When I insist that Sales Coordinators — and never Salespeople — should make follow-up calls, there’s always a howl of protest from Salespeople. “What about the relationship?” is the instinctive response, followed by, “but Sales Coordinators don’t have technical skills — or sales skills”.

Of course we can immediately discount the instinctive response (Executives have PA’s don’t they?), but it *is* worth considering the implications of a non-technical, non-salesperson performing follow-up calls.

Obviously, if the salesperson’s assistant performs all follow-up calls, the content of these calls cannot be of a technical or sales nature.

And that’s a very good thing!

To understand why, consider why we’re making a follow-up call. The purpose of a follow-up call is simply to schedule (and sometimes to confirm) the next activity in the opportunity-management process. The call is not — and should never be — a sales call. 

The thing is, if you have (field-based) salespeople, we must assume that your product can’t (or shouldn’t) be sold on the phone.  (If you can sell on the phone, get rid of your field-based salespeople and do just that.) Accordingly, we want to quarantine salesmanship (and technical discussions) in face-to-face meetings where they belong. 

If we fail to do this, there’s a very real danger that the opportunity-management process will devolve into an ongoing conversation!

Now, consider what happens to the salesperson when she knows that her sales coordinator will make all follow-up calls.  This forces her to ensure that she has closure at the end of each meeting. In practice, this means that she must get her client to agree to one of the three possible outcomes from each meeting (to proceed to the next activity in the opportunity management process, to repeat the current activity, or to abandon the opportunity).

This means that the purpose of the follow-up call is simply to schedule this next activity. On occasion it will be necessary for the Sales Coordinator to confirm the next step in the opportunity-management process.  (This might be because the prospect has to confer with another person before committing to the next step.) 

In this case, it is the responsibility of the salesperson to explain the various options open to the prospect and advise him that purpose of the Sales Coordinator’s follow-up call will simply be to confirm the appropriate option and then schedule it. This ensures that the Sales Coordinator maintains control over the opportunity-management process and is, of course, in keeping with our primary sales management objective: to maximise opportunity flow.