When you’re working on an inside sales team with a high volume of inbound leads in the SMB space, it’s easy to fall into the trap of playing the short game.

Tim Thyne
Tim Thyne
Mar 31, 2018 · 4 min read

Every day new leads are coming in with their hands raised expressing interest in buying your product. When you combine this with a short sales cycle and aggressive monthly and quarterly goals it’s easy to get lazy.

Don’t do it.

If you’ve been in sales for a while you know that investing the time in building long-term relationships pays dividends in the future. It’s nearly impossible to understand exactly when those dividends will be paid out — but have faith.

Some deals come in pipeline and close in 60 days or so. Others can take much longer. Persistence and really partnering with folks you know are a good fit and your product can impact their business is worth the effort every time. Although you are always talking and measuring your short-term progress and monthly wins … sales is a long-term game.

One of the most tedious parts of sales is all the check-ins and keeping things warm when you know they’re not going to move right away and impact your month or quarter. It’s the grind of sales that most don’t see from the outside looking in. I’m sharing this story as a little reminder that it’s not only your job to put the effort in and have faith, but it’s worth it.

The customer's name and company is changed for confidentiality.

Slate Manufacturing was introduced to me when Mark Jacobs, my POC at another large customer I worked with took a job there. He called me after his first week on the job and told me he wanted to introduce me to the customer service leaders there. Although he wasn’t on the customer service team, Help Scout had such an impact when we worked together previously he said they need to be aware of us. Right away, I thought, hot lead … and it was. But let’s unfold what’s happened since that call in April of 2017:

Summary:
* Approx 30–40 emails since that initial call from Mark
* 4 calls with the team he introduced me to
* Initial scope was SMALL, estimated at 15 Users using Help Scout (I had a feeling if I could prove success it could be much larger. Committed to going with my gut.)
* As of Q1 2018, they’ve confirmed they’re finally coming onboard with their first team of 15 Users. We’re already talking with other divisions that will be coming online in addition to this first group. We’re now at a scope of 50 Users and growing larger after every call.

Timeline of events:
* Call with Mark in April of 2017 talking about how he wants to make intro …then crickets.
* Email to Mark early May … crickets.
* LinkedIn message to Mark in July … let me know he’ll be in touch soon. Then crickets.
* Email to Mark later in July ... he then made intro to team of customer service leaders.
* Good back and forth on initial discovery and strong interest … then crickets. Again.
* Booked initial demo for end of August. Then it was cancelled.
* More check-in back and forth for months where they answered, but timing wasn’t right.
* Finally decided it was time and another demo booked and delivered end of October 2017.
* Bunch of back and forth the months following. Agreed it was perfect fit, but needed to have internal conversations, work through thoughts, etc. Continued to check in and made it clear we’re ready when they are.
* Check-in emails end of January and early February. This resparked the initiative. They let me knowthey’re ready to chat in greater detail again.
* This month we had call to review what onboarding would look like, review payment terms and set go live date for first teams.

It didn’t take much to stay in touch and give gentle nudges over the months. It wasn’t hard or that time consuming, but it required patience and faith. It’s important to make sure you don’t give up on a potentially great customer just because they may move slower sometimes than you’d like. Think of your time and effort as an investment with long-term returns.

If you’re interested in joining a fast growing team that is invested in making sure their customers are successful and you have a passion for the long-game just as much as the short — we’re hiring!

The Customer Service Blog By Help Scout

Tips and advice for building a customer-centric company, investing in support-driven growth, and delivering exceptional customer service.

Tim Thyne

Written by

Tim Thyne

Blazing the path in customer-centric sales & partnerships at @HelpScout | Pay it forward advocate! Prev @Adored (RIP) @hubspot

The Customer Service Blog By Help Scout

Tips and advice for building a customer-centric company, investing in support-driven growth, and delivering exceptional customer service.

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