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Sales Prospecting Perspectives

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Sales and Marketing: Use The Big Fork


Today's Sales Prospecting Perspectives post is from Chris Lang, AG's Sales Director. 

I am obsessive compulsive about organization. My OCD for organization manifests itself in my kitchen these days. About 3 weeks ago I decided to pull everything out of my cabinets and drawers, and rearrange them so that the things used most were on the forefront of the shelves and the rest would fall back in order of how often they are needed. I pulled various utensils, gadgets, measuring devises, scales, pots and pans out of the pantry and placed them on the kitchen table. I looked at the massive pile of kitchen accessories in front of me and realized something. "Man I don't use any of this stuff.....I don't even know what some of it is." Take for example the enormous fork and spoon that come as part of your utensil sets. What the heck is that fork for? Do you give it to a gigantic neighbor after you serve them a brontosaurus steak?  Moving on I saw that I had 4 different whisks, a blender, a hand mixer, one of those mixers attached to a huge stainless steel bowl and one other tool that looked like you could mix, chop, process and teach a dog calculus depending on the attachment you used. You know what I use to mix things...a tiny fork. It does takes me 6 hours to make pancakes. Maybe that's what the giant fork is for! This was a common theme. I have the tools to measure ingredients in any increment you need and yet I measure with my hands or terms given to me by my mother such as "A dab of" or "A slew". I have 5 cutting boards and knives that ninjas would think are unnecessarily sharp, yet I cut food on a plate with an old steak knife.

Because I am a work nerd, this naturally led me to think of all of the things that sales and marketing teams have at their disposal that they under use. I do it myself. For Example, I have an add-on to my CRM system that allows me to see all the information I would ever need on a prospect and their company. Company revenue, past positions, competitors, contact information, co-workers, shoes size, etc... yet when I am looking for information on a prospect, you will usually find me toiling in search engines and opening up links that will inevitably give the company a virus. It takes me 20 minutes to find the information that I could have found in 2 had I clicked the "contact info" tab in my CRM.

Potentially the most valuable asset that goes unused are leads. The numbers vary somewhat, but from the studies I have seen anywhere from 70% - 90% of the leads produced through marketing are not followed up. I've never taken a poll, but the conversations I have had would verify those numbers. The business development teams here are often tasked with prospecting into the "C" leads that don't get any follow-up by the sales team. There is a ton of value in those leads and there should always be a nurturing process to reach out to them. If you're only prospecting into 20% of your marketing leads, you are wasting a substantial amount money, and you are likely missing out on deals. You close 0% of the prospects you don't reach out to.

Another seriously underutilized asset: the phone. With all of the data augmentation solutions, company websites, list building sites etc... we sometimes forget that a great way to find out who is in charge of "XYZ" is to simply call and ask. I have sat by my computer and done 20 minutes of research before each of my calls. By the end of the day I will have made about 20 calls. There is something to be said for the person that does less research and makes 80 calls. Yes you have to go in a bit blind which can be scary, but you will get a lot more market intelligence by talking to a live a person and you can ask "who is responsible for XYZ?" When you look through websites and data solutions you can find titles. Over the past 2 years responsibilities have changed quite a bit. Looking for a decision maker by title is a lot tougher to do now as CFO's, COO's and VP's are crossed trained to make decisions in departments they wouldn't have dealt with previously.

Sales feedback and opportunity tracking on marketing campaigns is something else that is underutilized by many companies. The complaint that I often hear is that a marketing campaign is run, nothing is seen for 6 months and then BANG...a prospect closes that may have come from the marketing campaign. No one knows how the prospect became a customer, what the process was to close them and why other prospects from the same campaign didn't close. If you aren't tracking your opportunities you are missing out on quite a bit! For example we deliver feedback surveys to our clients' outside sales reps.  The survey has 3 questions. 1) Did the call/meeting happen? 2) Was all of the information provided accurate? 3) Is this moving forward into the next steps of your sales process? The answers ensure that sales is following up on the opportunities you are passing them and gives you an idea of the quality of the prospects so you can evaluate the success of the campaign. This same approach should be adapted to top of funnel marketing campaigns as well.  For example, if you run 4 events and each produces 100 leads. If you then close the loop and collect feedback from all the leads, you are now in a position to go back and say "Campaign X brought 100 leads and 60% were deemed viable, Campaign Y 70%, Campaign Z 65%, but Campaign A only had a 30% success rating". Now you know that you need to either revamp Campaign A or can it altogether as it isn't matching the success rates of your other campaigns.

There is a long list of other things that I or most anyone could point out. The point is that there is likely a tremendous amount of untapped potential within your current sales and marketing investments. Look into all the available features within your CRM.  Nurture the 70% of the leads you produce that would normally go to waste. Act on the market intelligence reports you get from the inside sales teams. Use that big fork!


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