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Prospecting Post-Mortem: 23 Sales Processes Reviewed

by Matt Bertuzzi on Tue, Apr 26, 2011


Having Sales Reps prospect me is one of the most eye opening parts of my job.

Being a quant type of guy (nerd might fit too), I decided to track & categorize the sales processes that Reps have put me through over the last few weeks.

Here’s what I saw:

23 sales processes
13 sent a single email
6 added 1 call to the email
2 executed a generic 3+ touch process
2 executed 4+ touches (and sounded like they knew about my concerns & day-to-day role)

By my math, that's a less than 9% of Reps doing something more than drive-by prospecting. This left me wondering, what is it that drives 1 Rep to commit to a process – where 9 others fall short?

So I decided to ask one of the Reps that executed a great process. I reached out to Pat Malley- a Sales Development Rep at Marketo who had been prospecting me.
(Marketo is a revenue performance management company, transforming how marketing and sales teams of all sizes work – and work together – to accelerate predictable revenue.)

Based on my back-of-the-napkin math, you are in the 90th percentile for effective prospecting. Can you walk me through your process?

We have a specific Service Level Agreement (SLA) internally between Marketing and Sales that drives our follow-up process. We touch a prospect six times over 21 days.  Half of these touches are calls and half are emails. At the end of this process, if there is no activity, I recycle the lead. If the lead later re-engages, I’m alerted and can follow up again.

How does having a SLA work for you as a front-line Sales Rep?

Sales and Marketing alignment is our mantra – and this ‘no lead left behind’ approach flows from that. Our Marketing team works hard to generate these leads for us, so we don’t want to just reach out one or two times and give up on them. It’s a way to make sure every lead gets the attention it deserves.

With the amount of information you are given about a prospect’s web activity, what’s your approach using that intel?
(what they've downloaded, what pages they viewed, etc.)

We have a lot of really great content on our website. When I do reach out it is often with an offer for additional content. So once a prospect has shown a certain buying behavior, I take some of their recent activity and tailor the conversion around that.

For instance, if someone was to download our “Definitive Guide to Lead Scoring” – it goes hand in hand with the “Definitive Guide to Lead Nurturing” – I would reach out and share that “a lot of people who have found this useful have also found this useful and here are a few reasons why.”

Obviously you are a power user and advocate for Marketo. As a Sales Rep, what are two things that Marketo gives you that you wouldn’t ever want to sell again without?

Not to be too promotional, but I couldn’t live without Marketo. The work our Marketing team does shows up on each record in Salesforce.com. It lets me know how I should follow up, provides templates and allows me to recycle leads that aren’t ready to buy - I can also choose the specific type of lead nurturing they will receive.

So for example, if someone doesn’t have budget, I can put them into a nurture program that will help them understand the ROI of our product and tips for how to prove the value to Senior Management. This really helps.

Thanks to Pat for taking the time. He also sent along some screenshots giving some color to his / Marketo’s process (see below). It is tough to rise above the noise and capture buyer attention when prospecting. And my $.02 is that drive-by activity isn’t getting it done.

But, what do you think? Are your Reps creating opportunity and not just producing activity? How are you ensuring their success? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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(99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall photo credit: Robert Hruzek)
  

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Topics: sales process, lead qualification, lead generation

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