“Our pipeline does not support our revenue goals,” the CEO said with more than a hint of concern.
The VP of Sales feels that gnawing in the pit of his stomach because the CEO is correct about the pipeline and the VP holds the ball on that one.
He thinks, “I have implemented rigorous process on active deal pursuits and have tried the same with prospecting”.
“However, all I am really doing is setting call activity quotas with some lead distribution rules,” he reasons. His thoughts continue, “All I can do is apply pressure on the amount of prospecting calls my team performs and perhaps train them on phone techniques”.
Concluding he opines “Yet my pipeline is weak, what can I do but apply more pressure to my team and marketing”.
Have you been there? I certainly have been.
Assuming a good solution or product to sell, the B2B sales success formula falls into two big categories of activities, Opportunity Identification and Opportunity Pursuit. Both need to be executed very well. The ability to prospect new clients is a very big component of opportunity identification (the others for another post).
Marketing has made big strides by deploying great processes that utilize the power of marketing automation tools. Creating higher probability leads based on clicks, downloads and requests, the quality of leads now exceeds the old school blind cold calling. These leads along with other leads from conventions, webinars and seminars arm today’s sales teams with better fertilized soil.
Yet something is missing. I wrote at length about the sales and marketing battle in an earlier post, “Sales and Marketing, can’t we just get along”.
I have discovered a very predictable and repeatable prospecting optimization process. The first time I deployed it, we trained the team and added in the supporting add-in to Salesforce.com. I used it as well as I did my own hunting along with my team (to stay in touch with reality and to keep the saw sharp).
Remarkably it worked, our new company client acquisition not only went up, but the average size of our deals rose because we were getting into the right conversations. Furthermore, after first having to force the team to use the methodology, within weeks they were enthusiastically embracing it and excited to use it. Voluntary sales adoption is a great proof of effectiveness. It worked!
So what were the elements?
First, we understood that effective prospecting is about having meaningful interactions with key people at accounts. This may seem obvious but if you don’t pay attention to meaningful interactions, distraction from that goal will lead to less than optimal behavior.
Second, the method utilized the target companies’ social culture to our advantage to become “insiders”.
Third, we used highly researched repeatable phone tactics with rigor and this was guided by the SFDC add-in.
Fourth and finally, we created a feedback loop to marketing to drive exact targeted marketing to individual prospects based on interaction with our sales team.
Also our messages evolved as we tweaked our content against this stable methodology until we got the result that we were after.
While you can do this on your own, if you want a shortcut, this methodology and solution is available from White Forest Partners. Also, White Forest Partners can supplement your sales team with outsourced outbound sales utilizing this methodology.