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How To Prospect Without Related Stress
“Until you contact the customer, you haven’t done anything.”
Prospecting Smarter, Not Harder
To prospect smarter, it is important to understand your market and your target. The following are some ideas what your SaaS business must address. First lets’ define [Incoming] leads as potential customers who’ve expressed interest in your company through behaviors like visiting your website, subscribing to your blog, or signing up for a free trial of your offer. The marketing function is generally tasked to qualify if they are a prospect for those in sales.
Sales may target [outgoing] prospects that can be classified as a potential customer even if they have limited or no interaction with your company depending on their qualifications and fit. Both should be nurtured by marketing. To refine prospects further, they may be first a suspect that fit the prospect profile but have not been contacted. While prospects in general represent potential customer profile that have been contacted and are qualified at some level of interest.
Prospecting is the first step in the sales process and to be effective requires consistent application during recommend times of the week below, as well as throughout the month. The myth is keeping pace with a benchmark for a number of calls, but what really counts is learning and expanding upon ‘how to’ gain conversational moments with the prospect to qualify out the bad, and in the good.
42% of sales reps named prospecting as the most challenging stage of the sale process, Hubspot study
The initial planning math is simple: the more prospects you generate, the more chances to close a sale you have, as the ‘right’ prospect equals an opportunity. Time is not so simple given higher than usual expectations today for fast results.
That said do you smell it? The sales cycle’s change, where the buyer is in charge.
- 45% (almost half!) of prospects are researching for their needs on their own before contacting sales per CSO Insights. Some studies have it higher.
- 95% of buyers research online before making purchases accoridng to Accenture and
- 53% of buyers also turn to social media to make buying decisions per Fronetics
Good news: what hasn’t change: people buy from people. Where
91% of prospects don’t mind engaging with a sales rep in the early stages of their buying journey, CSO Insights
Better news: you can control how smart you prospect by planning how to find the ‘right’ prospects. Certainly the sales style is likely servant given the prospect is in charge.
More Math and Statistics
Proceeding with prospecting begins with expanding on the math, or what’s your quota? For example, it is $1 million annually. What’s the average sale? It is $50,000. Therefore you need to close under approximately 2 deals a month. What’s the average close ratio? Say it is 20%, then you are likely qualifying approximately 10 prospects a month to close. Similarly you will likely earn these prospects qualifying 20% of 50 leads or suspects a month. Presumably, you are qualifying by phone where it takes on average 8 calls for each just to get a conversation kick-started. This leads to an initial goal of 20 prospecting calls in a working day minimum. Where 20 calls at ideally five minutes length of conversation each represents approximately two hours of your work day, or a quarter of your day. While 81,6% of top performing salespeople spend 4 hours or more per day on sales-related activities, sales insights lab research. That said consider the following statistics courtesy of Brevet Group:
- If you have existing customers or business relationships, then salespeople who actively ask referrals earn 4 to 5 times more than those who don’t. Consider 91% of customers say they’d give referrals. But only 11% of salespeople ask for referrals
- 30-50% of sales go to the salesperson that responds first be to a lead or qualifying a prospect.
As you make prospecting calls (to qualified incoming leads or outgoing prospects), the best day to call in order is Thursday, Wednesday and Tuesday
- Meantime 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. But 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up.
- Only 13% of customers believe a sales person can understand their needs. Hence the importance of a conversation to gain this understanding
- In a typical firm with 100-500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.
Suggested Prospecting Cadence
Prospecting is the ‘heart and soul’ of your sales success. Two to four hours a day is what you aim for to factor in for prospecting during the week. Other hours will be for qualifying, follow up, and calls to understand their needs through to following up with the other people involved in the decision. Therefore you could load up on prospecting during ideal days of Tuesday afternoon plus full days of Wednesday and Thursday for maximum twenty hours of prospecting. Monday and Friday are for researching your prospects needs and getting answers, improving your messaging through completing administrative sales task about your prospect and more. During a week where you are focusing to close opportunities, you might reduce prospecting to ten hours, but no less than four hours during the week. The balance is focused on closing follow up.
bEffective is here to help you with the details of outline above. Or you can check out tips and technique by opting in to our newsletter.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. —Dale Carnegie
Do You Love Being A Salesperson?
Biggest Challenge In Sales is You
“63% of sales representatives say that cold calls are the worst part of their job, according to sales agent stats.”
There is no question selling has changed dramatically over the last decade. Some of it good and some of it not so good. For instance, I like that the customer is in charge. Or rather thinks that they are in charge. It makes it for a different kind of poker game, so to speak. Presuming the salesperson’s growth mindset is in place, it is highly unlikely that the customer knows more than the salesperson especially if they follow any of the guidelines here in this article or opt-in to our newsletter with similar tips and techniques.
Right now the not so good, is most salespeople today don’t have nearly the right growth mindset, along with the necessary experience, or related skills, let alone organizational support as prior years. Basically most of salespeople are challenge with the simplicity of prospecting and the key performance metrics of various sales performance studies such as those from Sales Mastery confirm this fact. For instance, conversations are down to four from ten on average.
Even a lesser known sales performance source like Sales Insights Lab outline this not so good sales statistics. The silver lining here is if you are down, looking up, you can get up and dramatically act to counter these statistics. First up
“66.7% of respondents said they had reached out to 250 or fewer leads in the past year.”
What!? Hmmm that’s 20 a month which converts to maybe 4 opportunities a month. And you may close one a month. Talk about living on the edge. No wonder they pay you 3x times more than me. Yet, …
- 61% consider selling is harder.
- 54% thought it was harder to get face time.
- Only 19% only ask for referral.
- Only 24% actually exceeded their quota
The most telling statistics is only 18% of salespeople rate their job satisfaction as outstanding. Keep this fact in mind when developing your SaaS business because this satisfaction is largely dependent on how many hours is spent on actual sales activities.
Before outlining workflows or processes to follow to improve on these statistics. bEffective needs for your SaaS business to consider these last two statistics:
- 55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful.
- Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee.
bEffective services are available to mentor, coach or train your SaaS business’ salesperson, sales team or organization to be customer centric and more.
“Keep your sales pipeline full by prospecting continuously. Always have more people to see than you have time to see them.”
Ideally your SaaS business has both inbound and outbound selling opportunities. Today, inbound is the pivot to your sales success along with responsible outbound sales techniques. Referral potential is the icing on the cake if you can include it in your prospecting action plan.
This is by far the most important aspect of prospecting. Establish ‘how-to:’
- Determine if the prospect is workable.
- Determine qualification for prioritizing prospects.
- Is the prospect’s business a fit (geo, industry, # of employees)?
- Have you identified key stakeholders?
- Are the prospect’s constraints (budget and time) a deal-breaker?
- Do you and or your company know their market?
- Does your offer align with their goals /pains?
- Find footing for deepening a connection through personalization, rapport building, and trust development.
Define High to Low. For example, High confirms ideal profile where our offer is aligned to their challenge and or goal. We’ve connected with a common interest and high level of interaction.
Establish organization and individual profile inclusive of company focus (annual report) through to social media posts (what and how they say something). For example, Create a list of top priority prospects on Twitter to more easily track trigger events and streamline the research process
The Initial Prospect Activity
Whether calling or emailing, your prospecting needs to be to your prospect’s particular business, goal, industry. Briefly personalize, be relevant, timely, human, casual and help don’t sell.
Some advocate a balance between alternating call and email cadence: 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, 5 days and breakup
Call – include initial rapport as you leverage paint points and create curiosity as you wrap up.
Email – includes engaging subject line along with with personal opening line. Create a connection based on profiling information, along with a clear call to action.
Each call and email is different from the next cadence
Conversion to Opportunity
During your prospecting phases above, did you qualify:
- Uncover their challenges.
- Confirm budget
- Understand decision processes
- Identify consequences of inaction
- Identify how you may succeed
bEffective has the mindset, experience, and skills regarding prospecting should you need help.
“There is no easy button in sales. Prospecting is hard, emotionally draining work, and it is the price you have to pay to earn a high income.”
You’ve read our promise, for the challenge you may be facing along with the ‘how to’ solve it.
bEffective offers services to help your SaaS business establish its revenue growth methodology in whole or for the module you need help to improve upon.
Should you wish to do it for yourself, then check out our resources menu for ‘how-to’ solve the challenge mentioned above as well as others in this area of our website. Keep in mind the research and science dictates the ‘right’ revenue growth approach needs to be built in sequence, integrated and more for achieving the promise percentage, dollars through to consistent cash flow.
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