Prospecting is Dead?
Today many people say that prospecting is dead. They have tended to be self-proclaimed gurus who have profited from the difficulties and fears that Sellers have of it, marketing communications firms selling “replacement” products and services, and yes, even Sales People who were looking for a way out.
But at the end of the year it is a seller who is responsible for achieving quota, and blaming someone else for not generating enough leads is not and should not be an excuse. In fact, with social networking, in particular LinkedIn, marketing/lead generation platforms, etc., prospecting is even easier today. Sellers should take solace in that the most difficult form of prospecting, “cold calling”, can be replaced with “warm calling”.
In my view prospecting remains one of the most important skills that a Seller must successfully execute. Thus, Sales Management should use a surgical performance metric to ensure that their Sellers are generating sufficient quality opportunities, balanced pipelines are being achieved, and measurable skill performance is being attained.
The key to successful prospecting is the ability to structure and effectively conduct an ongoing campaign to generate leads targeting “Above the Power Line Buyers”. An effective prospecting campaign typically integrates telephone calling and associated emails, and potentially other media. In fact, we instruct Sellers in The Seven TouchPoints™. Thus, a Seller must be capable of:
- Structuring effective call scripts and emails,
- Delivering their calls,
- Transitioning to the appropriate component of the sales call depending on the prospect’s response to the prospecting call (e.g., proceed with a call introduction, identification of the Buyer’s CBI),
- Successfully generating a follow-up appointment, and
- When appropriate, leaving a persuasive voice message.
The Surgical Performance Metric for Prospecting
A key prospecting measurement to track is New Opportunities to Create, or NOC. A NOC is achieved each time an opportunity progresses from the ‘S’ or Suspect Stage directly to a ‘C’ (by far the most common), ‘B’, or ‘A’. For a closer look at these stages, see my brief video on No Wiggle-Room Opportunity Stages.
A Seller’s monthly NOC objective vs. the actual NOC’s achieved should be reviewed at each month end. A plan to alleviate any NOC gap and, if warranted, the appropriate skill development plan should also be put in place.
Don’t NOC It! The Calculation is Simple
You can determine a Seller’s monthly NOC goal by:
- Identifying how many wins a Seller must achieve in a year to make their quota,
- Dividing the number of wins needed in a year by 0.1, which is the normal close rate for a Suspect. This number will represent the number of Suspects the Seller must generate in a year, and
- Divide that number by 12, which will give you the desired monthly NOC number for a Seller.
What’s Up Next?
Our next article will cover Surgical Performance Metrics for the skill of Account Penetration. In the meantime, provided below are references to additional information that you may find beneficial: