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The Swiss Army Knife of Prospecting

by Janet Stucchi on Tue, Jul 19, 2011

 
Prospecting, prospecting, prospecting… no matter how much we want our “A-players” focused on closing business, building pipeline is still an integral part of any successful sales strategy.

Many Reps equate prospecting with the dreaded cold-calling. Some feel that their tenure has elevated them above the prospecting fray.

Probably more importantly, bells aren’t wrung & club isn’t often achieved for prospecting prowess. It’s no wonder Reps shirk, skirt or under-power their prospecting efforts.

It is up to us, the Inside Sales Leaders, to address this. Reps need to understand that prospecting is a process; not an event. The once-per-week call blitz is not sufficient. Successful prospecting requires a daily process, a good attitude, and the right tools to be successful.

When you think of prospecting, think of a Swiss Army Knife:

A multi-tool with many special-purpose tools to get the job done!

That job being having a conversation with a potential buyer.
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I see several tools that make up this Swiss Army Knife:

  • Rigorous inbound lead follow-up
  • Traditional outbound calling to target accounts
  • Networking – both online and off
  • Mining the customer base for incremental opportunities
  • And the holy grail – referrals!

So often we train our reps on mid & late-stage closing techniques. We underinvest in the hardest part of the sales process - the front end.
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Equipping Reps for prospecting

To create the foundation for successful prospecting – we need to create our own Rep Prospecting Knife. Which should include:                                    

  • A defined & documented Ideal Customer Profile
    Your reps need to know where to focus their efforts. Ensure your entire team is reading from the same page when it comes to the attributes of ideal and red-flag accounts.
  • Target buyer personas
    Equip your team with a deep understanding of their buyers, what challenges they face, how they are currently addressing those challenges, how they are measured, what they care about, etc.
  • Voicemail templates
    Convey in sound bites. Succinctly link the specific business drivers your buyer personas are facing to your value proposition.
  • Email templates
    Give them templates that are short, compelling and contain a call to action.
    .
  • A guidebook on how to effectively use social media
    Help them understand how your buyers use social, where reps should spend their time (e.g. LinkedIn v. an industry forum), when to contact via the network v. when to pick up the phone, etc.

So you see, prospecting can take many forms and requires many tools. It is our job to provide reps with tools and training and not force them to just grind it out.

How do you prepare your reps for prospecting? What does your Rep Prospecting Knife include?

(Photo credit: CapCase)

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Topics: inside sales management, inside sales motivation

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