Organizations that are starved for sales opportunities (which apparently is true for about 70% of companies) are tempted to put pressure on their salespeople to create more opportunities. They rationalize that since the salesperson’s job is to sell, the job also includes the work to find new prospects.
Here’s the logic behind their argument. Because salespeople are the ones in the company who have the business sense and the ability to influence other people, they are also the ones who are in the best position to discover new relationships and to create new opportunities out of those relationships.
After all, salespeople know the industry trends, they have the experience with customers, and they know how to transition a prospect from stranger to trusted counselor.
This way of thinking ignores some additional important considerations about how salespeople. Let’s look at those and see if we still want them to be out there prospecting.
What are these other considerations? First, salespeople are expensive. Each one required a big investment on your part and you want to keep them focused on selling, not on activities that take away from their selling time.
Second, prospecting requires sustained, centralized resources to generate enough selling opportunities. An inside salesperson needs enough opportunities to conduct 30 selling conversations per day and an outside salesperson needs enough to conduct two to four conversations per day. Salespeople on their own simply don’t have the resources to produce this many opportunities for themselves. Better to keep them focused on their selling conversations where they are most productive.
If salespeople aren’t going to be doing your prospecting, who should be doing this work? After all, you’re still starved for opportunities.
In a webinar, Justin Roff-Marsh explains that if you want to keep your salespeople busy with selling conversations (and you do!) then you’ll need to invest in campaigns that can produce those opportunities. These campaigns require four steps:
- Number one, your promotional committee should review your historical data and come up with a campaign concept.
- Number two, your campaign coordinator should compile a list of prospects you intend to target. These can be existing customers or potential ones.
- Number three, you should write your pre-approach email, the email that precedes the initial contact from a salesperson or business development coordinator.
- And number four, your campaign coordinator should broadcast the pre-approach email to a small batch of prospects and then create an opportunity in your CRM for each.
Generating sales opportunities is a big job. Your company’s growth depends on doing it successfully. Once you’ve mastered how to run campaigns, you’ll be able to keep your salespeople busy selling. You’ll have no need to ask them to do their own prospecting.