Sales Prospecting 2018: It’s Not How Your Mom and Dad Used to Sell

    

“Dear FIRSTNAME,

Even though you don’t know me, have no idea what I’m selling, and probably don’t have a need for what I am sales-prospecting-2018selling, I am going to send you an unsolicited email filled with bad grammar and mindless jargon any way.  I will then hound you relentlessly for a few days until I forget or become focused on something else and in the meantime as a result of my poor skills you will develop and instant negative perception of me and my company that can never be overcome.

In addition, I won’t prepare, I won’t understand your business strategy, challenges, or opportunities, I will lazily look at your LinkedIn profile 30 seconds before one of my many calls to you that I will then leave an inane voicemail when you don’t pick up, and finally, I will forget to follow-up anyway killing any chances for a sale.

In the meantime, I am going to vomit up in an email a nonsensical hodgepodge of product stuff and make sure I hit all of the latest jargon words including but not limited to digital transformation and disruption so that I touch on your core competencies to earn your buy-in in case you want to call in a S.W.A.T. team while maintaining your swim lane that empowers your employees so they aren’t drinking the Kool-Aid in order to move the needle while I open the Kimono to provide you with bleeding edge products that your Tiger Teams will develop a burning platform for which has lots of moving parts that touch your corporate values while you make hay in a scalable way using only the best practices of thinking outside of the box to support solutions that enable you to line up your ducks in a row and focus on the business ecosystem so your entire organization can take shots on goal.

Sincerely,

Sales Professional 2018"

If you made it to this point of my blog, you are probably thinking to yourself, “Oh the sales professionals in my organization don’t sell this way.” But what if I shared with you that our research shows that nearly 50% of all sales professionals today are not effectively sales prospecting and not filling the top of your funnel with legitimate, qualified opportunities that will turn into profitable revenue?

Over the past year, I have been focusing a significant amount of Advantexe’s efforts toward building our sales training assets to help our clients sell from the business perspective and not just the sales perspective.  And the entire process starts with effective prospecting.

Based on the research and practical, real-world experiences working with the most prestigious sales teams in the world, we have just finished production on our new Prospecting Business Simulation that teaches sales professionals operating in this disrupted world how to effectively prospect and set meetings that will result in profitable revenue.

Based on our content, here are three quick tips to help your company and sales professional prospect more effectively:

Use Business Acumen Skills to Prepare

Most sales professionals have so much data in their worlds they don’t know where to begin.  I suggest starting in the place that drives their customer’s actions and performance; having a deep understanding of the customer’s business strategy, goals, objectives, and metrics of success.  You may hear about sales training methods that “challenge” customers, but the problem with that approach is that you need real and well-developed business acumen skills to ask questions and more importantly to understand the responses that come back from those questions!  There is nothing worse for a sale then asking a prospect a great question about their business performance and not having a clue about things such as EBITDA, Free Cash Flow, or TSR.

Develop a Networking Strategy utilizing Social Media

Tools like LinkedIn and Facebook can be goldmines of information and sources of prospecting through networking if used well and with a strategy.  Prospecting in 2018 and beyond is building a “brand of you” which is accomplished by leveraging existing contacts, engaging in user groups, responding to posts, and most importantly sharing unique information and perspectives.  Developing a network and utilizing social media is an art and a science integrated into one and unfortunately, most sales professionals today are still amateurs.

Hold Everyone Accountable for Follow-up

There is nothing worse in strategic business selling than wasting a chance to create an opportunity.  Here’s a secret; most prospecting techniques will not work the first time.  It’s a process and there is a delicate balance to be had between being annoying and following up.  Unfortunately, in our research we have discovered that more than 80% of sales professionals prospecting have poor follow-ups skills and inevitably don’t follow-up very well.  One of the ways of overcoming this major issue is to hold people in the process accountable and assess that performance by metrics that relate to follow-up such as number of follow-ups, key messages of the follow-up, and the number of meetings secured through proper follow-up.

In summary, there is a silent epidemic impacting all sales professionals in 2018 and it’s called poor sales prospecting.  There are a few simple and effective things that can be put into place to make the process more effective and to help you achieve your sales results.

why business acumen matters

Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.