Prospecting isn’t an event, it’s a campaign
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Bill is responsible for sales at his company and considers himself a tenacious worker. Whenever he discovers a new prospect, he enters him or her into the system. From there, he will attempt to contact that person by phone, through email and even via office visit, if possible. However, after a number of failed attempts, Bill is likely to toss the person into the sea of dead prospects.
Does this sound familiar at all to you? This is the typical approach to prospecting. Besides being disorganized and tedious, the process yields less-than-stellar results because it inhibits prospects from becoming familiar with the salesperson's organization.
Instead of adopting the common haphazard approach to prospecting, it's time to think of every outreach effort as part of a larger campaign to engage prospects.
Meet Laura. Before implementing the campaign approach, she employed a strategy similar to Bill's, usually attempting to reach prospects seven or so times before giving up. Now, she uses the campaign approach to reach prospects. Here is what her new process looks like:
Identify: Once she identifies a prospect, she adds him or her to her CRM system along with all the relevant information she can find.
Outreach 1: She attempts to call the prospect. In the likely event that she doesn't reach the prospect, she leaves a message saying that she is going to send over a letter with best-practice case studies that highlight how she could add value to the prospect's organization. She reiterates this information in an email.
Send Letter 1: She sends a letter containing best-practice case studies.
Follow up on letter: She now attempts to contact the prospect at different times of the day over the course of a week or two without leaving a voicemail.
Announce package: She leaves a voicemail and email explaining that the prospect will be receiving a package with some ideas for a new program.
Send package: She sends a big package with more high-value ideas to help the prospect.
Follow up on package ...
Send letter 2 ...
Follow up on letter ...
And so on ...
She uses this same campaign for each new prospect. Yes, it is more labor-intensive than the haphazard approach, but it slowly builds a connection with the prospect even in the likely event that she can't get through. Of course, if she does connect with the prospect, she simply references the last letter or package sent and then goes into her call script.
Here are a few key techniques from Laura's process that can translate into a successful prospecting campaign for any salesperson:
1. Create multiple steps. Plan out ahead of time what your campaign will look like and what you will send to the prospect at each step. Make sure that everything you send over is of actual value to the prospect. Brochures don't cut it. Instead, create 3-5 different pieces to send the prospect, which can each serve as a legitimate reason to connect. Even in the event that you don't hear back after Step 2, you are still slowly making yourself known to the prospect, which makes him that much more likely to take your call the next time.
2. Call and email in between steps. Since you've sent something of value to the prospect, you now want to follow up to learn what matters most to her. The goal of any campaign is to simply get through to the prospect. By having a consistent process, you simply follow directions and let the campaign do the real work. As soon as you actually reach the prospect, you start the selling process.
3. Warm them up with personal touches. People still open mail, especially when it's personal, so don't just send boilerplate letters and packages to prospects. Make them personal with handwritten notes and individualized gestures. One step in your campaign could be to send a letter with a business article that may be highly relevant to the prospect based on his current situation. The key is to show that you've done your homework and see the prospect as more than just a number.
Remember, developing a prospecting campaign can be a bit of work up front, but once you have it laid out, all you have to do is follow the steps. By taking every prospect through this same campaign, you slowly build connections in a world where it is increasingly difficult to get through the barrage of voicemail, gatekeepers and other barriers.
So give it a shot. Lay out your campaign, and take your next series of prospects through the steps. The more prospects you have in a particular campaign, the easier it is to implement a systematic approach.
Have you ever used a campaign for your prospecting? Please share your results below in the comments.
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