“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.
So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.
“This porridge is too cold,” she said
So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.
“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.
And so, it is with prospecting preparation time.
Social calling vs. volume calling
In previous posts I’ve made some big claims about how social calling has higher success rates than traditional prospecting.
I have said that relationship-based connecting yields something like a 25% success rates vs. something like 1 in 100 or 1 in 330 success rate for volume cold calling.
I went on to calculate how much time these different approaches take and compared the number of meetings you get from each approach in a set amount of time. I did this because time is a very meaningful unit. In the end time is the item we cannot replace, so comparing approaches on the basis of the time seems like a good way to go to me.
In my social selling approach, I stated that I took me 20 minutes of time to research my target prospect, the connector that would connect me to them and any trigger events I may weave into my approach. I then said it would take me 10 minutes to craft the email or call or text I would use in my approach, for a total of 30 mins per contact effort.
Some of the more volume-based data I reference comes from Vorsight (smart dudes). They stipulate that their SDRs make 120 calls per day. They say each SDR generates 1.4 appointments per day.
In my approach it takes me 30 minutes to make a contact so if I worked for 6 hours a day on prospecting, I would send 12 contact emails (or calls or texts). My 12 efforts have a 25% success rate so that gets me 3 appointments per day vs. 1.4 using a smart volume cold calling approach…roughly double.
Can I do better?
What if I cut down on my lavish 20 minutes of prep per email/call/text? Could I increase the number of appointments I set up?
Possibly, and it depends.
In the end I believe you should try, test, analyze and refine based on what works in your environment.
Maybe you could cut prep time down to 10 mins and email writing time down to 5 mins and in theory set 6 appointments per day not 3.
Here are some factors that I’ve found influence how much prep time I spend on a particular prospecting approach:
- Importance of the account or contact
The more important the account is to you, the more time you should spend on researching it. For really large “whale” accounts I’ve been known to listen to the CEO’s quarterly conference call. This takes a bunch of time, way over 20 mins, but if the account could be key to your year then it’s worth it.
- How many times you’ve approached this market
If you’re focusing on a market or segment (which is generally a smart thing to do) you will get to know what the issues are in most accounts in the industry. You won’t need to do much research other than checking if there is something unique going on in this account.
- How available is information on this account and contact
Some industries are more open to sharing information than others. When I was targeting hedge funds it was a pain. They didn’t publish anything. The only way to find out about them was to talk to someone who knew about them. This took a lot of time. But the upsides were hedge funds have a lot of money and my competitors had no idea what they were doing.
- How well you know the connector and/or your target
If you know the person you are approaching to make the connection really well, you don’t need to be as well-prepared. You can be a bit loosey-goosey and get away with it. The strength of your relationship will be enough to get you through to your target. You should still have a reason to connect but you don’t have to nail your research as much as if the relationship was weaker.
Time is all we have. Use it wisely. You need to finish your porridge before the bears come home.