Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, author, and sales leader. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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Your Vegetarian Sales Force

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There is an old joke about “vegetarian” being a Native American word for “terrible hunter.”

More and more, I see sales organizations trying to outsource all forms of hunting, including lead generation, lead nurturing, and appointment setting (read cold calling). These organizations are creating vegetarian sales forces. They are creating salespeople who don’t know how to hunt, and some who refuse to hunt. It’s a poor culture for a sales organization.

Marketing can and should help generate awareness and generate leads. But the leads that marketing generates are the icing on the cake, not the cake itself. A good salesperson will never rely on anyone else to generate their leads, knowing that they alone are responsible for making their number (the good people in marketing aren’t carrying a quota, and no one in that role is going to lose their job when you don’t make your number). You have to know who and where your targets are.

Marketing can also help nurture leads, but it doesn’t have the same impact as when the salesperson nurtures their own dream clients. No one ever says, “I’ve really developed a close relationship and great trust with your marketing department over the last twelve months. I think I am ready for them to assign a salesperson to my account.” You need to nurture your own dream client accounts. You need to be known, and you need to be someone they recognize as a value-creator. No one from marketing will know your dream client contacts-you will.

Now let’s deal with the phone. Having someone else make your calls and book your appointments doesn’t give your dream client the perception that you are professional. It doesn’t create some great mystique that makes you somehow worth meeting with. If you care about your dream client, if you really want their business, you wouldn’t relegate the calling to someone who can’t create value for your client. It’s one thing to have some help so that you can compress the time it takes you to schedule appointments, but it another to absolve yourself of the responsibility to hunt.

If you are in sales, you are responsible for hunting. You are responsible for client acquisition, from target to close. That makes you a hunter.

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Filed under: Prospecting

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