All opportunities are not created equal. Some are destined to close thanks to great timing coupled with the right offering for the right people. This blogpost is all about creating magic with great leads.
Each Pre-Lead is a coming sales event
The RFP’s are not out yet. The decision making process has just started. This is the right time to take the initiative and pitch your offering. And you go with the understanding that the prospect you are approaching is clearly in need of what you are pitching. So how does an opportunity transform into a sale?
It begins with a specific piece of information that you get, well in advance, allowing you to tailor your pitch around the prospect’s specific need. Your pitch may be a very personalized email, a voice mail or if you are lucky, a one-on-one phone call with the prospect. But all of those entrées need to meet a real need or address a specific pain point.
Every Compile opportunity can convert to a sale, hence it is worth investing the effort to develop a mini-campaign to around it.
When I worked in the sales ops function I saw our best salespeople take these early opportunities and make so much more of them. They not only took the business from a competitor, but sometimes also grew the opportunity from a plain vanilla product to a more comprehensive solution.
The next big challenge is getting these early leads from the leads processing desks into the hands of the most creative salespeople. I have often seen sales people cringe at the leads delivered, and hand them over to the most junior reps.
Yes, the initial contact is hard but it gets easier if you can speak directly to the contact about a project that has already been identified and funded. When the sales rep on the phone can communicate the specific competitive advantage of their solution for a project, then the prospect is more willing to return the phone call, or reply to an email.
What’s in it for me?
What are the chances that a prospect will open an email where the subject line is about the project that is on the prospect’s planning horizon? Or when the voicemail begins with the opener, “I have some information that you might find useful in your upcoming project xyz, because it helps you overcome your pain point quicker and better.” Or when you finally get through to a live call, you talk about the prospects problems and issues and not the feature set of your offering.
I would say very high. But, there’s a catch.
Most SDR organizations are not designed to pursue a qualified lead with a time-definite sales event, they are incentivised to get appointments. Yes, appointments are necessary, but an outside salesperson’s time is limited and expensive. When they get a mere appointment, they get an opportunity to get in front of a prospect, and the good ones use that time to find the prospect’s potential projects, pain points, and the influence structure. So not a wasted call at all, but not necessarily anything that is going to help that quarter’s quota achievement.
A Compile pre-lead promises a time definite sales event and not only the project, but the context around that project. The opportunity for the salesperson is to prepare, pursue, and package the pre-lead to hand off to the utside salesperson with a clear path identified, and the prospect anxious to learn more. That is the Compile way.
Now , this will not work very well in a dialing-for-dollars environment. It takes time to prepare, pursue and package. Fewer appointments will be set, but each appointment will provide a real opportunity for the outside sales to close a deal. With a better compensation match, tied to deals won rather than appointments set and more training, your lead-gen process will change for the better.
Remember the “magic” I referred to above? This joint pursuit of known, upcoming sales events is what I meant. The outside salespeople working with the leads salesperson, leading to a win ratio far beyond more conventional means.
We can make a difference to our customers by thinking through what matters to them, by putting ourselves in their shoes, and by focusing on how we can help create a better experience for them.