Tag Archives: sales prospecting

Guest Blog: SALES PROSPECTING: EARNING PRESIDENTS AND BENJAMINS FASTER

[fusion_text]Posted by John Ferguson, Senior Consultant with ASLAN Training

John can be reached at jferguson@aslantraining.com
JohnFerguson_SalesProspectingSpending too much time on low probability prospects can put a serious damper on your sales execution and the receptivity of your audience. A sales team that is not effective at qualifying prospects before they begin their sales process is a bit like someone holding a heavy metal concert for a group of classical music enthusiasts. You may have gotten people’s attention, but they aren’t going to like what they hear. Prospecting is one of the most critical activities for any sales team, but it needs to be handled effectively in order for your reps and your organization to reap the maximum benefit.

Why Prospecting Matters and How We Get Distracted From It

Sales Prospecting is one of, if not the single most important activity that sales reps can engage in. It represents the very top of the sales funnel and the first activity that needs to be completed in order to establish new sales.

It seems counterintuitive, then, that many sales reps seem to be opposed to prospecting. They constantly make excuses not to do it, claiming they have other concerns to tend to, that they don’t get paid to prospect, or that they are already filling their quota. They end up putting it off indefinitely until it never ends up happening. Even the sales reps who don’t postpone their prospecting are often hindered by a less obvious foe: low probability prospects.

Avoiding Low Probability Prospecting

One of the most important things for a sales rep to learn is how to avoid low probability prospecting, or targeting prospecting efforts towards those who are not well qualified. There are several kinds of unqualified prospects; in some cases, prospects may be unqualified because they do not currently have the budget for what you are selling, but will, soon. Other prospects may appreciate the value of what you offer but don’t have a need for it right now. Although it is certainly worthwhile to keep these prospects in mind for future efforts, it is important for a sales rep to be prospecting for those who are currently qualified to purchase what they are offering.

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How can a well-meaning sales rep avoid the trap of low probability prospecting? It’s not always easy. Even the most seasoned sales reps have moments where they are engaging with a prospect they thought was qualified, but ends up not being a good fit for their products or services for whatever reason.

One of the easiest ways to avoid low probability sales prospecting is to use quality prospecting processes. Prospecting tools, such as CRM platforms, are designed to help make it easy for sales reps to determine whether or not they are targeting prospects that need what they are selling. With the right CRM, you can develop a sophisticated buyer persona, allowing you to set out your guidelines for a perfect prospect:

  • Need: there should be an issue or problem that your service or product can help address
  • Willingness to act: will the prospect be willing to purchase what you have to offer any time soon?
  • Decision-maker access: do you have access to the one who is capable of making this kind of decision?
  • Priority: does your solution rank high enough in the organizational priority list?
  • Budget: they should have enough money to afford what you are offering

These are five things needed for a prospect to be qualified, but these characteristics are only the beginning. Sales reps also have to work to make a connection and relationship with the prospect so that your business can be considered a suitable vendor with whom the prospect will choose to spend money.

Remember that for any organization, a sales rep is not the only method for prospecting. The creation and utilization of marketing content through marketing automation platforms can be a great asset for helping with qualifying prospects in the early stages. Also, make sure to ask for referrals from past business partners or groups to aid in your qualification process.

The potential for prospecting is endless. Once you and your sales team understand that saying “no” to a prospect isn’t the end of the world, you will succeed in your efforts to find qualified customers for your business and stop wasting time on low probability prospecting. Take a few minutes to review your pipeline and sales activity from the previous year and it should be easier to identify and highlight some of the low probability prospects from your pipeline and learn to focus on the ones that have the best chance of helping you meet your sales goals.

ASLAN for Life: Life is full of prospects where you can invest your personal time and effort. Choosing who and what you will serve determines the measure of success at the end of the race.

– See more at: http://www.aslantraining.com/blog/sales-prospecting-earning-presidents-and-benjamins-faster#sthash.nfTL8pl3.dpuf[/fusion_text]

5 Tips for Developing an Effective Inside Sales Call Scripts

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For an inside sales rep, your first sales conversation with a prospective customer is not only your most challenging, it is easily your most important. Having an effective inside sales call script is the first step in converting your conversations into revenue.

So no pressure. Here are 5 tips to help you develop an effective inside sales call script:

12 Bad Habits Destroy Inside Sales ProductivityTip #1: First impressions count

You only have one chance to make your first impression on the phone. Social media and email correspondence can warm up your leads, but it isn’t until you actually speak to your prospect on the phone, that you will be able to introduce yourself and move your prospect to the next step in the sales process. Just as important, it is also your chance to qualify or disqualify your prospect.

Tip #2: Go Slow

Early in my career I always tended to rush the call. I’m not sure why, but I wanted to get all the information I wanted to convey into the first 30 seconds of the conversation. Through experience, I learned it was much better to go slow. Slowing down allows the customer to understand and listen to your message.

 

Tip #3: Keep goal of sales call in mind

Sales is a series of discrete steps.Keep the goal of your call in mind. For instance, if this is your first call (cold call), your goal may be to simply establish contact and determine if you are speaking to the right person. Your next step may be a demo or discovery call where you spend more time qualifying your prospect and understanding their needs. Third might be a demo. Don’t try to do it all at once in the first call.

Tip #4: Simplify

Another rookie mistake is to try to recite the ENTIRE script you learned in training… word-by-word… in one breath… without giving the prospect a chance to answer…

Instead, get to the point quickly, but don’t read your script. Keep it short, concise and to the point. Identify the purpose of the call and work towards your goal.

Tip #5: Be Prepared

When manually cold calling you may go through a lot of dials before getting a connect. You can lose focus with the tedium of dialing, leaving messages, and dealing with gatekeepers. You can certainly day dream and then be “surprised” when someone answers the phone.

If you’re using a high-speed sales dialing solution, like ConnectLeader Team Dialer, the connections come fast and furiously. You need to be ready to jump right into that call in less than a second. You need to be prepared to greet the customer and accomplish your goal (See Tip #2). A few ways to improve your calling skills is to conduct a “self-audit”. Are you using a lot of non-verbal fillers (i.e. ahhh, umm, so)? Are you “speaking over” the customer? Preparation helps you project confidence. Even if you are a new inside sales rep, being prepared helps you get up to speed faster.

Your sales manager or coach can help you by listening in on the calls and providing feedback during the call. Role playing can help too.[/fusion_text]

Tips for Building a High Growth B2B Sales Team

[fusion_text]Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome Chris Salisbury to the ConnectLeader sales team.  Chris was formerly with Dyn, the Manchester, NH DNS Provider. Chris will be sharing his sales  tips for ConnectLeader in future B2B Sales blogs. 

When I started out at Dyn, I was the single sales rep. among a team of engineers. It didn’t take much time before they wanted to kick me out of the office because I was being “loud” and talking on the phone all day. It seemed my colleagues preferred a more “Zen-like” environment.

The early days, the b2b sales process was pretty chaotic as we struggled without the proper sales and marketing tools. Everything started to improve when our company adopted Salesforce.com as our CRM platform. In those days, we made lots of cold calls and followed up with emails. We learned that Engineers liked to hide behind email and once they were comfortable, they would accept a phone call.

Managing the Growth of a B2B Sales Team

As the company grew, my team expanded to 8 to 12 sales reps. and at the height of our growth managed  450+ accounts and a full book of business. What really pushed the team over the top was when I started assigning my book of business to my sales team. I would assign the the accounts based upon the traits and personalities of each individual sales rep. This strategy really worked well and we quickly became the fastest growing team in the company.

Finding Reps with that “Sales Mojo”

The traits I looked for in new sales reps was an individual who was hungry for success, driven, passionate and have lots of energy. Some folks call this “Sales Mojo”. Most importantly, I looked for focus. During the interview process, I would ask “if I handed you the world as your sales territory, how would you start?” While there were always lots of variations on the answer, I was looking for focus and direction. Do they have a definitive plan. Some of my most successful reps had direction, planning, and focus down to a science. If they started going off course, they would review their plan and simply re-adjust or pivot. Of course, sometimes being focused and persistent can have a downside. I spent nearly three years chasing one account, even sending  a piece of granite to Europe (New Hampshire is known as the “Granite State”). Unfortunately, they never became a customer. I still wish I could get that one back.

My only regret from my experience at Dyn was that I didn’t have a dialing productivity tool like Personal Dialer from ConnectLeader. I used to make 50 to 60 manual dials as part of my daily prospecting regimen. It would take me all day and it was a real pain. Now I’m making an average of 150 dials a day. But thanks to ConnectLeader’s technology, it takes me about 1 1/2 hours to make those dials. Now I actually have some extra time time to write a blog post or two.

Feel free to contact Chris Salisbury directly at:

Direct Telephone: (603) 952-2512

email: csalisbury@connectleader.com

twitter: @ChrisSalisbury

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Early and Often – The importance of meticulous sales prospecting

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“Vote Early, Vote Often” was coined by Al Capone to make fun of the  “less than honest”  past political practices. I’m not suggesting you use any “questionable” practices, however, in my experience, “early and often” can result in expanding your sales pipeline and putting a little more “green” in your pocket.

 

Many times our prospects and clients are focused on measuring sales lead metrics around Meetings Scheduled or Qualified Leads.

I agree — These call results are the absolute best.  However, often times you might be calling prospects but the timing is off or they do not have a compelling reason to try your product at that time.

There is something to be said for the “early and often” factor though.  And it’s what you do with these Follow Ups or these Referral Connects that really matters.

As a real world example, here is how one early lead generated from a sales prospecting session in March 2013 resulted in a Sale at the end of Q1 2014.

March 2013

  • Spoke with the top Marketing executive on an Live Conversation Automation Sales Prospecting Session.
  • The prospect was impressed with the outbound calling technology I was using to get him/her live and agreed our value prop was strong
  • Unfortunately, there was not a compelling reason at that time.  Their sales team was not really “sales forward” and there were no real concerns around marketing program effectiveness etc.
  • Over the next 2-3 quarters, I consistently maintained contact with my prospect.  This consisted of many voicemails, conversations and email.

Mid-February 2014

  • I received a call from my contact that a new Sales VP was hired.  (Key Trigger Event).  Was told I would be introduced to this person.
  • Held a discovery call and demo with the Sales VP, Marketing executives among others.  Discussed their challenges which had to do with lead conversion rates.

Mid-March 2014

  • Client Ran a 7-10 day trial.  Trial Results exceeded Established Trial Criteria.

March 31 2014

  • Closed the Deal!
  • Wrapped up Q1 with a nice win!

Moral of the story?

  1. Stay meticulous — Stay on top of all your sales and marketing generated activities – there might be Gold there.
  2. If you start having conversations with your sales prospects and accounts early and often, who is more likely to win the business?  You or your competitor?  In the example above, I did not even have a competitor.

Now, Go get em!

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