrow, particularly if you can get a better handle on that person or business-to-business (b-to-b) account’s needs.

“There are a plethora of customer win-back strategies you can begin to implement, but only after you digest the feedback given to you in the debriefing call,” he wrote. “What you're hoping to learn in talking to your former customers is what compelled them to leave and what their experience was like dealing with your company.”

Asking for honest feedback and encouraging the customer to talk about problems and needs can help you refine your sales process, but it can also help the customer better understand their own needs. This may make them easier to sell to in the future. If your organization was at fault, take responsibility for it. There is evidence that customers who are “recovered” by companies with win-back strategies are more loyal than customers who never had a problem in the first place.

Understanding where your processes or sales training has gone wrong can also help you keep the customers you have by avoiding making the same mistakes in the future. While sales are important, customer retention is even more so, says Pruitt.

“Trying to win the services of a new customer costs businesses five times as much as retaining a current customer, and yet the thrill of the chase through marketing, sales and promotions is often more enticing than focusing efforts on customers you already have,” he wrote. 

Edited by Alicia Young