The Agony and the Ecstasy of Bagging the “Big Fish”
Any sales professional worth their salt knows that if they don’t land an appointment with the right target prospect, there are no sales outcomes. Yet, sales prospecting and securing appointments is one of the most challenging and dreaded aspects of a salesperson’s day. This is equally true with the intrepid senior sales executive or a newbie just out of college. If your sales team is just not making the grade in securing appointments, there may be something wrong with their approach, strategy or execution.
They’re not alone. More than 40% of salespeople say prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, followed by closing (36%) and qualifying (22%).
There’s a relationship between the number of opportunities in your pipeline each month and quota attainment. HubSpot Research found 72% of companies with less than 50 new opportunities per month didn’t achieve their revenue goals, compared to 15% with 51 to 100 new opportunities and just 4% for companies with 101 to 200 new opportunities.
Devote time to prospecting each and every day. You should be prospecting just as much on the first day of the month or quarter as the last. Gong’s data science team analyzed 15 months of data and found that average salespeople made far more calls in the last month of the quarter than the first two. And the success rate of those “eleventh hour” calls were usually lower.
Follow the old cliché: Strike while the irons hot!
Identifying sales-ready opportunities and scheduling sales calls with prospects who are close to a spending decision is critical to maintaining a healthy pipeline. Every B2B seller knows this. And yet prospecting, the Achilles heel of many sales aficionados, often gets put on the back burner. Sales devotes its valuable resources to closing deals, and SDRs often focus on the volume of calls they can book, not the quality of the opportunity. You’re left scrambling to fill gaps. But what do you do if you don’t have enough SDR resources to prospect into top accounts? Here are a few tips:
• Set appointments based upon your targets.
• Only identify decision-makers
• Overlay intent data to identify prospects who are in-market
• Understand your prospects’ interests before speaking with them
• Convert a higher percentage of website visitors into leads
• Connect with more prospects over email
• Automatically track and organize every sales attempt.
To win sales calls with decision-makers who are ready to buy, you need to:
• Identify in-market prospects who are actively researching your product or service
• Ramp up your prospecting efforts quickly to meet near-term revenue goals
• Utilize call center professionals who understand your business’s core value proposition
• Acquire an experienced team that’s committed to cultivating sales-ready opportunities
Make the call; make the appointment; make your sales quota!
One of the mainstays of any business is getting appointments with influential people in an organization. Please take note that I didn’t write “contact the ‘right’ person,” or “the ‘decision maker.’” It is rare that you can reach the CMO or CFO and get an appointment. However, if you are feeling a bit “saucy,” go for it. Once you demonstrate that you are an industry expert and can add value for your potential client, your chance of success increases exponentially.
Businesses today have a range of people involved with any purchase, particularly those in an enterprise. Unless you are very skilled at getting in to see the “right” people, your focus should be on getting in the front door and moving up the value chain. You should have one objective and one objective only – to put your prospect at ease as quickly as possible in order to schedule an appointment with them.
Research and Prepare
Cold calling may seem like a mundane task. However, you must remember that your company’s reputation is on the line each and every time someone makes a bad call. Demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, and are able to provide value-added information or resources.
“Build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.”
– Chris Brogan, Chief Executive Officer of Owner Media Group
Create quick wins to keep your revenue projections on track
Easier said than done? Identifying sales-ready opportunities and scheduling sales calls with prospects who are close to a spending decision is critical to maintaining a healthy pipeline.
Every B2B seller knows this. And yet prospecting often gets put on the back burner. Sales devotes its valuable resources to closing deals, and SDRs often focus on the volume of calls they book, not the quality of the opportunity.
Shorten the sales cycle with a vendor partner who will set up appointments
If your team is struggling to wade through the muck of cold calling, it might be time to bring in some backup. A vendor partner can take care of the dreaded legwork of setting up quality appointments for your sales team so that your representatives can focus on closing more deals, faster.
When looking at vendor partners, it’s important to ask the following questions:
• How big is their contact record database?
• Can they fill your pipeline with enough appointments to keep your sales team fat and happy?
• What sorts of CRM features are offered?
• Can the quality of the appointments be verified, or are they dead-end leads?
• How will the cold callers represent you and your company?
• How responsive is this vendor? You don’t want to be waiting for answers to important queries and concerns.
If these questions are answered positively, you might be on the right track to a beautiful relationship with the right vendor for you, and your sales team will thank you for it.
“It’s not about having the right opportunities. It’s about handling the opportunities right.”
– Mark Hunter, Author, Sales Speaker