We received this email from a customer the other day. It reflects a lot of the chasm between what business owners think and what salespeople know. Virtually no product sells itself. If it did, web orders would be overflowing and this email would not be necessary.

As more and more “selling” goes online, how do companies proportion the value of sales talent? For instance, does the company below hire an inexperienced phone rep since the product sells itself, or do they allocate more of the marketing budget to a true sales pro?

We have always lived by the mantra, “The most expensive mistake in business is giving a good lead to a bad salesperson.”  Think about it in the case below. A weak rep filling the slot as the prospect describes will eventually not convert a deal that could have been won.  What if that prospect was a new customer vs, a repeat orderer. Most likely, that prospect won’t be back, and the lifetime value of their orders is lost.

It doesn’t seem like good business to skimp on sales talent. Great salespeople bridge gaps that marketing can’t. Even when the iPhone 1 came out, reps in AT&T stores still had to sell it. Sure, some were clamoring in long lines to buy it, but what percentage of buyers weren’t? What is the lifetime value to Apple of those devoted iPhone users?

Our two cents is to find somewhere else to skimp and insist upon great sales talent.