By: Norman Behar on May 22nd, 2012
Improve Sales Prospecting Process Through Better Targeting
Let’s face it, most sales reps need to spend more time sales prospecting. In our experience sales reps avoid the sales prospecting process because they associate prospecting with cold calling, and calling ice cold leads is not a productive use of time.
In an ideal world, Marketing would provide Sales with an unlimited number of “sales-ready”, warm leads. Unfortunately, it rarely works out that way. Sooner or later, most sales reps run out of warm leads, and then they have to make cold calls.
So how can you make the sales prospecting process more productive for your team?
Remember that the purpose of prospecting is appointment setting, not selling. The actual sales dialogue begins at the first meeting; when the prospect has set aside sufficient time to have a productive conversation with you (as opposed to being caught off guard by your phone call), and you have had sufficient time to adequately prepare.
In order to get a prospect to agree to have a meeting, you must capture their interest. The best way to do this is to target your prospecting on prospects who are predisposed to having an interest in your solution. This means careful targeting of the right types of companies, decision-makers, and opportunities.
Here are some effective guidelines:
- Begin with a targeted list of people and/or companies.
- Be organized, consistent, and disciplined with respect to your goals.
- Call the highest-level person you believe is the decision-maker. If that person is not the decision-maker, they’ll likely be able to tell you who is.
- Qualify that individual through a few probing questions, not only to see if they are the right person but if there is also a potential business fit.
- If there is, set the appointment.
The best way to increase the time your team spends prospecting is to increase their odds for success. Precise targeting is a great first step.
You might also enjoy these articles on Sales Prospecting:
- What to Do When a Prospect Isn't Ready to Buy
- How to Effectively Get Your Prospect's Attention
- How to Prevent a Prospect From Going Silent After Your Proposal
- Generating New Business with Referral Prospecting
About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.