Sales prospecting – it’s not for everyone
Sales prospecting – some thoughts
There may be nothing more disheartening and at the same time nothing more rewarding than sales prospecting.
It’s hard work regardless of what you are selling, the process adapted or the technology used.
It can be repetitive, inconsistent, energy-sapping, soul-destroying.
High expectations from management, results oriented, demanding.
It’s just not for everyone. (B2C isn’t the same as B2B no matter how hard you try and convince yourself)
Try recruiting for them.
Square pegs don’t easily fit into round holes and recruiting for an SDR or lead gen people can often attract the sort of person who’s more into (and better suited to) account management.
Marketing and technology can help in some cases but not every business sector is so advanced that humans can be replaced by AI.
Sales prospecting is hard work but if done well, pays off – for both employer and employee.
1. Sales prospecting / lead generation is a special kind of sales.
I think different rules apply. It’s not about hitting outbound numbers. It’s not just about following a script. Personality will play a big part – fluid will work better than rigid. Let them take risks, be opportunity driven. Give them more ‘do’s’ and less ‘don’ts’
Sales executives, account managers, business development reps play different roles to their SDR counterparts and that’s ok.
The good ones are hard to find – make sure you can keep them.
2. Work every channel
There is a myth – which I think has been created by people who don’t know how to make good phone calls – that suggests that telephone sales is dead.
There’s another one that says email doesn’t work.
And another that says that Sales Navigator is brilliant. And. And. And.
The job, in my humble opinion, is to communicate with decision makers quickly, (resonate, substantiate and differentiate etc…) and get them offline as soon as possible. On the phone you can do that really quickly…but not all the time.
No channel is 100% perfect and effective – they all need your attention.
3. Get the message right
Make sure the message is right from the start – make sure that sales and marketing are 100% in sync with each other. (Scripts are important but allow for deviation and personality…)
4. Marketing isn’t magic
Marketing is a welcome support to prospecting – anything from a radio campaign, sponsorship, billboards, pay per click – but it’s not the magic sauce for sales.
It can play a valuable role in supporting the SDR / prospecting team for sure – just think of it as back up but it expect it to deliver on inbound campaigns.
5. Jump leads
I call it jump leads. Others call it motivation. Call it whatever you like but make sure that there is enough energy for the team (or individual) to keep them going throughout the day and the week.
It can be a lonely place – even on a good day. Keep the focus on their energy rather than the figures.
It takes one good call to get the job done – one good email.
6. Practice / rehearse
If you’re on the phone, record the calls – not for waterboarding but for coaching. Role play – a bit of theatre never hurt anyone.
Stop sending out the same emails day after day – mix up the Linkedin messages. Try not to be either Hugo or Hemingway – but practice to get better at writing good intro or follow up emails.
7. Manage food intake
Seriously. Watch for the Peaks and troughs across the day – energy drinks should not be allowed in the office. Cut back on the coffee.
Make sure that your performance levels are sustainable.
8. Enjoy it
if you’re the boss – help them enjoy the role. Do what you can. Make the space a positive and healthy one.
If you’re the prospector – enjoy yourself. If not, do something else or do it somewhere else.
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