“A goal without a plan is just a wish” is exactly how we approach every sales situation. By looking at whats in your control will dictate outcomes across the board. Sales execution is always a blend of strategy and tactics, without both you will often waste the most valuable resource any seller has – Time.
Conversion rates are always the most valuable input a sales professional can measure as it will help you understand the effectiveness of your efforts and where you should consider pivots. By looking at every step in a sales process and measuring your conversion at each stage will help you see how best to tweak the approach. Here are our 6 steps to be considered in looking at how to best increase your chances to win – conversion.
Targeted Prospecting: Understand the strengths of your product or service and identify customers who would likely be a great fit for your value proposition. All of us would like a whale but often our solutions are not a great fit for one of the Fortune 500 companies. By executing within a smaller segment of the market will build your product or service discipline to cater to one of the larger accounts. As well understand that most targets within smaller accounts are often looking to grow their career and might take you with them as they move on to larger opportunities.
Narrow your targeting to a top 50, 20 and 10 account list and focus your efforts on those key accounts. Mass emailing and playing the numbers game can dilute your efforts and often lead to lower conversion rates due to lack of focus. Take your top account list and do your research! Find out who your competitors are, what their motivations may be and determine the approach you plan to take. List these areas out in a spreadsheet or word document and align a value proposition you think will resonate.
Prospect Profiling: Determine the prospect lists key motivators for buying your product or service. Competitors in the market they might be looking to catch, changes in their product set or strategic direction of their business, industry insight and market trends, cost savings initiatives, etc.
By creating a detailed profile of each targeted account will help you to build the baseline with how your product or service aligns. Many customers are looking for the “Next Best Thing” and are inspired by innovation. Determine your story about the company, products or services to define your aligned value proposition.
Target Key Contacts: Buying decisions are often the most tedious iteration a customer can go through. Without proof points and validation around the effectiveness of your product or service, this aspect from the customer’s side can be difficult to overcome. Determine who owns the budget or likely has an influence on the buying decision and start the process of profiling the contact.
Typology is one of the best tools you can leverage to understand how best connect with each contact. By understanding the model built by Dr. Carl Joung you will be able to relate a role to a typology profile that will align your value in how each individual would like to see it. In summary, the model puts everyone in a “box” or area of the model which looks at 4 key dynamics. Extrovert or Introvert, Thinker or Feeler. If the individual is an IT manager it would be a safe assumption to assume he/she is an introverted thinker, which would tell you to use data points, keep your emails and phone conversations structured and to the point. Define ROI, reductions in spend, time efficiencies etc.
For a better understanding of the model reference these resources:
Preparation for Engagement: Many use structured engagement templates to determine win plans or engagement plans, all are great tools to define the areas of necessary research before your engagement. The abundance of information that is available via LinkedIn or FaceBook, will help you understand the personality and connection you may have to a prospect. In addition to leveraging the typology profiling find a common interest that you may share. Detail out the company value, personal typology and connection outside of work that may help you build report through the sales process.
People buy from people they trust, and to build this trust you need to have a personal connection with the prospect. Leverage this resource to help you create a call plan for each engagement and determine the approach that will help you win. Free Pre Sales Call Plan Template
Qualify: No matter how much you research there is always the chance you have missed the mark regarding the correct level or contact within an account. This can only be understood by engagement in an active conversation with key contacts you have identified. The largest issue I often see in sales is the cold call conversation asking for 30 seconds of your time. This is not a personal approach and tells the prospect you are selling something.
Engage in active conversation about their role, company or something you gleaned from your research. An active dialogue about a personal interest you may share or the goals of their company will break the ice enough to give you the 30 seconds or so you are looking for. Open up the conversation with their first name and an ask about something of interest, don’t lead with a sales pitch as this will shorten your window to sell.
Sales Execution: Sales is always a balance of art and science, the more you understand the structure of your research and determining your approach will allow you to better connect with the prospect. The art is always in the ability to connect with an individual, you cant just pile contacts and hammer the phones you must understand the EQ aspects of engagement. Be better at listening than talking, don’t choke your customer with value propositions, listen for your moments and respond patiently in a consultive manner.
Sales execution should always be structured and never left to the whim of dialing for dollars as this will lower your conversion rates and waste time. By focusing on whats important with every call and executing aligned with a model or plan that is specific to your goals and objectives is the only way to success.
Looking for a great start to your sales planning? Try a few of the templates created HERE