nicubunu_Emoticons_Silence_faceKiteDesk’s CEO explains why salespeople still need to pick up the damn phone.

We delete emails like robots. Social selling works, but only when we remember to put the “social” back in social media. Phone conversations are what really drive sales.

Why? Because sales begins with relationships, and relationships are built and cemented when we speak to other people.

I met Sean Burke—CEO of KiteDesk—when his company named me one of the 30 top social sales influencers in the world. Sean and I talked about changing buyer habits, the role of technology in sales, and how digital communication with clients stacks up against the real thing. When he told me how important phone conversations are to KiteDesk’s success, I asked him to share their story with you.

In this week’s guest post, he explains why the personal touch still matters in sales:

“I could sum up KiteDesk’s sales story in one sentence: We HAVE to use the phone. Period.

At our early-stage technology company, 100 percent of clients have required multiple phone conversations before they were ready to sign up for our sales platform.

To help illustrate this point, we did a waterfall analysis of 300 leads, generated by a recent webinar. We wanted to see how KiteDesk compared to the benchmarks SiriusDecisions shared in its recent report.

High-Touch Trumps High-Tech

Below are our results, captured over a two-week period. These leads have not yet moved through our sales process, so we don’t have sales conversions numbers. But it’s already clear that person-to-person contact (talking to a real,live human being) makes a difference:


MQL – Marketing Qualified Lead SAL – Sales Accepted Lead
SQL – Sales Qualified Lead BQL – Business Qualified Lead*

* BQL is an optional step in our sales process, representing a client’s need to internally build a business case for KiteDesk, since most don’t have a previously-approved budget for our platform.


They Responded to Our Calls, Not Our Emails

In addition to calling these leads, we also sent them emails reinforcing the message we delivered over the phone. These emails resulted in ZERO responses.

We are currently digging into areas where we need to improve (for example, the 586 ineffective calls) before our next campaign. But regardless of the shortcomings in our execution, one thing is clear: Having live conversations with prospects is still the most effective way to secure new clients and get deals done.

That’s why I enjoyed Joanne’s book, Pick Up the Damn Phone! One quick tip I picked up from it: Don’t rush to demo your software (which we totally DID). Based on Joanne’s guidance, we have ditched the demo as the first step in our process, and are instead getting to know and understand our prospects’ needs first, before we try to impress them with what our product can do. This change has really helped us connect better with clients. And after all, isn’t that what sales is about?”

sean burkeAbout the Author

Sean Burke, CEO of KiteDesk, is a seasoned sales and marketing executive who’s quickly gaining recognition as a social sales pioneer. His belief that companies should be able to measure and cultivate the reach, efficacy, and impact of all social connections has caught the attention of Forbes as well as dozens of Fortune 1,000 sales organizations. Sean is also a serial entrepreneur and founding member of nine technology companies.