This is the first in a series of posts for sales leaders.
There are a few common reasons sales organizations struggle to produce the revenue necessary to reach their goals. Still, one of the most common causes is a lack of new opportunities. Without creating enough new opportunities, you make it less likely that you create incremental revenue or reach your goals. The activities that result in new opportunities all come from prospecting. Here is how you talk to your sales force about prospecting.
Prioritizing Opportunity Creation
There are two major outcomes in sales. The first is opportunity creation, which requires prospecting and getting a meeting to help our prospects explore change and the better results we can provide them. The second is opportunity capture, all the other meetings, and interactions we have with our prospective clients.
We prioritize prospecting because without creating enough new opportunities, we cannot reach our goals. We need to create enough new opportunities each week to ensure that we reach our goals as a company, and so you can reach your individual goals.
You will need to have a list of targets in your territory, along with the contact information for the contacts who have titles that suggest that they will benefit from our value proposition, what we do, how we do it, and the better results we deliver. Our work and our goals are too important to rely on leads. We want the largest and most strategic clients in our territories as we define them.
Suppose you don’t have enough targets in your territory. You will need to start by identifying enough targets that you can successfully create the new opportunities you need, with enough of a buffer that you can reach your goals even if a few deals don’t go your way.
Leveraging Our Insights
We are a professional, consultative sales force, and that provides us with a distinct advantage over all our competitors who lack a modern sales approach. Because this is true, we have the necessary insights to command a senior leader or decision-maker’s time and attention. What we can offer them in a half-hour is enough to compel them to explore change and to engage with us. It also separates us from our competition, most of whom are stuck using outdated approaches, causing them to struggle to be relevant.
Our insights and the trends and factors that we track make prospecting easier and faster. It also positions you as a peer and increases your relevance. Our approach feels more like a briefing with an expert instead of someone pitching their solution.
Our approach extends to prospecting by providing you the ability to trade enough value to increase the likelihood that your prospective client will agree to a meeting.
Synchronous Communication First
Even though you are going to use a prospecting sequence made up of multiple touches in multiple mediums over time, we are a phone first organization. We are always going to put synchronous communication mediums first.
We are always going to start every prospecting cadence with phone calls instead of email. By using the phone first, you give yourself the best chance to speak with your client, and if you can book a meeting, you eliminate all the other steps in your prospecting sequence.
Email isn’t an effective medium for scheduling a meeting. While weak salespeople and weak sales organizations try to schedule meetings without having to call and interrupt their prospective clients, we confidently reach out to them by phone, knowing that we can create value for the client and help them improve their results.
Because we prioritize creating new opportunities, you will need to block time to execute your prospecting sequence and your pursuit plan. The minimum daily prospecting block is 90 minutes, and you are going to hold that block sacred, taking no calls, and ignoring your inbox and anything else that might interrupt you.
Some of you are going to need more opportunities to catch up. I will expect you to have two 90 minute blocks on your calendar each day until your pipeline is large enough to support your goals. The effort that you put in here will help get you back on track.
There is a time-based component to prospecting that changes the way we compete for new opportunities and new clients that we have to keep in mind as we do the work of prospecting. When we don’t do the work of prospecting and pursuing our target clients, our competitors have an advantage, which is difficult to overcome. If they beat us to a client who needs better results, getting there first gives them an advantage, even if we compete.
We think about prospecting as a land grab. We want to get there first, compel the client to change, win their business, and create enough value that we retain the client, growing the business over time. Displacing a competitor is difficult enough, but missing an opportunity because we weren’t prospecting means we may have to wait years before we get another opportunity. This is why we never stop pursuing our target accounts; when we let up, we miss the window.
We always work to pull results forward, and winning big deals means we make our competition have to work to displace us, rather than us having to displace them, a better approach when you are a competitive displacement business.
We Always Have More Than We Need
We always have more opportunities than we need to reach our goals. This allows us to walk away from bad deals, and it means we can lose some deals we believe we are going to win without having to worry about it and without missing failing to reach our goals.
Our ability to prospect effectively and our disciplined approach to prospecting is a competitive advantage, especially over our competitors who are afraid of the phone and who allow themselves to be distracted by work outside of opportunity creation and capture.
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Filed under: Leadership