Analyse what even your best sales people spend time on. How much of it is spent really selling?
By selling, I mean, having calls with prospects, planning pitches, having prospect meetings, chasing deals, negotiating and closing.
Think of it, 49 out of 50 or 99 out of 100 prospects your sales people chase will not become a paying client. That means your sales people will spend time on finding prospects to target online, trying to reach them through switchboards and/or bouncy emails and ignored Inmails.
All the productivity and creativity is geared towards searching, and not towards selling.
Many companies employ full time lead generators, if you have the budget and management capacity for this. Others buy sales databases or outsource their lead generation or appointment setting.
Automated prospecting can be an option. The prospecting process ought to cover: segmenting, targeting, finding the right contacts, obtaining verified e-mails, contacting, chasing and some sort of looking back/reporting so you know what you are doing works.
If your email contains a direct sales ask and it looks like a 121 email, then the leads you get back in usually very interested in what you have to buy, so just one or two emails or a call and a qualified meeting is set.
Many times I get prospects saying “What a coincidence, we were just talking about this. You got in touch at exactly the right time” as though they were the only person I contacted that day. Truth is that if you contact 50 new people in a day, then a few of them you will hit at the right time. And as we know, timing is one of the most important factors to sales success, so more than focusing on conversion to meeting, you gain leads that have a better chance of closing overall.
Of course there will always be your ‘Hot List’. Those prospects you follow in the press, or would be your “whale” of a client that is worth a bit of clever salesmanship to open up the door. These ones can still receive some automation, don’t exclude them as you do want to also just hit them at the right time, but these are the ones that will smash targets and be long-term strategically important to your company.
You can subscribe to “Marketing Week”, “The Drum” and all the industry mags for nuggets of information that can make your sales people sound super knowledgeable. I’ve seen these magazines stay in their wrappers, as no-one wants their highly paid staff sat around flicking through magazines. Some will read them in their lunch breaks or evenings, others log on to their membership websites during work time and search through for something they can use. (If you have a good team, otherwise, these expensive subscriptions sit there unused)
Databases of company insight can be real time savers. They curate all the important stuff that sales people can actually use to open doors. Good insight will be constantly updated, from wide range of sources (Preferably from conversations with companies as well as industry mags). Your sales people still have to use it, but the time saved from finding the hook and the email means that more companies can be prioritised onto your hot list.
In an ideal world you would want your sales people to be supported by both…. An insight and directory to support speedy, tailored approaches to your hot list, and some automation to look after the volume and ensure a steady stream of leads.
I’m a freelance sales person so I’ve tried out lots of platforms, approaches and services. I’ve used lots of tools, and (disclaimer) sell the two that have worked best for me with my sales across a variety of clients. Always keen to have a chat about sales and hear what anyone else is having success with too.
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