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Improving Quality Of Leads
FROM BULLETPROOF SELLING:
Chapter 8: Fueling Your Bulletproof Pipeline
WHEN MILITARY TEAMS look back on the time they spend conducting missions, it easily factors to 80% or more of their time engaged in research, prep, and planning, with 20% or less engaged in executing the mission. Why do they spend so much time preparing, planning, and conducting dry runs?
They’ve learned an important lesson: “The more we prepare, the less we bleed.”
While that would be a macabre analogy to apply with a sales team, salespeople will understand that, “The more we prepare for making the sale, the less sales we’ll lose.” That comes from the training and systems we give to our salespeople and the quality of the prospects they pursue.
Prioritizing Prospects System
Trigger: When it’s time to load existing prospects into your Bulletproof pipeline and whenever sourcing new prospects for outreach.
Bulletproof Impact: Ensuring only the highest-quality leads appear in your salespeople’s pipelines drastically improves closing ratios as priority is given to accounts with a history or high likelihood of purchasing your product or service.
After tracking the results of more than 8,000 sales calls in my own company, we’ve discovered that we can largely determine the future success of a sale by the research we conduct on our prospects before making the first contact.
To clarify: It’s possible to know how likely a prospect is to buy what we’re selling before we ever have a conversation with them and, by using the systems described in this book, unseat an incumbent provider.
The first thing we must do is to get clear on who our product or service isn’t a right fit for. That way we can eliminate a fair swath of the billions of people on the planet and further cull through those who remain to define our ideal sets of clients. Whenever we look at the prospect list of our clients’ salespeople, it’s not hard to see that many of those prospects will never buy from them. How do we know if a prospect is viable and worth the omni-channel pursuit that converts prospects?
Across thousands of prospects and hundreds of industries, the first filter we’ve found that will determine someone’s likelihood of becoming a customer is: Have they bought our product or service, or something like it, in the past?
If a prospect has a history of purchasing what your salespeople offer, there’s an astronomically higher probability they’ll purchase something like it again, should the need arise. This especially applies to high-cost, intangible services like coaching, consulting, and training. Trying to convince someone who’s never purchased what you offer isn’t impossible, but it’s a much harder hill to climb.
What if you’re going to market with an innovative solution that no one’s purchased yet, because it simply hasn’t been available? Ask: Who’s purchased something like this? Knowing that ahead of time will allow your salespeople to more easily build a bridge between your product and something prospects are familiar with.
Once you have an industry or group of prospects who meet the criteria of having purchased something like what you’re offering in the past, the next determinant in a high-quality prospect list is the prospect’s annual revenue, especially if it will limit their ability to purchase your product or service. That can often be determined by the size of the company and/or where it is located.
Next, consider the prospect’s geography if you’re limited to selling in certain regions, states, nations, hemispheres, etc. Or perhaps you only sell to people in a certain set of industries. That means when standing up Bulletproof systems, all other industries can be left out of your pipelines.
Once there is a list of high-quality potentials that meet the minimum criteria above, the next step is prioritizing them for outreach. Avoid dumping everyone into a pipeline’s campaign systems at once. While everyone on the initial list could purchase what you’re selling if budget and need coincided at the moment you get in touch with them, there will be a tier of high-value prospects who:
Have a history of purchasing what you’re selling
Are likely connected formally or informally to someone who has purchased from you in the past
Have a regular/recurring need for what you sell
Know they need your product or service, although they may not know your company has the ability to provide it
Have identifiable decision makers or people with fiduciary power, usually identified by job title
Are in the regions, states, nations, or hemispheres you can sell or deliver to
Have contact information for outreach that you can obtain
This initial list allows salespeople to qualify who they should be reaching out to first. Prospects that have all these attributes are what we consider ‘qualified’ prospects, although some research is always required to fill in a solid contact profile. If a prospect has most of the above attributes but is missing one, they fall to the next tier in priority. If two pieces of data are missing, they fall to the third tier, etc. This will allow sales leaders sourcing leads for their salespeople to accomplish a few important things:
Equitably parse leads to your salespeople if you, a lead-generating service, or your marketing team are providing leads.
Inspire your salespeople to put more effort into outreach as they know they are pursuing highly qualified leads.
Greatly increase closing ratios and pipeline conversion.
Coach salespeople through consistent sales systems as their leads will all be capable of buying, even if they aren’t willing to buy from you or your company right now.
Of course, providing or assisting salespeople in generating qualified leads is not meant to dissuade them from generating their own prospects. Rather, it is designed to give them model prospects to pursue and parameters to use when discovering their own high-quality leads.
Systemizing Success with Prioritizing Prospects
What information should you ensure is researched and input into your CRM for each prospect before salespeople make initial contact with a campaign system?
Name and direct contact information of the executive director or CEO of the organization. The information of a company’s leader becomes helpful if your team needs to ‘unstick’ an account that’s become unresponsive.
Name and direct contact information of the likely decision maker in the organization if they’re different from the CEO.
Mailing address for direct mail and handwritten cards.
Websites for the organization, staff contact info, and dates of any events that are tied to your product or service’s use.
Past vendors or suppliers of our product or service to that organization so we can differentiate ourselves with our unique value and have a strong call premise.