To bring in new accounts at scale, conventional wisdom is to first invest in a CRM and sales process, then invest in lead generation and efficiency tools and then – maybe – invest in making the sales interactions valuable for the prospect.
It’s a chicken or egg problem – do you want the reps to know what they’re talking about before they’re getting a lot of conversations or do you want to make sure they’re getting on the phone enough to make it worth investing in up-leveling the conversation?
I’ve heard more than one executive say, “Why worry about how they sound if they’re not talking to anyone!”
When I started out in sales as an appointment setter before the turn of the century, I would dial, someone would answer, I would tell them something semi-interesting and I would get an appointment.
That’s changed. A lot. Phone conversations are still important in selling, but now they are almost always scheduled. And when they happen, the bar for the rep is much higher. To be successful, a rep now needs to be savvy about the prospect’s industry, problems, vocabulary and success metrics.
Unfortunately, although the importance of a quality conversation has gone up, most companies still have a 1990s mind-set prioritizing appointment quantity over interaction quality.
The current crop of lead generation tools are legion and often quite good – database building tools, prospect research tools, predictive tools, rep-level email campaigns and hot-transfers of live suspects – and that adds additional inertia to a ‘leads first’ focus.
However, this attitude of “just pick up the phone and call” that many senior execs still have is becoming irresponsible.
The oft-overlooked downside of systematically launching crappy prospect interactions into your market and wasting your prospect’s time is that you scorch your earth and over time are left with only a quarter to one-half your addressable market.
If your company is going to be successful and not lurch from one frenzied quarterly miss to the next, the priority needs to be getting and keeping the sales team on message and systematically sharing your company’s wisdom and insights with prospects.
Adding value every time you interact with a prospect is the right goal.
This priority will keep your territories fertile, boost your win rates and help create a virtuous referral cycle.
The good news is that with commitment and the right tools (including role-play automation), delivering quality conversations at scale is now possible.