The biggest sales challenge companies now face
Most companies face a consistent challenge when it comes to sales. Those responsible for business development either don’t have the skills to get in with the right decision makers or their time is better spent on closing sales than opening doors.
The Pandemic’s effect on sales left few opportunities for sellers to meet buyers in person (i.e. trade shows and conferences). Moving forward, many companies are choosing to save money, time and health risk to their employees by having their executives skip these events. Decision Makers have experienced that they can stay put and still learn about the buying options available to them.
Businesses who are serious about growth have no choice but to adapt and find ways for their sellers to find decision makers where the decision makers are…in their offices (whether it is a kitchen table or corporate location).
Companies who may or may not have successfully mastered virtual selling, now need to also master (or outsource) virtual prospecting. Conducting a well-run virtual prospect meeting includes operating Zoom, dressing nicely (from the waist up) and being succinct enough to get to your next meeting on time. But mastering the art of conducting the meeting is very different than mastering the art of getting the meeting.
What’s working is changing
Since the Pandemic, companies, industry groups and CEO organizations have asked me to speak to their members and employees because I run a company that sets executive-level prospect meetings. I share openly what our highly-skilled Door Openers are doing now which is working to land important appointments for our clients. This is data we have been collecting and analyzing for many years, including during the Pandemic. We’ve noticed that what’s working regarding technique as well as sales language has been changing approximately every 8 weeks. Businesses which are learning or still employing sales methods for getting in the door developed prior to the Pandemic could find themselves at a severe disadvantage when it comes to landing meetings now.
Decision makers want what most don’t do
Think about what would work for you, as a business leader, for someone who doesn’t know you to land a meeting with you. The seller would likely need to research you, your company, your challenges and say or write something that was meant just for you… a reason why the meeting would be the best decision you made all week. And, you would likely not respond on the first reach out. It might take a few different well-done voicemails and a few well-written personal emails before you responded. Now, think about what you or your sellers are doing to land meetings with your most important prospects. Are you doing what you just identified would work for you? If the answer is no, the approach may need to be adjusted if you want to accelerate results.
New metrics for sales
Just as strategies and tactics need to change, so do the methods by which results are judged. Here are a few of the most important metrics to monitor to decide if something needs to change in your approach:
What % of first meetings result in second meetings?
If this number is lower than 99.9% there are 3 culprits. First, the seller may be spending time pursuing prospect companies or decision makers who were never right from the start. Second, the seller may not be delivering enough value during the meeting to warrant a second. And finally, the seller may not have asked for a second meeting.
As part of our Door Opener® Service, we make certain that every prospect on the list deserves our client’s time and attention. We provide a “mini-refresher” on meeting best practices so that our client’s sellers are armed with the right questions to ask and know responses to the objections they’ll face. When the meeting is virtual (which most are these days), our Door Opener is on the meeting too. There is a warm hand-off and, if our client’s seller doesn’t ask for the second meeting, our Door Opener will jump in and get it.
What % of deals have you closed would you classify as “important win” deals
When the Pandemic began many companies changed their definition of an important win. Now, it may be time to re-look at the definition and make sure prospects which are being pursued have the ability to deliver the important win upon closing. Companies report closing new clients, but when they scrutinize whether the new clients are the kind they really want, the kind which will help them achieve their goals, the answer is too often “no.”
How much time are you or your sellers spending weekly on contacting new prospects to fill the top of your sales funnel?
We recommend having sellers track how much of their time is actually spent on pursuing new business. This is not the business that falls in your lap that you’ll close because it’s there. This is the business that will take your business to the next level. There is a direct correlation between time spent and success. The more time spent pursuing new prospects, the more meetings you will have and the more opportunities you will have to close. If you are spending too little time, you will find yourself with a less than desired sales pipeline which could have serious implications for your future.
Mastering or outsourcing virtual prospecting
A few options to consider if you need to take your company’s virtual prospecting to the next level.
- Chart your own path. You can download the 5 Planks of Door Opening Success, a free webinar, to have recent information on what works now. https://koppconsultingusa.com/webinars/
- Enlist the help of a consultant or trainer. Ask whether they or their companies have recently executed heavy prospecting. If the answer is no, they may not be the best choice to help you now.
- Outsource the Door Opening. Choose a company of experts, who know how to get the doors open virtually and can serve up the meetings for you or your sellers. Visit koppconsultingusa.com for more information on how to know if outsourcing is right for you.
For over 21 years Kopp Consulting’s Door Opener® Service has been providing clients the opportunity to outsource the part of sales that most sellers struggle to do well. Our Door Openers are senior level business developers who represent our clients with the highest level of professionalism. They land the Executive Level prospect meetings businesses need to grow sales.