Editor’s Note: This post is part of our special 1-week series on sales prospecting, from experts on the subject.
Last week I was speaking to a large group of salespeople and sales managers about building sales strategy and positioning their companies and services to win; during an “open time”, a question was asked about pipeline management and that led to a prospecting discussion. I went to the white board in the room and sketched out the following ideas and you could feel the focus in the room increase. Everyone was facing the norm, poor levels of quality pipeline opportunities.
This idea is a salesperson driven program assisted by marketing. Sales leadership must train the sales teams on the telephone follow up process and scripts and set up a tracking system to ensure the program is executed effectively and metrics are tracked.
HINT: This prospecting campaign idea could incorporate messaging from your vendors utilizing their marketing materials, email campaigns, telephone scripts and partner involvement, if their marketing website allows you to download quality tools.
Action steps include:
1) Refine their prospect database to reflect the A, B, C Ideal client profile concept. Essentially you want to only market to suspects that fit the A or B profile. These are potential clients that are similar in demographic nature to your best-most profitable existing clients. (See my previous blogs that define what an ideal client profile is or send me an email for details.)
2) Download and review a direct mail letter/postcards/email tools provided by your vendors or develop your own and create two marketing pieces (post cards/letters/emails) for two campaigns that will be used; these can be personalized with your logo, etc. These should include two different messages based upon your products/services that must excite a net new prospect.
3) Create multiple batches of 20 suspects by salesperson, divided into groups of A, B, C, D, etc.
4) Execute on the following tactical plan:
Week One: Each salesperson sends email/ postcards/letters of message # 1 to 20 different suspects in Group A
Week Two: Each Salesperson sends email/postcards/letters of message #2 to the same Group A 20 suspects
Each Salesperson sends email/postcards/letters of message #1 to another set of 20 suspects in Group B
Week Three: Each salesperson begins to call Group A and set an appointment or invite them to an Executive Forum.
Each salesperson sends emails/ postcards of message # 2 to the 20 suspects in Group B
Each salesperson sends email/ postcard of message #1 to 20 suspects in a new Group C
Week Four: Each Salesperson begins to call all non-contacted member of Group A
Each Salesperson begins to call all suspects in Group B
Each Salesperson sends emails/postcards #2 to the suspects in Group C
This program continues in this manner. As the activity level and pipeline grows, the only change in this marketing and activity plan will be the number of emails or letters sent per week, could drop to 10. The reason we recommend 20 or less names is to keep the contact focus low enough to ensure the salesperson can attempt multiple contacting calls within the third week.
It is recommended that an on-going “Executive Forum” or workshop event is scheduled for the same time/same day each month i.e. the third Thursday at 8am. The purpose of the event is to provide a “call to action” and provide a reason for the telephone call follow up.
HINT: Sales Management must monitor this program carefully to ensure 1) salespeople are contacting the prospects, 2) the messages within the marketing pieces are working or not and 3) what call/contact ratios are effective.
HINT: Sales Managers must ensure each salesperson has specific times/day’s blocked out 6-weeks in advance to follow up on the database calls.
Two other ideas: buy Jeb Blount’s book Fanatical Prospecting or Mark Hunters new book High Profit Prospecting for each salesperson on the team and discuss each chapter in detail at your sales meetings.
Let me know how this idea is working for you or what other ideas you are using to drive your sales pipelines.