Several years ago I wrote about customers asking for information. This is often a way to blow off salespeople.
The post refers to the concept of activity versus result. We in sales can show activity, but it should always point to a result. Salespeople ought to want to move forward with their process, with their quota and with sales. Salespeople do not want to have activity for its own sake.
Collateral, documentation, etc. have their place. They bring a prospect to an educated point, they raise customer awareness and bring customers to salespeople. If the customer is already speaking to sales then it is time to move forward with our process. Collateral here makes sense only if it is in conjunction with a bona fide sales process, next steps that are time-bound (i.e. exactly when?) and speak to a comprehension of pain and issues.
Otherwise, a customer saying “send me a pdf” is akin to their saying “let me give you something to do so I avoid actually speaking with you or taking action.” Let us be frank. How many times is “send me information” a polite way to say “I am dismissing you.”
Customer: “send me information.”
Salesperson Good: “Great! Customer is interested. I will send them information.” Most of the time this leads to a customer disappearing on salesperson.
Salesperson Better: “Thanks for requesting information. However, what exactly are you looking to find out? I want to make sure it is exactly relevant to your need. I may also be able to answer it right now.” Most of the time this either leads to a serious sales prospect (because Better salesperson will dig out pain and make the information relevant and personalized) or disqualifying a false prospect.
Salespersons should ask themselves honestly: how many times have you sent “information” to customers and it has not only not resulted in sales, but also there has not even been a follow-through?
Sales happen when customers have a reason to act. The Salesperson has tallied the ROI, spoken to the decision-maker and made them know why they need the solution. In such cases, the very least one could do is couple the sending of the information with a Calendar to discuss it. Although, again, why send information that the customer can discuss with their Account Manager/Regional Sales Manager?
*Things that need to go away: Confusing activity with actually selling something