Creating a targeted prospecting strategy is the biggest prospecting issue faced by marketers in the recent 2017 survey by Richardson Co. The survey was divided into 6 categories; Prospecting, Negotiation, Closing, Buyer Decisions, Productivity and Team Sales and I commend you for your research and efforts.
In future articles, I will share with you my suggestion of how you should handle these current and prominent sales issues / challenges. I also encourage you to read his report and his insights.
The top prospecting issues for 2017 in order according to the survey are:
1. Create a targeted prospecting strategy
2. Quality of marketing leads
3. Get appointments
The 2016 problems were:
1. Identify sales triggers / signals that indicate problems you can solve.
2. Identification of target accounts
3. Get appointments
And my ongoing articles will offer suggestions on how to deal with each one.
Creating a targeted prospecting strategy
Since your existing customers are the best place to make more sales, through same-buying, cross-selling, and up-selling, this is where your prospecting campaign should begin. In these accounts you have or should have several contacts. He should also have worked his way up to the C-Suite or the General Manager’s office, where he has developed relationships that consist of more than just saying hello in the hallways. So with all these positive relationships that you have cultivated, you can ask these people for more business and buy the other products and services that you sell. These people will also be happy to introduce you and recommend other parts of your company: departments, divisions, product lines, subsidiaries, etc. However, if you don’t ask, and you don’t pursue to sell all of the relevant products and services that you offer, they won’t come after you begging you to buy them.
Now if you haven’t met, interviewed, and developed a relationship with these other important contacts and people, then my suggestion is to start this process. Set up meetings using your existing contacts to meet others. Your reason, if they ask for one and you are struggling to find one, is “They would like to be sure they are meeting their expectations and interviewing them and learning from them will be the only way they will know for sure. How are you.”
Competitors are trying to enter their accounts or increase their participation in joint accounts. So it would be stupid not to go after theirs. Competitors sell the same products and services that you offer. They can have the whole part or a part and those accounts should be ideal for you. The reason you haven’t broken that account or become the preferred and dominant provider is because you lack positive professional relationships. In other words, many of the decision makers, those directly involved, and their bosses don’t see what they want in you better than any other alternative.
The way to achieve this is to organize meetings and interview these decision makers to find out what each one wants in relation to their solutions and how they would like to obtain these wishes and / or solutions to their stated problems. This is the time to stop marketing, that is, tell them what you have and why they should have it and why they should buy from you, and start learning what each individual wants and how they want to get it.
This is the time to seek to become your second source. So learn and ask, “What do I have to do to become your second source?”
The reason you would like to be the second source is because customers always have problems with their suppliers, no matter what. Usually they don’t change because it takes too much effort and there may be a risk. However, if the customer has a second option that has been established to their satisfaction, then they will call that source in no time.
So listen to the answer and see if you can do it. I suggest that you do not say on the spot that you can do whatever they ask you to do. Give it some thought to show sincerity. Then develop a presentation of how you will show that you can deliver what you asked for. Make sure you do this with multiple contacts on that account, because usually several people will make the decision, especially the bosses and especially if it is a change.
I tell everyone I train that if they do this, I guarantee that within 6 weeks they will receive an order that would have gone to the competitor.
I call them that because if they can use your types of products or services, it’s hard to imagine that you don’t have a competitor. So these could be accounts where they do it themselves or they do it in another way. Again, the solution is to interview and settle down … if you can. But be careful, this account may not be ideal for you. This implies that you must have developed an ideal profile so that you can determine after a few interviews whether this account is worth pursuing or not.
Part of your interview (which you can use with your competition and your own accounts) is, “What do you like about what you use or do now?” Listen carefully and get details. Then ask, “What is it that you don’t like or would you change?” Listen aggressively again. Caution: don’t just focus on what they don’t like, because they are buying the piece they like. The answers to these questions will give you the specification of what you will need to do or deliver to win over this person. Again, be sure to do this with multiple people because usually multiple people will make the decision, especially the bosses, and especially because this is a change.
Prospecting time allocation
This is your prospecting strategy. Take advantage of the existing account 50% of your sale time. This should be easy because you should have access and you should be there frequently. Chase your competitor’s accounts 30-40% of your time. This should be that difficult if you have the right attitude of learning instead of marketing. You must have contacts or know how to get them easily. Finally, go after the Greenfields for the remaining 10-20%. Again, seek to learn rather than tell them what they should be doing, even if you know it would be good for them.
And now I invite you to know more