Put The Phone Down – I’m Not Ready

No wonder we hate to pick up the phone these days. It’s always a sales call. Seriously. I love technology, marketing automation, CRMs — I couldn’t do my job without them. However, sales teams, please use them wisely or their power will backfire on you.

shutterstock_271058933Yesterday I received a call from a California extension two minutes after I downloaded a piece of content from a California-based organization. I almost didn’t answer the phone because I thought it may be a sales call, but I was also expecting a call today from a 415 number, so I answered it. Big mistake. I didn’t think it was going to be a sales call from the company I just downloaded an eBook from. My reaction to the quickness of the call wasn’t awe – it was awful. The call wasn’t welcome and I wasn’t interested in speaking with someone. I wanted to read the eBook on a subject that I was interested in and nothing more. I was annoyed and resented the interruption.

Why do sales reps think we want to talk to them when we haven’t indicated we are ready? Aren’t they using the technology they have to learn about the buyer before they call? I may have seemed like a potential customer due to my explicit score ( title, role in decision making, company and industry) from my form I was forced to fill out, but I didn’t show any real Engagement behavior (Engage- Nurture-Convert) other than one download. Does that warrant a call? According to a 2015 blog post by Forrester analyst, Lori Wizdo, B2B Buyer Journey Mapping Basics, 74% of buyers report conducting half of their research online before buying offline. And the numbers can be even higher with a large enterprise purchase involving buying committees. Not every download indicates buying behavior!

When to make that first sales call? Only if the buyer does these:

  • Indicates they want a call via self-selection (filled out contact me form or sent an email to please call me)
  • Exhibits Engaged behavior (pattern of downloads over time throughout various stages of journey or binge-downloads of multiple assets)
  • Buyer is one of several from the organization seeking information/active on your site (a buying committee is actively seeking information)
  • Indicated interest via social media (question via LinkedIn group, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

According to a 2015 McKinsey post, Do You Really Understand How Your Business Customers Buy, on average B2B buyers use at least six channels to obtain information prior to purchase and 65% report frustration due to inconsistent experiences. It’s tough being a buyer today because there is too much noise and too little satisfaction.

Buyers know what they want, they are looking to organizations to help them answer their questions and solve their challenges. However, when sales or marketing tries to make contact before buyers are ready, a true disconnect happens and a buyer will disengage, instead of Engage with the organization. Pay attention to true buying signals and indicators of buyer intent before you call your next (potential) customer. Buyers aren’t shy about letting you know when to connect with them – know your buyers before you call or they might not buy from you at all.

Author: Erika Goldwater CIPP/US @erikawg is VP, Marketing for ANNUITAS

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