Qualified Deals: do you have any??

Qualified Deals: do you have any?? Answer these questions and find out.

• What is the business pain the prospect is experiencing – in their language?
• How is the project need defined by the prospect and can we address it?
• Does the project have both a name and a budget?
• What is the time frame for a decision AND for a completed implementation?
• Who are the members and their roles on the decision making team?
• What are the criteria for each member of the decision making team?
• When do they expect a completed proposal?
• Who else are they talking to and how likely is it that we will make the shortlist?


Who Cares if Prospects “Fit?” You Should!

Over the past several years, most of us would say that any prospect with a pulse is a good prospect. But the reality is there are a number of other criteria that actually determine who is the best target. The stronger the fit of the prospect, the better chances you have to turn them into a profitable customer.

Given that the most limited resource you have is time – a random approach to working your sales territories has the potential to leave a lot of unclaimed revenue on the table.  Not to mention your valuable time, blowing around like leaves in the autumn wind.

Over the years, we have preached the importance of “doing your homework.”  This is not just a cute tagline; this is a serious strategy for everyone who needs to make sales.  In archery, hitting a target is a lot easier and more productive if you are aiming at the right target, and within reasonable shooting distance from it.  If that same archer was blindfolded, and spun around a few times before shooting, how many bulls-eyes would he hit?  How many times would he even hit the target?

Doing your homework, especially regarding your target prospects, will help you aim and focus on the right target, to increase your chances of a hit on each shot you take.  This is just smart business.

Please read my article on Creating a ‘Customer Fit Index’ for your Sales Territory” for some ideas on how to focus on the right targets.

— Lisa Dennis

Customer Fit: Do You Know What You Are Seeking?

You’re looking for more business.  The bad news is, so is everyone else in the world.  the good news is, you have a plan.  At least you will after reading this.

Evaluate the makeup of your best customers.  Things to consider:

  • market position
  • revenue size of organization
  • number of employees
  • market type
  • technology platform
  • competitive strategy
  • core business challenge
  • opportunity size
  • core product penetration
  • level of support needed
  • referral or reference potential
  • industry fit.

What common factors do they share?  What trends do you see emerging?

Develop your own set of custom criteria, get internal buy-in for the list, and prioritize by overall value to your business.  Go do this!  Now!

— Lisa Dennis

Creating a ‘customer fit index’ for your sales territory

Knowledgence’s president, Lisa Dennis, has a strategic & tactical article for salespeople in Mass High Tech http://ow.ly/65Ozd

So Many Sins, So Little Time

I read an interesting, if somewhat basic, article by Stephanie Parker yesterday, on SocialMediaToday.com, entitled 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media.  In this article, Ms Parker lists some guidelines (I think “deadly sins” is a little dramatic in this case, but hey, it got my attention) for newbies on the social media business scene.

She discusses the pitfalls of posting too much, and posting too little, and how doing either can damage your credibility in the social media community.  While there is no general standard for amount of posting one organization should do in any given day/week/month, the old phrase “moderation in all things” applies here.  Posting too much makes you a blabbermouth; posting too little makes you a wallflower.  Neither extreme will help your business.

Along the same lines, Ms Parker addresses the nature of what you share.  You don’t have to be, nor should you be, “all business, all the time.”  Keep the “social” in social media by posting or commenting on things that you think might interest your followers, but not to the point that you become known as the wacky organization that posts all the cute kitty videos.  But if your personal interest in music / art / literature/ photography / etc. intersects somehow with the nature of your business, by all means, share it with your followers.  This presents your human side, and ultimately, people do business with people they like.  So be likable!

Another part of what makes social media social is the interactivity. Don’t just be a facilitator, be a participant.  On your own pages, if you start a conversation that people join, make sure you contribute and respond to other people’s posts.  If people are contributing on your pages, it’s because they want you to hear what they think, and they want to hear what you think.  And to that end, Ms Parker also urges you to participate in a variety of social media sites.  Different sites have different strengths and weaknesses, and target audiences.  If you’re going to do social media correctly, you want to be seen at all the cool places.

Her final warning is a good one: not to get too hung up on metrics.  There are ways of measuring the effectiveness and ROI of social media, but ultimately, you are trying to increase your business’ visibility and build some relationships.  Do that over time, and the ROI will come.

Chuck Dennis

Use value to break through voicemail and gatekeepers

Use value to break through voicemail and gatekeepers. Does your message or opening sound like every other sales person? Are you repeating the same message over and over, and wonder why no one is calling you back? Develop strong, important, customer-focused unique selling propositions (USPs) and then dole them out one at a time, as you move through the cycle to get a live connection. This gives you the ability to add something new to every contact you make to get the meeting. This is much more intriguing to a prospect than hearing the same “sales-y” message repeatedly. http://ow.ly/5MLcf

Death by Scorecard

Love this new blog post by Adrian C. Ott on Harvard Business Review’s blog page.  It’s titled “Are Scorecards and Metrics Killing Employee Engagement?,” and it is spot on, at least to my way of thinking.  I have never believed that the long list of the usual call center netrics were of any value.  The only metric that matters, at the end of the interaction, is this: was the customer completely happy?

The other metrics… they are for management’s amusement.  They can kick at the tires, and poke at them with a stick, and make certain tweaks that could result in shaving another 0.358 seconds off the average call.

But the only people who really care about that are the higher-up management, and shareholders in their quarterly dog & pony show.  All your customer cares about is getting her issue successfully addressed in an attentive and courteous manner.  This is about hiring the right people, and training those people to “do right things,” as opposed to “doing things right.”

Hiring robots who quote company policy might save you some money but will cost you a lot of customer love.  Never a good trade-off.

— Chuck Dennis

ViewsHound | Your customer service is mo

ViewsHound | Your customer service is more important than your product http://ow.ly/5C013 You must believe this to be successful! #service

Do a Value Proposition Reality Check

“How aligned are your marketing and sales efforts with your customers and prospects? Have each member of your teams jot down what they think your company’s value proposition is. Why do customers do business with you? Do you all have the same answer? A poorly tuned value proposition is indicative of misalignment between the marketing and sales plans of your company. But just fixing the value proposition isn’t enough. Figuring out where the disconnects are and aligning them into a consistent communication and delivery system is key to gaining marketing share.”

– Lisa Dennis, excerpted from 360 Degrees of the Customer

Mid-Year Report: How’s It Going?

Yes, it is July, people.  Q2 has just ended for many of us, and we are looking at giving our numbers a boost in order to salvage, or jumpstart, our sales.  And yes, this is probably the toughest time of year to figure it all out.

Why?  Vacations – your customers’s AND your salespeople’s – are one big reason.  And if you are below your YTD revenue targets, then there is pressure in the knowledge that time is no longer on your side as you try to catch up to those numbers.

I don’t bring this up to give you agita; rather, I bring it up to give you a heads-up.  Here are some things you can be doing now, as alternatives to praying or burying your head in the sand…

  • Define and refine your messaging for the fall.  You’ve got new offerings coming – prepare now!
  • Review and scrub your pipeline.  Don’t let hot and warm leads rot in the summer!
  • Review your referral strategy.  You’ve got to give in order to get, right?  Think about who you can help.
  • Plan for new demand generation activities.  Thinking about a newsletter or social media campaign?  What else is percolating?
  • Need a sales training tune-up? Now’s the time!  Make sure your sales team is ready for the stretch run!

You want more details, more ideas?  Click here!

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