Did you have as many new prospect meetings as you wanted in the last 12 months? If not, why not? And, most importantly, what will you do differently in the next 12 months that will yield better results?
If you didn’t get as many meetings as you wanted it’s important to pinpoint what went wrong. While that may seem obvious, few make time to figure it out.
When companies ask us for help diagnosing why they aren’t getting enough meetings, the first place we look is at how much time is dedicated to mining for new prospects. There is a direct correlation between time spent and success (as long as you’re doing door opening properly – for more information about doing door opening properly, visit our blog. If you’re doing door opening properly but not spending enough time, for whatever reason, results will suffer.
Leaders and the managers they hire to run sales rightfully want sellers to focus on closing sales (i.e. writing proposals, chasing prospects who go silent, nurturing, navigating approval processes, dealing with last minute naysayers who can put the kibosh on sales, late entry objections, negotiations after the negotiations, chasing signatures, etc). After all, if careful attention isn’t given to these aspects of selling, sales will not close. The problem comes when these activities completely overshadow keeping the top of the funnel full of new prospects. Once current deals work their way through the pipeline, the pipeline dries up, creating unnecessary peaks and valleys in revenue generation. How to solve this very common problem in your organization? Here are a few suggestions:
- Management mandates a certain amount of time is spent on getting new, first time meetings with the right prospects and tracks this metric to be sure it’s happening.
- Management removes non-revenue generating activities (like training less experienced sellers, filling out reports, or servicing clients) that steal time from prospecting.
- Management provides additional resources (internal or external) that can and will open new doors and feed the funnel consistently with the right prospects. Caution: if you want meetings with executive level decision makers, have senior level door openers do the prospecting. They are better at navigating high-level conversations and getting the right outcomes. Remember, these conversations are quick, often less than 90 seconds, and you don’t get a second chance.
Notice “management” is the first word in each solution.
It’s management’s responsibility to ensure these necessary parts of sales receive the necessary attention. This is true even if you hired a sales manager to carry out your vision. Don’t assume the manager is protecting the top of the funnel, even if it is his/her job to do so. And, if you are a leader who is also responsible for rainmaking, it’s even more critical that you make time or get help (internal or external) to keep your funnel full. Remember: You MUST get in more doors if you want to close more sales.