“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” ~Steve Jobs
While it is true that sales is a numbers game there is a fine line between what is best, quantity or quality, when it comes to filling your call list with prospects. You can argue that it’s a hit and miss situation so the more leads you have the better your chance of connecting with a voice, over a machine. You can tell yourself that if the person who answers isn’t the right person that they will gladly give you the number to call of the one that is. You can tell yourself that your supervisor will be happy just to see that you made an impressive number of dials. You can hang onto the idea that it is totally about persistence – but is it?
Statistically, according to Leap Job – “only 2% of cold calls result in an appointment.” Is that a statistic you simply have to live with, or could you change it if you thought about how to fill your call list with quality, instead of quantity? What if you took the time to actually differentiate between a good lead and a nonproductive one, and communicated that to those who are harvesting your leads? Gartner Group notes, “Typically if a firm has somewhere between 100 and 500 employees there are only about seven people who are actually involved in the buying decision.” Wouldn’t you like to find them?
Bad Lead – Quantity Harvesting
- A person who by virtue of their job title doesn’t have the ability or authority to invite a second call.
- A lead to someone in an industry that doesn’t fit your product.
- A lead with incorrect contact information.
- A lead that no longer works for said company.
Imagine how much time and money is wasted when your call list is filled with bad leads. You might make an impressive number of dials, but you won’t make an earth-moving number of sales, because it isn’t possible when you’re talking to the wrong people. On top of that – how frustrating is it for you to make dial after dial that is met with a negative outcome? How do you keep up your spirit – not to mention enjoy any measure of job security? It’s no wonder that there is such a high turnover in sales jobs. Anyone who can beat your success statistics can have your job. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different outcomes.” – Einstein
Good Lead – Quality Harvesting
- A lead with the job title that authorizes them to invite a second call.
- A lead who works for a company that you know that your product actually can help
- Leads that have undergone routine data cleansing and are verified to still work for the company.
Imagine how it would feel to be calling the right people. Trading quantity for quality means a higher level of success, higher job revenues and increased job security. While it may seem that finding the right person to call is like looking for a needle in a haystack, it really isn’t. It’s a matter of defining criteria, and then looking specifically for that. If you do an advanced search out on LinkedIn you can eliminate much of the hay and get down to the needle. Often times you can find the right person on a company’s website. An experienced sales person knows which job titles have authority and passing the word down to those who harvest the leads can make a difference. Setting up a schedule that keeps your lead’s job verification current within 6 months or a year will keep things cleaner and more productive.
There is one other important step. Once you have a quality call list you need to put it in an application that allows you to truly attack it. Incite2, a Salesforce add-on offered by ShadeTree Technology will impart magic to your call list because it allows for momentum you can’t get anywhere else. It consolidates all Salesforce data so that on one page you can click through calls, schedule next steps, send appropriate communications and keep track of your sales history. A few clicks during and after your call, and you quickly move onto the next call. With Incite2 you can triple your call volumne.
Speaking strictly from a scientific point of view, when the creation of life as we know it happened, many believe that it did so with a very precise, exacting set of circumstances. There is great debate in the scientific community about whether any variation of events would have obliterated all possibility of life or if there was a little fine-tuning wiggle room in it. Scientist Stephen Hawking sees things as pretty well fixed. He has estimated that if the rate of the universe’s expansion one second after the Big Bang had been less by the smallest amount imaginable, that everything would have collapsed into a fiery ball, and life would not have happened.
Thankfully when it comes to humankind there seems to be purposeful wiggle-room. Religion and science may disagree on the creation of life – but they will both agree that humans aren’t perfect. By virtue of our very humanity, there is always room for improvement.
A – Allow a critical eye. Step back and look at the whole picture. Are you content with the number of calls being made, the new business relationships you’ve started, the established relationships that you’ve shored up with quality follow-up, and the dollars that have come in? Question the overall efficiency in all of your processes – and look for the weak spots. Where do you fall short – research, organization, call scripts, mailed messages, or activity documentation? How accurate are your analytics?
B – Buy into new possibilities. There is an old saying, “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.” Do you know how your competition operates? Do they have tools that you don’t’? Do they have any methods that nets them greater results than you’re getting? What kind of feedback are you getting from social networking/social media? Is there new software out there that can make your process stronger?
C – Congratulate yourself for having the wisdom to fine tune the process. More often than not life is about a leap of faith. If you’ve taken an introspective look at the way you do business and stepped out on the ledge of a new possibility that improved your sales efforts, congratulate yourself, and then go back to A.
There are an infinite number of possibilities when it comes to products that can make your sales life easier, more efficient, and more profitable, but Incite2 offered by ShadeTree Technology is a Saleforce add-on that should be on your list of considerations. It efficiently collects the various pages in Saleforce and puts them all one page – which by itself is a time/money saving factor. Building call lists is the heart of the increased success rate that is a given with the product. Do put a view of their demo on your exploration into new possibilities.
One of the great and productive functionalities of CRM is the ability for sales managers to track the activity levels and performance benchmarks of their team members. If reps are not conducting or managing enough phone calls, follow-ups, and sales meetings, you will know about it-and so will they. Read more
Email may not seem like an ideal communications medium when it comes to increasing sales productivity and captivating prospects. It is, however, how most sellers and buyers communicate today. More than likely your reps rely on emails as a follow-up to phone conversations and to communicate throughout the sales cycle.
Because email follow-up, while necessary, takes away from valuable selling time, it’s important to have an email process in place that is time efficient and still effective. To be effective, the content in a follow-up email needs to captivate your prospects. Read more
Speed and impact are two critical and decisive factors when you are in the sales profession, especially when your activities are being scrutinized by the ‘time-is-money’ shot-clock. Your reps must consistently be on top of their game if they want to meet or exceed quota. On a revenue-weighted scale of all-out performance, what you really want for them is to have the maximum amount ofimpact in the least amount of time. Andy Paul refers to this as MILT in his book Zero Time Selling. Mr. Paul discusses his MILT concept in detail with regard to interacting with prospects. Read more
Would you like your sales pipeline to be optimized, or to operate in a more streamlined fashion? I am not referring to the number of prospects currently in the funnel, or even the number of deals being worked. I am asking whether you would like to guarantee that every prospect and every deal is moving swiftly through the pipeline in the smartest, most efficient, and most effective manner. If you are nodding “yes”, then you are my kind of manager – forward-thinking, and motivated toward finding a practical and sustainable solution.
Optimizing the pipeline is the essential key to unlocking productivity. In the dynamic and constantly evolving world of sales, that is the equivalent to finding “the holy grail” is it not?
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So how can you begin to approach the strategy of optimizing your pipeline? I suggest laser-focusing on the all-important follow-up process. That is because consistent,persistent, and expedient follow-up is what actually moves deals through the pipeline. This means no hesitations, no hindrances, and no hurdles. In a recent post, I described follow-up as the single most important element of sales for those precise reasons. In today’s post, I will reveal the steps you can take to transition from good to better, and eventually, from better to best. Read more
The debate about whether to leave a voicemail message on a cold call is as old as voicemail itself. You all know that leaving a voicemail rarely results in a callback, no matter how great your technique. Statistics found on various sales web sites show a range of five- to ten-percent of voicemails are returned. So even if you are spectacular at your VMs, you might top out at 25-percent call backs. So is it really worth it?
I say yes. Definitely. You just need to change your reason and expectations for leaving that message. Instead of expecting a callback, use the voicemail as a friendly, personal, targeted billboard. If you do it right, the next time the person sees or hears your name, they’ll have some kind of positive brand recognition. Read more
Salespeople today face a frustrating dilemma: There are too many balls to keep in the air and only so many hours a day to be making calls. A single meeting might cut into the time needed for 10 outbound calls. The prep time before a call to a C-level exec might eat up an hour or more. Fumbling through Salesforce to find the best target to call next can waste precious minutes.
Incite2 is a tool that enables sales professionals to truly have all the information they need at their fingertips in order to deliver information to a more qualified, targeted audience at up to 40% faster speeds. So while it can’t create more time in a day, it can make your time more productive and profitable. Read more