Consultancy Special Interest Group
20 September 2015

Finding a Consistent Pipeline of Sales Prospects

by Rob Munro.

MagnetSales prospecting is a hot topic for many consultancies. Without a predictable source of sales revenue the business cannot thrive and grow. Compounded with time constraints, prospecting can become a crisis management situation if we don’t have a system that works.

Traditional Sales prospecting comes with a potential number of obstacles such as:

  • Unfamiliarity with business development
  • Determining what marketing and sales approaches work best in your practice
  • As small players in a big market, getting the message to the right people is hard to do
  • As big players, routing the inbound enquiry to the right group is time consuming, and opportunities can be lost
  • Not having an effective system to keep in touch

There is much hype on the right approach to finding and winning clients. Yes, you can wait for the phone to ring – that’s called inbound sales. However, what is needed is an effective and predictable way that works evenly and constantly to reach your market and start sales conversations. Moving to an outbound sales strategy can give you more control over driving your own services to the right paying clients.
So how can you do this? Learning from other industries and approaches made sense to me. I came across the idea of outbound email prospecting and “email 2.0” about six months ago, and it’s already making a difference. Here’s what it is and how it works:

Action Points:

First, precisely identify your ideal client in the ideal company in your market. Analyse the key “jobs to be done” in satisfying their pressing needs. With a client persona, you’ll know who you are writing for. When you know that, create a series of targeted, 4-8 emails no more than 8-10 lines long that can be read mobile, on topics that will interest your client. The idea is relevance and persistence. With targeted email campaigns you can expect 20-30% response rates. When a prospect responds, always pick up the phone and have a person-to-person conversation to find out if they meet your service proposition. Have a short conversation to qualify the prospect, and then look to book a longer call or meeting. The rest is the usual proposal and closing.

Final thoughts:

Spend a week to develop a system, and then follow it. Tune it as you get feedback on what is working for you. I used The Prospecting System - an online course, or read ‘Predictable Revenue’ by Aaron Ross that grew Salesforce into a multi-billion dollar business. Automate – get some software that acts as your CRM system and does emailing – like Contactually, amongst others. This provides added discipline – “do these actions today, Rob!” and makes contacting trivially easy. Email prospecting can give you a boost when used with other techniques, or it can be your main method. Good Luck!

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