In the first episode of the new CPSA Sales Hacks podcast series, we will investigate the differences between hunting and farming in sales, when each approach works best, and how to develop a sales funnel which feeds off inbound and outbound channels.
Our guest on this episode of the CPSA’s Sales Hacks podcast is Mark Hunter, prominent sales influencer recognized for his cutting-edge thought leadership, entertaining value and actionable strategies.
Listen to this episode of the CPSA Sales Hacks Podcast and discover:
* What does a modern sales funnel look like?
* What business intelligence is needed before deciding on the sales and marketing channels to use?
* In sales, what's the difference between hunting and harvesting?
* How can companies shift from outbound hunting to inbound harvesting?
Want to hear more? Check out these bonus soundbites:
* Mark’s tips for tracking the progress of each lead through the sales pipeline so you always know where every lead stands.
* What is the role of marketing in building and leading the sales funnel?
* At what stages in the sales funnel should one hunt, and when should one harvest?
Read the edited transcription:
Bill Banham: Mark Hunter, welcome to the Sales Hack Show.
Mark Hunter: Hey, thank you for having me on.
Bill Banham: Today, we are talking about building a sales funnel and harvesting leads. So firstly Mark, tell me what does a modern sales funnel look like?
Mark Hunter: Well, a modern sales funnel is not as wide as it used to be. It's actually, and this is going to sound weird, easier to get leads today than ever. The challenge is, you can fill your leads up with ones that aren't going anywhere. So I think the modern sales funnel is one that is actually narrower, because my whole goal is I want to have fewer leads ... Oh, wow, did I just say that? I just said that ... that I can actually spend more time with, because when I spend more time with better prospects, I close more deals at full revenue.
Bill Banham: Now, let's talk a bit about some of the information needed to help shape the sales and marketing funnel and what channels perhaps a company chooses to use. What business intelligence is needed before deciding on the sales and marketing channels to employ?
Mark Hunter: Well, I think the first thing we have to know is, who is our dream customer? Who's the dream client? When we really understand who that dream client is, the dream customer, then we say okay, where does this person reside? Where does this person hang out? Where is this person, what's the type of industry they're in? What type of business they're in? And we build back from there. Too many times what happens is, we just go fishing in ponds because we think there is a lot of fish, but we wind up with fish that we really don't want. So I say, start with the end, the dream client, and work your way back up. That's going to help tell you really where you want to be focusing your marketing and your sales efforts.
Bill Banham: Now I'm going to slightly bend the terminology there from fishing and instead...
Mark Hunter: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Bill Banham: I'm hoping you can share with our audience, for those who are perhaps new to sales, what's the core difference between, in sales language, what's the core difference between hunting and harvesting?
Mark Hunter: Wow, you know it really is just really how you want to define the term. I refer to hunting as, I'm going to go out and find my own leads. I'm going to find my own leads and I'm going to take some of those leads, turn them into prospects, qualify them, turn them into customers. Harvesting is really more of, and I don't really want to use the term inbound strategy, but it's more that. I'm going to put all these things out there and they're going to develop and nurture and people are going to follow me. They might be following me on social media, following my business on social media, different marketing channels, different things like that. What happens is, they kind of grow into customers. When I think of harvesting, I'm thinking of not really being able to have access, being able to communicate with that customer, until they're really pretty far along in the decision making process. I personally prefer hunting because I want to be able to create the meeting. Create the dialogue right from the beginning.
Bill Banham: So, how can companies shift from outbound hunting to inbound harvesting? Should they have a strategy where they want to take that slower growth approach?
Mark Hunter: Well, yeah and I'll tell you what, a lot of companies are going through this one. You really need both. You really need both. I know a lot of companies that actually sell inbound sales tools. They help you, but you know how they get many of their customers? By outbound prospecting. So really, you need to have both. What I find is this, I love inbound leads. They're the best ones, but chances are, they're not going to be qualified enough. One of the things, one of the challenges that I find with inbound and with harvesting, is you end up with a lot of people with heartbeats. You know, they inquired about this, or they downloaded this, or checked on this, but they're really not buyers. They're just kicking the tires. They're people that I would refer to as just having a heartbeat. A lot of people have heartbeats, but they're never going to buy from you. I have a dog, my dog has a heartbeat, but my dog is never going to buy anything from me. So, my problem is that I can get lost in the weeds if I just deal with inbounds. So I've really got to have a good vetting process and that's why I like the cross between inbound and outbound. There's a new term out there, really called all-bound, and I think that really kind of sums it up. You want to be doing everything.
Bill Banham: What is the value to harvesting leads in terms of sending relevant, valuable information to prospects on a regular basis? So, surely there is a percentage of inbound leads that will result in if you're making regular contact, you're staying in people's minds. As opposed to that very active, focused hunting approach.
Mark Hunter: Oh without a doubt. Let's use an example we can really relate to, Tim Horton's coffee. I mean, if you think about it, Tim Horton's really does a lot of advertising. What are they doing? They're keeping their name out there, they're keeping their name out so when you want a good cup of coffee what do you do? You go to Tim Horton's. They engage the customer with their various contests, their various promotions. All of it to engage, to really make it very comfortable for when you're ready for a cup of coffee for you to decide on Tim Horton’s. It really is the same thing we're going through when we do inbound, and we're kind of looking to harvest and we're putting these tools out there, we're putting these things out there. Not every item we put out, whether it be a piece of information, or whatever it is, is going to resonate with every potential customer. But each one's going to resonate with somebody, and you put enough of those out there and then they begin to say, "Ah, these are the people I want to do business, this is the company I choose to do business with”. Because what I want to do, when I'm doing this right, when I call you up, say I'm doing outbound okay, I call you up and I introduce and you say, "Oh yeah, I'm aware of you guys. I've been getting information from you". You see, this is where when we blend inbound and outbound together it can really become a very powerful combination.
Bill Banham: Would you say there's any truth in the suggestion that the best outbound sales people are maybe more extroverted whereas perhaps a lot of sales folk who've relied on inbound leads, which have already been pre-qualified, and perhaps as a more gentle, educational conversation, could they maybe be more introverted?
Mark Hunter: Well yeah, that's a natural feeling. I like to think of this, outbound people and inbound people, you're truly using your personality. It's just having a conversation. If I just have a conversation, and I believe, and this is what so many people, "Well I couldn't sell that product. I could never sell that product". It's not about selling that product, it's not even about how you sell. I have to make 8 calls, 10 calls or 50 calls, or whatever, it's why. Why you sell. Because really what you're trying to do is, you want to impact people positively. You feel that you can help them achieve something. When we take on that approach, when we take on that mentality, that mindset, it's amazing how much easier it is to pick up the phone. I mentioned before we began this, and when we get done this, I've got some more prospecting calls I want to make. Yeah, I want to make some more prospecting calls, because there's some companies and people I want to talk to because I know I can help them. I believe it and I believe in it strongly. So, I love picking up the phone, I love calling. At the same time, I love it when I get inbound calls.
Bill Banham: Now let's talk a bit about keeping organized. So, rightly or wrongly, maybe some of our listeners have this idea that the typical hunter is someone who'll go off to potentially strong leads, and keep chasing other leads, and maybe not necessarily log all of the communications in such a detailed fashion perhaps as in the tactics employed by harvesting. What are some of your tips for logging all communications, regardless of whether you're a hunter or you're a harvester, between you and the prospect, in an organized, accessible fashion, which is doable as well?
Mark Hunter: Well, boy what you just described, is a huge problem that sales people are always quick to say, "Oh I'll remember that, I'll remember that". We don't remember 90% of what we hear, and it is, you have to log it. An organization, regardless if you're a solopreneur, or you're with a company, I really believe if it isn't recorded, it did not happen period. What do I mean by if recorded, well you may be a solopreneur with a very small list of leads that you're working with and it maybe nothing more than a notepad. Fine, I know some very effective sales people who use ... but it might be more of a complex CRM. Well maybe it's not even a CRM system, maybe it's just an excel spreadsheet. Chances are, you probably have some sort of a CRM system. You have to have that open at all times. I can't stress that enough. People are going to say, "Well I'll get to it at the end of the week, I'll get to it". Yeah, we forget and we skip. The easiest way to maintain records, is by doing it as you go. It's not going to slow you down if you are only recording the key information. Record the key information, then next, record the key information, next, record the key information, next.
Bill Banham: That's perfect. Thank you very much and just on personal note Mark, every time you and I have a conversation like this, I feel that there's a huge amount of value and I always learn lots, so thank you very much. Thank you for being the guest today.
Mark Hunter: Hey, thank you so much and you know what, sales is absolutely without a doubt the greatest profession. Why? Because we get to influence and impact people and help them see and achieve what they didn't think was possible. To me, that jazzes me and I hope that jazzes everyone who is listening to this.