Sales is one of the oldest professions around. In the early days, success in sales was considered something of an art form. Now, the extensive amount of technology and data available have caused sales leaders and sellers to be more analytical and scientific.
For most, this comes as a relief; it’s much easier to have a positive impact when successful activities are objective and measurable than when they are open to interpretation by each seller.
In the AA-ISP’s 2017 Top Challenges report, sales reps were asked about their biggest obstacles, and the majority answered ‘Lead Quantity and Quality.’ This points to a deficiency in prospecting and qualification, an area where many sales leaders have applied technology-based analytics in recent years.
The good news is that a funnel is widest at the top–more calls, emails and conversations occur here than at any other part of the sales funnel. There are more opportunities to practice implementing new skills and techniques, as well as a much faster route to measuring the effectiveness of a new approach.
We use the following three ratios with our clients to judge efficiency and effectiveness.
A huge amount of time is wasted unsuccessfully trying to reach prospects. Bad numbers, phone trees, gatekeepers and even misleading titles present obstacles in getting the right Decision Maker on the phone. In order to maximize this time, it’s important to try and gather information from every conversation.
In this way, using the phone as a research tool is equally as important as leveraging sales technologies, such as ZoomInfo, to gather information. The two should be used in tandem: each information source can be helpful in providing additional context for the other.
Due to the difficulty of reaching the Decision Maker, every second spent in conversation with a prospect is valuable and can carry a lot of pressure. Most sellers can dramatically increase success in this area with a simple change: open the discussion with a statement focused on the prospect, instead of immediately introducing what the seller’s company does. This requires doing research on the prospect and their company before reaching out. Finally, you need to able to summarize what you know into a short statement that connects to your call. (Not what you do, but why your company exists!)
Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables when it comes to sending prospecting emails. The ratio of emails sent to meetings scheduled only provides a snapshot of the degree of success. Funnel Clarity’s research reveals that a successful email strategy balances the amount of time spent on each sales email with the degree of email personalization.
If you are only customizing email templates with the prospect’s name and company (or even similar companies you work with), it’s not enough. Prospects get so many emails that your email will only stand out if it contains personal knowledge or a mutual belief. This will humanize your outreach against a sea of generic feature-and-benefit messages.
To a small degree, sales will always incorporate personal interpretations. At the end of the day, it’s about making relationships with other humans. However, research has proven that certain behaviors yield better results. It’s necessary to step out of your comfort zone and leverage best practices in order to improve.
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