Any people working in sales here? I have a question.

I'm basically retired, but took on a job doing fundraising for a respected musical institution. I'm new to telephone selling and am perplexed by the logic behind sales organizations.

I call phone numbers of people who have patronized this organization in the past and have made donations to the organiation's operating fund, primarily to fund engaging the public. Thus, it's what they call "warm calling" rather than "cold calling."

There are various lists depending upon how much the patrons have given in the past, as well as how recently. 

Now, a relatively new person like me gets a list like "Donors from last year who gave less than $100" or "Donors who gave for years but didn't give last year." 

More experienced people, who I'm told are the company's best fundraisers (salespeople) get lists like "Reliable donors who gave $1200+ last year."

When I listen in on the calls the more experienced donors do, they are what we in my retail sales days would have called "lay downs." In other words, people who were ready to part with their cash and part with it easily. 

Obviously, they make the best commissions. 

Why wouldn't it be logical to put your best sellers on the hardest sells? I mean, if sales skills mean anything, that would appear to be the best allocation of resources. Give sellers like me the easy sales and use your high-powered sales people to sell the hard cases.

I feel kind of doomed to failure in a system like this, and I'm sure many sales organizations operate the same way.

To me, it would make more sense to merge all those lists into a single list, to let each salesperson get the leads on a random basis, and only THEN will you really know who your best salespeople are.

Anyone who is, or has been in sales here know a way to explain why sales organizations frequently operate this way?

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Have you run into the issue of old lists that don't get updated and the company's refusal to do any updating since that takes time/money? If it's not a sale, don't update. That was another thing that drove me up a wall.

Three of us worked a list yesterday consisting of people who had no recent record of giving to the organization,and had been called multiple times without answering the phone. None of us made a "sale" and so the money they paid us was down the rat hole. Why not give us a crack at some people who gave 1-100 dollars last year?

I think they do things this way out of laziness: it's always been done this way so why rock the boat. A few days now and then of merged lists might reveal some hidden talent before they quit out of disgust.

I also think that the more experienced salespeople feel a sense of entitlement, having worked with the company for longer. They'd never admit it, but it's modeled after the unionist's idea of seniority.


You may want to consider a quality sales training seminar or two or three or more.

If you are ever in the position of a sales manager needing to make your numbers you will come to understand why a manager will put his best salemen/women on the most fertile ground.


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