As a Sales Professional of over 15 years now, I have had some time to reflect on my beginnings as an SDR for a commercial office supply company in Melbourne, Australia. I remember starting the job and being given an Excel spreadsheet of all exisitng customers and what equipment they had purchased on lease. I was also given a copy of the yellow pages.
Now before you say "what the heck kind of company were you working for?", this was still quite common in 2005. Companies operating CRM's was not as common as it is today. I went out and bought a laptop and researched a couple of software packages and settled on ACT. It was a cool little system that allowed me to track all customers and prospects I was calling. I must also say here that my sales manager at the time didn'd encourage me to do this - I simply wanted a better way to organise my day.
I was set a target of 20 Meetings to book a week for the 4 AE's who were broken up into territories. After 2 months I started to work out that booking the meeting was 50% of the job as the AE's close rate was quite high on the meetings I was booking.
But.... then came the month we have all had when the meetings got sloppy, unqualified, not with the right person, "booked with the receptionist" as one AE would say to me. I started to see my Meeting close rate go down, and the AE's wanting to attend my meetings go down to.
I then did one thing I still do to this day. I asked for help. I went to the top AE who as it turns out was the one I was hurting the most with the "lazy" meetings. I said to him can I come to the 5 meetings I have booked this week for you so I can see why they are not closing? Sure enough, 3 of the 5 were with non decision makers and 2 were with reception. I recognised I needed to change.
Why start a discussion like this? I never want to forget what I learnt 15 years ago. Book meetings that are meaningful. Dont get lazy. The Sale starts with the first phone call.