But the sales call report will look good.....

Ed Marsh | Nov 26, 2015

A quiet and contemplative spot

A really quick bit of context.

Ipswich_river.jpgI'm a management & strategy consultant because I'm good at what I do and help companies substantially improve their condition.  And also for a variety of lifestyle and professional considerations.  (e.g. I can travel when/where I decide; work with clients that I know want to improve and that I can impact, etc.)  One of the most compelling is to be able to work from my small office in an idyllic New England town just on the coast about one hour north of Boston.

From the windows at the back of my office I see a tidal river flowing it's last mile to the ocean and a handsome renovated mill building, and in the other direction the oldest stone arch bridge in the US

market_street.jpgFrom the windows in the front I overlook the quintessential small New England town main street (called Market Street in this case) and during the all too brief shoulder seasons when it's neither brutally cold nor oppressively humid, through the open windows I smell the malt from the nearby Ipswich Ale Brewery, the salty ocean air, and the steak tips and burgers on the grill at the iconic Choate Bridge Pub.

Aside from traffic and siren noise and occasional spasms of yapping from my dachsunds that often accompany me to the office, it's just about perfect.  And it's pretty well hidden so aside from frequent phone calls, I can concentrate without a lot of distractions.

I am grateful to have such a perfect spot and am especially thankful (those who know me will know I say this frequently - it's not some cheesy Thanksgiving meme) that I don't face the arduous commute in and out of Boston that many I know do.

It may not be your cup of tea, but it's just about perfect for me.

That is, it was until Tuesday.......

A moment of excruciating (or delicious) irony

On Tuesday I was on a conference call (no, I was taking notes, not checking my email) in the middle of an interesting conversation when suddenly I heard the front door slam, someone thundering up the steps and saw the door to my office fly open.

"Hey, how ya doin!?" he asked before I had time to mute my phone.

"I'm the Google Ad guy here to show you how to get started with our program!"

Had I not been on the phone I might have asked if he found any irony in making physical cold calls to sell internet advertising.  In fact I might have asked a number of other questions.

Instead I said "Actually I'm pretty familiar with Google Ads.  I advise clients on their digital marketing."

"Oh" he responded, "So you probably just want to get me out of here?"

Not sure if he was going to see that as the "objection" that he could use to reverse to a close I opted for a straightforward answer...."Yeah, that would be great."

Thankfully he left, I was able to unmute my phone and get back to my call.

But if cold calling still strikes even in my little quiet, hidden office, it must still be rampant.  And if it's practiced for products and services which are really dissonant with the idea of cold calling, then it's certainly used for many others.

That's truly the interruption marketing that David Meerman Scott talks about in this great video from the Content Marketing Institute.

But what about activity based management of B2B sales?

Well, you tell me.  This "google ad" guy will turn in a call report showing he's out kicking in doors and doing the activities that he's told if done diligently will lead to results.

Think that's going to work?

I don't either.

All he'll have done is annoyed more folks like me.

Turning again to @DMScott, his recent article "Obsessing Over Sales Forecasts Does Nothing for Your Buyers" makes the point that all your energy should be focused on helping your prospects buy.

Yet, just like my friend the google ad guy, sales reps for many industrial manufacturing companies hit the road (or the phones) every day to interrupt...while their employers become ever more crafty at preventing such interruptions themselves (unmanned gates & doors with cameras and buzzers, caller ID, etc.)

What's wrong with that picture?  This 10 minute narrated picture book will help to boil it down.

I am thankful

I have many blessings in my life for which I am genuinely and sincerely thankful.  But here's the sort of cheesy Thanksgiving angle you've been waiting for.  I'm also thankful that I've encountered the people and ideas that have helped me translate my observations about changes in B2B buying into actionable insights that help companies thrive.

If you'd like to be more thankful and less fretful about your industrial sales a year from now, check out how to make it happen in this free eBook.

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