“They are stuffing my gold into their desk drawers!” said Richard Brock.
“What are you talking about?” I asked. “Our direct mail campaigns are generating an incredible number of qualified leads. We sort them by sales territory and then give them to the reps.”
Peril of Low-Hanging Fruit
Brock said, “Yes, they are working on the low hanging fruit, but the rest of the leads get stuffed in their desk drawer. It is driving me crazy.”
These were the days of the introduction of the PC, back in 1981. We were the leading software vendor providing software to CPAs nationwide. Within months of the IBM PC hitting the streets, the market demand for our product went off the charts. Our reps were closing $3,000 software deals on the first call. It was a fun time.
But not for Richard.
By contrast, our national sales manager believed we had just the right number of salesmen to cover the country.
Richard disagreed. He just knew we needed more salesmen. The problem was, he couldn’t prove it.
The Reps Are Skimming
One thing we did was create a lead qualifying group. All the leads we generated via direct mail were sorted by territory then given to the lead qualifier for that set of territories.
The lead qualifier contacted the prospect and scored their interest by asking them five questions. Then they would categorize the lead as Ready-to-Buy, 30 to 60 Days or Interested.
These leads were then given to the sales reps. Each lead was tracked manually. We did all we could to satisfy Richard and his angst of wasting great leads.
Richard continued to maintain the sales reps were skimming. That is, making quota by closing a small percentage of the leads we gave them.
After we sold the business, Richard started a new company to address this problem, Brock Control Systems. He created a software product which tracked individual sales productivity with meticulous lead tracking.
Brock Invents Salesforce Automation
In 1985, Richard coined the term “salesforce automation.” Yes, he invented the category. He was so successful the company went public on the NASDAQ in 1992.
I almost joined Richard in 1986. I still remember him pitching me on how he came to this idea. He said, “Just like I invented the concept of practice management for CPAs, I will create a practice management for businesses to manage their salesforce.”
Practice management for CPAs captured time sheet data. With this data, Richard could do everything from billing and accounts receivable to measuring productivity and effective billing rates. It was brilliant.
Essence of a Perfect Pitch
That is the story of how Brock Control Systems started and eventually became a public company with a value approaching $100 million.
Every great start-up business pitch I’ve ever heard is a story. This is a story with three critical components.
- How the market problem was discovered.
- Why the solution is necessary, practical and doable.
- Why the entrepreneur is the right person to do it.
And all this is accomplished when the entrepreneur tells his story. It all just makes sense. No hyperbole. Just a story, their story. When you hear it, your reaction will always be, “That not only make sense, but it can be a great business.”
You know you have a great story when you see people light up with excitement. The investor will get the concept immediately and ask relevant questions.
When this happens, funding is not far behind!