Good Prospecting is Boring

Good prospecting is boring. We’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks how true this is for our own telesales organization.

We had been on quite a “roll” securing new business and leads all over the place for our clients for a few months. Then we relaxed a bit, got a bit less detail-focused and “voila” things slowed up in the pipeline. So we spent the last couple of weeks looking into what was causing this slow down what we have found was details. It turned out small differences in how “type A” we were being really impacted our results.

Some specific areas that we found:

  • Scheduling Follow Up Calls: some of our sales team got into the habit of scheduling follow-up calls one or several weeks out. But deals have their own tempo and when leads are warm that tempo needs to increase. Follow-up should be sooner for warm leads. We started to shorten our follow-up time, especially on warm leads and right away our sales pipeline improved. A pretty boring detail.
  • Note Taking: CRM systems are pretty boring. But taking good notes on your interactions with prospects is very important if you “team sell”. Team selling can be extremely powerful it lets others come up with ideas you may have missed. But team members can only help you if you take enough notes for them to know what’s going on with that contact/account. We started getting “type A” on our notes again and came up with new ideas that caused deals to flow
  • Documenting Best Practices: another boring one. Who wants to input information into an Intranet when you could be selling? Understood. But we found that some of our sales people were missing details of the sales process for specific products we are selling. They had definitely known the details at some point but had simply forgotten one particular point on one particular project. Big deal? Well it can be because sales is a “real time game”, if you don’t say the right thing on a prospecting call, you lose your chance. Knowing the details of the sales process is key
  • Lists: yet another boring one. I believe target lists for prospecting may be the #1 factor in determining sales success. If you call the wrong people, you won’t sell anything. We started to lose one name here and one name there, whether from an outside list or a referral that was not well documented in our CRM system (not truly lost but not in the right place). A name here or there does not seem like a “biggie” right? But all this adds up. It’s that one missing name that might be a prospect with a burning need.

I’ve said before “sales is just like accounting”. In prospecting this is so true.

The details count a lot. The cliché of sales people is as loud backslappers buying drinks at the golf club. Great characters but lousy at administration…and details.

The reality in a “Sales 2.0 world” is that sales people need to be “boring” and not miss a detail — or they will miss a deal.

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