Sales Coaching, Sales Productivity, Sales Techniques

The difference between missing and crushing your quota

Over my years in sales, I can attribute my success to my diligence and level of activity. I knew I was always outperforming our competitors because my level of activity and contact points were 5 times higher than everyone else’s.

People are busy and as a sales professional, you are very rarely at the top of anyone’s list. So to be really successful you need to engineer a position where you keep connected to your prospect so that you stay at the front of their mind.  This applies when you are hunting an inbound or outbound lead, or connecting with an existing account or opportunity.

The problem

I have seen this in all countries I have worked in and across multiple sales and account management teams. It goes something like this…

Manager: “Have you managed to book an appointment with the hot lead that came in last week?”

Sales Rep:“I have not managed to speak to them yet”

Manager: “Ok, how many times have you tried to contact them this week?”

Sales Rep: “I have sent an email twice this week and given them a call”

This demonstrates the problem in a nutshell.  The level of activity most sales reps deliver, is barely enough to get them noticed. I believe it stems from fear. Fear that your sales prospect will not buy.  Fear they will tell you to go away. Fear that they will think badly of you for trying to contact them too much. In all my years of selling, in amongst the volume of calls, emails, LinkedIn messages and text messages, nobody has ever told me they didn’t want to work with me because I was contacting them too much. If anything, the opposite happens. Often I’ve been praised for my persistence and patience.

American dollars clenched isolated on white

So how do you know when you’re contacting a sales prospect enough?

The chart below is a study by Microsoft showing average contact points by sales professionals. There are two key points I want to draw your attention to. First, by the time you get to the 4th attempt over 89% of sales professionals have given up the chase. So, if you are pushing past that number of contact points this gives you a huge competitive advantage. Second, it is not until you get past contact point #7 that your sales prospect is really starting to notice you. There are so many ways you can contact someone today: email, social media, desk phone and mobile as well as multiple inboxes. If you manage your email like most people, you delete all the crap first. It just makes sense that you have to work much harder to be noticed.

Microsoft_Salesprocess copy

Even if you take this study with a pinch of salt it is obvious that the math is very simple. You need to massively increase your level of touch points to increase the volume of sales conversations that you are having.

What this could look like for you

Every business is different so there is no silver bullet to solve this. It depends on what stage of the sales funnel your prospect is in to determine how you should hunt. The answer is definitely not to just send a s**t-load more email’. It is best to come up with a good formula that will work for your team based on your market and industry and then test it. I thought it would be helpful to show you an example of what has worked for me in the past.

This is an example of how I would hunt an outbound sales lead that has been researched as a potential, good fit for us as a company and Is inline with one of our ideal customer profiles. Below are some key things you need to decide in advance.

  • A timeline you want to work.For example, 15 business days.
  • The methods you will use, such as  email, LinkedIn, Twitter, phone calls, voicemails and personal mailout.
  • Put these into a process. What will you start with, what will you finish with, and all the steps in between.
  • The frequency of contacts.

The key is to always have variety in your contact points so they really know you are super keen to speak to them. Be sure to add a personal touch to every contact point you can throughout the process to give yourself the best chance for success.

For each sales prospect, there should be 2-3 contact points per day, yes per day. This is never a problem as long as you have the right amount of leads/accounts and you stay focused. When you have been doing this for a while patterns will quickly emerge. You can then determine what really works for your business and become even more effective at selling.

I hope this helps

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