Vainu: Fake News! Lies about sales

Vainu.io is Europe’s fastest growing sales tech company and their mission is to find new customers to businesses. Vainu is one of our partners and in FallUp you have the possibility to meet them at our Demo Booth Area! Here’s some thoughts from Mikko Koskinen about the lies on sales and marketing.

Author: Mikko Koskinen, Vainu.io, Originally published: https://blog.vainu.io/fi/valheita-myynnista/

Most of us have run in to the term “fake news” in the past year. Most of us have also found ourselves thinking how do people actually believe these things that seem to be based on the wrong facts.

Have you ever thought that this same phenomenon also occurs in the conversations about sales and marketing? In this text we gathered some B2B-myths that many of us believe but of which the truthfulness might need some further inspection.

Claim 1: “nowadays to schedule one telephone meeting you need up to 70 phone calls”

Truth or false?

False. At least in the Nordic countries or Finland. From our sales work we have data from over 10 000 phone calls and the average is closer to 5 calls. This also includes the times the decision-maker doesn’t answer the call. In the other northern countries the number of calls is closer to 10. In the USA the number is a lot higher and that seems to be where the claim has originated. The number of phone calls is also dependent on what the caller is calling about and what kind of decision makers he is trying to reach. I’d gladly hear about organizations that need more than 50 calls to schedule a meeting. So far I haven’t seen many.

Claim 2: “80% of all trades require at least 5 follow up — calls, but most salesmen give up trying way earlier than this”

Truth or false?

Hard to say but this is usually used in the wrong context. Now this shouldn’t be interpreted in the way that a client should turn down the offer six times before the salesperson understands that the client isn’t interested. If it’s about the average of the number of conversations before the deal it’s very important to keep in mind what kind of sales the data is about. Some products can be traded without any need for a meeting; some are sold within the first negotiation and some after massive amounts of consideration and multiple phone calls and meetings.

Claim 3: “Cold calling is dead”

Truth or false?

Cold calling raises emotion. It’s done a lot and many organizations have gotten great results with it. With the advancements in technology the cold calls have become increasingly warmer with the calls receivers interests and background being easier to map. If by cold call / cold outreach you mean all the sales where the first contact is made by the seller organization then the claim is truly false.

Many rapidly growing organizations have a very effective and active sales organization that contacts potential client without them having shown interest with for example their web activity. Also the top organizations of inbound-sales like Hubspot use outbound-methods for their growth. For example they in October 2017 they had business development representative roles open in which ”generate new interest through calls, emails and social media messaging” was a part of their job description. The job is also being talked about as “high volume prospecting” and “between 40 to 60 calls a day”. I think Hubspot is a good example that the “smarbound” that combines both outbound and inbound and is data driven is the new modern way to do sales.

Claim 4: “Sales have changed more in the past 5 years than in the 50 years before that combined”

Truth or false?

I’m not too sure what the average day of a salesperson in the year 1967 was like. But plain logic would say that a salesperson’s average day in 2012 is closer to today than one in the sixties. In the year 1967 there was no internet, email, mobile phones, powerpoints and I could imagine the decision process of an organization being much more hierarchic. In 2012 we had social media, automated marketing SaaS-based CRM: s and the educational material had the same terms like personal branding and solution sales.

When talking about the critical period of sales you must realize that although technology is advancing fast, the central terms of sales don’t change that fast. A good proof of that is a book written by Dale Carnegie in the year 1936 “How to win friends and influence people”, which still is one the books about sales (among other things) written on this day.

Claim 5:”Nowadays a B2B-buyer has already gone through 57% of the sales path before the first contact with the seller”

Truth or false?

False. This is a good example of a “fact” that has totally spun out of control and without context it is a really misleading statement. The basis of this fact has been thoroughly looked in to by many places including the Vainu Blog. I’ve found that one of the most talked about “facts” is based on a study conducted on only 22 B2B-organizations. The original report is 41 pages long and the number 57% is mentioned once on page 2. The maker of the report CEB also put in a disclaimer that because of the size of the focus group and the format the number can’t be applied to different kinds of purchase and sales processes.

Claim 6: “A modern salesperson can’t get along without a social media presence”

Truth or false?

False. For example we at Vainu have a lot of people that have great sales results and some are active on social media and some aren’t. Social media can of course be used as a tool to boost a salesperson’s results but in no way is it a must.

Claim 7: “All the buyers are on social media”

Truth or false?

False. A really comprehensive compaction of the Finnish statistics can be found in the great blog of Harto Pönkä which states that of the Finnish populous you can find 2,7 million on Facebook, 700,00 on Twitter and less than a million on Twitter. It is also good to note that the number of daily users might vary a lot from these numbers. For example only 150,000 people tweet monthly according to the same source. You can still find television shows that are watched by more than a million people and the number of people that have totally stopped watching television is rather small. This being said you rarely hear about all the buyers being active television watchers.

Who is lying to us?

Most people just do it unknowingly. Often it can also just be about exaggerating facts and using this to alarm ones network or audience to an importance of an issue. Exaggerating is surely an effective method for this.

Many of these statements taken out of context are plainly false and are taking the talk about sales and marketing in a totally wrong direction. The world isn’t black and white and the same goes for sales. It is important to interpret trends and one should try to adapt them to the context of ones own organization and field. Media literacy is emphasized.

The best result usually come from the organizations that take the most systematic approach to sales and marketing.

True or false?

Author: Mikko Koskinen, Vainu.io, Originally published: https://blog.vainu.io/fi/valheita-myynnista/