Sales Training Article: How to Prospect Has Changed – Have You?

By Gary Walker, EVP of Channel Sales & Operations, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

I don’t know about you, but I’m inundated with people that want to speak with me to try and sell me something. I can return to my office to find countless emails and voicemails, more than I’m prepared to deal with on any given day. As busy as I am, if I receive an email that I don’t recognize, or perhaps it’s a subject line that is attempting to sell me something – I DELETE it. If I receive a telephone call and don’t recognize the caller on my Caller ID, I allow it to go to voicemail. Voicemail has become my screening device. When I get around to checking my voicemail, if it’s from someone I don’t know or wanting to speak with me about their latest and greatest offering – I DELETE it. If I had to guess, I bet you are doing the same exact thing! The fact of the matter is that you are no different than the people you are trying to reach. They are most likely deleting your emails and voicemails too!

Results from a survey of senior executives in the high technology industry identified cold calling as the least probable reason they would agree to speak with a salesperson (Selling to Senior Executives).Even in our recent 2015 CCS® Index, 50% of salespeople indicated cold calling as the least effective method of prospecting. No wonder salespeople hate it.

Faced with this new reality and my need to generate more sales, I began to modify and experiment with new approaches to business development and prospecting by:

  • Precise targeting of executives who could purchase my offering
  • Utilizing productivity tools like LinkedIn ‘activity’, Google Alert, PRNewswire, Lead411, etc. to monitor the organizations I was targeting
  • Identifying what I call ‘triggering events’ (business challenges, goals, problems, or needs) that were important to the executives I was targeting
  • Developing Sales Ready Messaging® that is provocative and relevant to those known business challenges and initiatives
  • Engaging with executives, using multiple methods, with information that is relevant to their challenges and initiatives
  • Leveraging business and social relationships to connect with executives
  • Becoming part of the continuing conversation to stay engaged and relevant

I’ve been extremely pleased with this approach and the results I’ve obtained since beginning to use it. It aligns perfectly with what we teach in our CustomerCentric Selling® (CCS®) workshops.

  • Learn how to develop and execute a Prospecting and Business Development Plan that will help them build their pipeline to optimum strength and achieve 2016 quota.
  • Learn how to supplement the number of leads developed for them by Marketing.
  • Learn how calculate how many leads they will need on a weekly/monthly basis, based on their close rate, to achieve quota.
  • Learn the steps to develop a prospecting and business development plan: Planning, Preparation, and Execution
  • Learn how to use InsideView for Sales to:
    • Build targeted prospect lists.
    • Identify Key Players within the targeted organizations.
    • Use ‘triggering events’ to engage with those key players during their time of greatest need.
  • Understand the importance of messaging, timing, and frequency.
  • Know how to develop provocative messaging that resonates with their prospects and requires action.
  • Learn how to use prospecting methods in non-traditional ways in order to increase their effectiveness.
  • Develop a multi-touch prospecting series, using multiple methods that works.
  • Learn how to combine minimally effective prospecting methods, use then in parallel to engage with senior executives -Thunder and Lightning.
  • Learn how to exploit the power of referrals/introductions using LinkedIn to reach the executives they are targeting.
  • Learn how and when to use ‘Request a Meeting’ to engage with your prospects.
  • Leave the work session with a day-by-day, step-by-step, Twenty (20)-Company Prospecting Plan.

Take a look at the sales training workshops available to you.