Have a big fat pipeline. The number one solution for almost every other challenge related to sales (closing, negotiations, objection handling, discounting, etc.) is a huge pipeline with a bunch of qualified interest.
A large pipeline put you in a position to ‘want’ the client’s business, not ‘need’ it. When you want the client’s business and don’t need it you sell the right way, ask the right questions, close on their timeline not yours, and can have confidence to walk away from opportunities that are not a good fit or unprofitable. When you need the business you end up selling the wrong way, taking shortcuts, forcing the issue and usually taking on bad clients.
This is why consistent, high quality prospecting is so critical. The challenge is finding the time to do it with everything else we have going on. For me, it starts with identifying my ideal customer profile and getting a list of them from tools like Data.com or Zoominfo. With this list, I usually identify 25-50 that are the main ones I want to focus on getting meetings with over the next 3-6 months. I then follow these companies and some of the people I want to connect with on tools like Owler, Linkedin Sales Navigator, Twitter Lists, Facebook (company pages, not people – that’s weird). The reason I follow companies and people on these tools is because I’m trying to listen for “triggers” that I can use to reach out to them and make a connection with. Using these tools allows me to get the information to come to me instead of me always having to search it out and do research on each one of them.
With these tools in place, I then create a morning routine where I spend one hour once a day reviewing data feeds and looking for triggers while I drink my coffee. When I find a good trigger for a target account I then send them a simple e-mail making the connection. It starts by focusing on them and saying something like “I saw on your website…” or “I read an article recently where you said….” And then making the connection to the reason that prompted me to reach out to them based on some component of my solution that I think could add value (without going into all the features and functions). I then simply ask for a few minutes of their time to discuss or for them to refer me to the most appropriate person to have the conversation with.
By identifying my target accounts, following them with certain tool, creating a morning routine and sending out 3-5 high quality e-mails every day I keep my pipeline nice and full which allows me to close way more effectively and on the client’s timeline not mine.
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About the Author:
John Barrows is the owner of jbarrows LLC and currently provides sales training and consulting services to some of the world’s leading companies like Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Apttus, Box and many others.
His previous experience spans all aspects of sales at every level from making 400 cold calls a week to doing inside sales to running sales as a VP for his first startup and selling it to Staples. He’s an active sales professional who has learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work in sales and loves sharing the tips and techniques he has found to have had an impact along the way. His main goal is to improve the overall education and quality of sales by sharing ideas and techniques that work.