The most sales prospects … or the best sales prospects?
Most of us at some point in our sales career were told that activity equals results and were forced to make 50-100 dials a day until our ears fell off. Many of us were even forced to use scripts and read them verbatim when trying to manage a call or leave a voicemail. Brutal. This is a pure quantity approach to sales that relies on the laws of averages and luck.
As we gain more experience in our careers, those quantities go down as we try to increase the quality of our approaches. We spend more time digging into each lead and researching it before making the calls or sending the emails. We often abandon the phone and focus our efforts on email because we feel we can craft the perfect message in a safe environment. Many of us even stop prospecting altogether because our leads are given to us and we get comfortable.
Regardless of your role in sales, you should constantly be prospecting to keep a thick and healthy pipeline at all times. A healthy pipeline solves a lot of problems at every other stage of the sales process. For example, if you don’t like to discount, the best thing you can have is a big fat pipeline. When a client tries to squeeze an extra discount out of you at the end of the month, you can push back because you have a bunch of other clients who are willing to pay close to rate card. The “walkaway” close is one of the best and most powerful closes in sales, but can only be done if you have the confidence that comes with not needing the deal. This is just one reason why consistent prospecting is so critical.
So what is the right mix of quantity vs. quality? It depends on what your role is and how much prospecting you must do to hit your target. Regardless, it should be a mix. We shouldn’t do all quantity because we would quickly run out of people to call and most likely annoy the majority of them. We shouldn’t do all quality because we may only get out a handful of emails each day.
To help with time management while determining which prospecting approaches work the best, we recommend a four-step process: Define, Focus, Track, and Measure.
1. Define your approaches
Write down a few different prospecting approaches you will try and make sure there is a mix of quantity and quality. An example of a quantity approach would be to developavery specific value proposition to CFOs in the financial services industry, calling every one of them in your territory, and saying the same thing to see if the message resonates. An example of a quality approach would be to research someone’s website and a trigger event you can tie the value of your solution to.
2. Focus on one approach for a period of time
Block off an hour of time on your calendar to focus on prospecting with one specific approach.
3. Track your results
For each approach you should track how many emails you send, how many of them were opened, how many were responded to, and how many turned into meetings.
4. Measure to see which approaches work best
By comparing conversion ratios from different approaches, you should start to see some approaches working far better than others. So now you know what to concentrate on.