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Why is selling to organisations so inefficient?

Author: Martin Kelly, CEO and Founder, INNOVO Network

A visitor from outer space might marvel at many of the innovations and technologies that mankind has developed. In almost every field of human endeavour we achieve so much more than our ancestors. We can send a probe to Pluto, we are curing many diseases. We make amazing high tech products which are 99.99% reliable.

However, when it comes to how organisations buy and sell from one another our space visitor would be struck by how terribly inefficient it is compared to everything else.

 Anyone selling to organisations will recognise the sales pipeline for new customer acquisition. The marketing team approaches many targets down different channels in order to generate leads for the sale team. “Good” response rates are under 10%. Yet this means that over 90% of approaches have failed. Even when the sales team gets the lead, a meeting is not guaranteed. In spite of all of this effort, 91% of sales meetings will fail to yield a sale according to the Harvard Business Review.

Why does selling to organisations have failure rates of 90% - 99% when everything else involves processes which are 99.99% reliable? Imagine if flying, hospital operations or even the products we all buy had failure rates of 90% - 99%!

Not only is selling to organisations more inefficient than almost any other field of human endeavour, it’s actually got a lot worse over the centuries. People have been selling to organisations for thousands of years. In fact as soon as man created the first organisation, people started selling to it. I doubt whether vendors in the days of the Roman Empire had 99% failure rates when trying to sell.

What makes this even more puzzling, is that the technology that we have for selling has improved dramatically. From prospect databases to target customer profiles on social media, we have access to the best sales tools in the history of mankind yet we are getting worse!

“Why is this so?”, like all of the really big questions, generates many subsequent questions:

• How much does all of this inefficiency cost?

• Who pays for it? (This is the easiest one: customers pay)

• Why is it getting worse?

• Why does it seem to be acceptable?

• With all of man’s ingenuity, why has it never been improved?

• Above all: How do we really start to improve it?

INNOVO believes we can change this. With the amount of time and money spent innovating things today; there must be a way to increase the efficiency of the sales department. Would you agree? 

What if you could actually lower your customer acquisition costs, through building relationships with unresponsive new clients, and receiving orders rather than asking for them? Interesting, wouldn't you say? At INNOVO we've come up with an innovative way to do just that, but I'm curious what you have to say.


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