Testing is for marketing not sales.
Does that sentence seem logical to you? It doesn’t to me.
The more time I spend in sales and marketing, the more I see overlap between these areas. Now, sales people are starting to “geek out” and use software tools like marketers have been for the last decade, or so.
Most marketing departments today have found their pocket protector and have at least one person that is ready with screeds of numbers about their various campaigns. So much data is now available that making sense of it all is now the bigger problem.
Meanwhile the majority of sales people still seem to be number-allergic. They think about sales as a “human art” with the only numbers being their sales for the month, quarter and year. If they have an annoying enough boss, their numbers may include calls/emails made today, number of appointments this week etc.
Your sales bottleneck
I think sales people should track numbers.
The key area to track in my view is prospecting.
The numbers in this area can be truly scary. When I look at most company’s prospecting numbers a big red light starts flashing in my head with words “bottleneck” written on it.
For most company’s there are not enough qualified sales leads coming into their sales funnel to make it matter much what is “downstream”. The rest of their sales pipeline could be super-efficient but since only “drops” of qualified leads are dripping into the funnel there will never be a flood of revenue coming out.
Improving your prospecting numbers is very likely to directly boost your sales. It’s not as likely you will screw up from the point of a qualified lead to closing a deal. Most companies are decent at this part. Sit them in a room with enough qualified buyers and they will sell a bunch of stuff.
If prospecting is the biggest bottleneck, then this is the area you will want to focs on the most. I’m a believer that “what gets measured, improves”. If you want prospecting to improve, you need to measure it.
Claim your pocket protector
Not only do you need to measure your prospecting but you need to test different approaches to make it better. The opportunity to boost revenue here is huge.
Here are some things I think you should test in your prospecting.
It’s super-important you keep an honest track of your results. Compare approach 1 to approach 2 and see if you can improve your results. In “Marketingland” this is called “A/B testing”.
If you do this, you will officially be a sales geek. And one day quite possibly a rich one.
- Your value proposition: how do you describe the value your product or service brings to your customer? Test different words to describe this value and see what does best. Does one version of your prospecting email get you some response while the other gets you zip?
- Using referrals: I go on about relationships getting you in-the-door way more effectively…But what take my word for it? Test it. Try cold approaches and then try using referrals to get you to your prospect. See how the conversion metrics compare. See how much time each approach takes and compare. Tune each approach.
- Using common bonds: in my previous post I talked about using a common bond to connect with people. Try this out in your prospecting emails, phone calls, letters etc. Do you see a difference from traditional “cold” prospecting? Quantify it. Try to do even better.
- Using trigger events: try using trigger events in your prospecting. How do your results look? Which trigger events work best in your market? How do you find these trigger events? How can you reduce your time searching for them so you are more efficient? Test.
- Who you target: How do your results change based on the industries you target, the titles you target, the geography, the size of company? Test to find your sweet spot.
- Your price points: Over-and-over again sales people tell me they can’t sell their product because it is too expensive. But is it? I’ve frequently sold my product with no discount at all. Test your price point. Does it really make a difference if it’s cheaper? How big a price change causes different behavior in your prospects?
- The media you use: different people like to receive communication through different channels. Do your prospects respond better to emails, phone calls (office or cell), texts or letters? What happens when you combine media, phone call then email etc. What sequence works best? Test.