Ask a salesperson what they’d prefer to do instead of being on the phone or visiting a new prospect and you’ll never be short of excuses.
Yes, calling and being in front of new prospects is the exact thing these same salespeople say they’re in the business to do! Why do salespeople struggle so much with preparing – and making progress in – their sales meetings?
It comes from the mistaken belief that they have to make the sale on every call. While that’s a great goal to have, we need alternate outcomes that also position us for future success.
That’s where having multiple objectives comes in. In the world of sales, these are often referred to as ‘micro-objectives’. They’re a way for salespeople to have achievable, concrete goals no matter where a prospect is in their pipeline.
To learn how the best salespeople set and systemize their micro-objectives, we sat down with Gerry Hill, regional vice president of ConnectAndSell. He laid out a simple system that any salesperson can use to make progress in their pipeline on every call and overcome call reluctance at the same time!
T – Trigger: To trigger a system that keeps micro-objectives in front of you, Gerry says to understand this system cuts across every area of your sales cycle. There’s no place that doesn’t contain micro-objectives because the more you know about your prospects, the better positioned you are to sell.
That means separating your micro-objectives out by stages of your sales cycle so that they come back in front of you when you need them. Take the time to define the stages of your sales cycle so that as you move into making this repeatable, you’ll have a context for where those micro-objectives fit.
Basic sales objectives align with discovery questions, such as qualifying the buyer, budget, and buying timeline. They will also be specific to the industry you’re serving and the size of company you’re dealing with. Each of those discovery questions will contain specific pieces of information that add up to a complete picture of this prospect, their company, and their needs. Those are your micro-objectives.
R – Repeatable: Gerry says that to make your micro-objectives consistent, keep them simple. Define the minimum amount of things you need to know about a prospect to make a sale and place them where they belong in your sales cycle.
The power of making your micro-objectives repeatable rests in understanding that there may be 15 things you could know, but to execute this system in a high-stress, complex environment, you’ll need to define the minimum number of things you need to know to advance the sale to the next stage.
To ensure your micro-objectives are consistently used, a best practice is to review what micro-objectives you’ve already learned before you call a prospect or visit them. That way, you’ll be able to quickly ascertain what micro-objectives are next up on your list and ensure they’re your top objectives in your next conversation.
I – Improvable: To improve this system, Gerry says it’s important to avoid drift in your micro-objectives. This means reviewing your calls (or those of your sales reps) to ensure you’re asking the questions that yield your micro-objectives.
Because the best systems are the simplest, Gerry says to review your micro-objectives and determine if the ones you and your team are pursuing are nice to have, or essential to have – and determine if any need to be added. Market shifts, supply chain challenges and a host of other changes may affect your prospects’ lives and businesses and affects your objectives.
M- Measurable: To measure the effectiveness of a system that leverages micro-objectives in your sales process, Gerry says to measure whether the way you’re pursuing your objectives are creating more meetings and making salespeople more productive. Achieving objectives in and of themselves is a measure of progress through a sales cycle, so pipeline velocity should be increasing as well if salespeople are pursuing and tracking their micro-objectives.
Gerry says that one measurement few salespeople are tracking is the ‘sit rate’ for their meetings. More people show up for your scheduled meetings means you’re qualifying and converting better. That has a direct link to how you’re defining and leveraging your micro-objectives in the sales process.