How to incorporate sales prospecting in your weekly sales routine
At Salesbox we believe that you,as a sales rep, should be responsible to generate your own leads and not only rely on the marketing team. Therefore we wrote this article to help you to get better at lead generation.
We also believe that a key success factor in your lead generation is consistency. If you want to be successful at generating your own leads you need to make it a part of your regular routine.
That’s why we wrote this article as a weekly agenda (example) for a busy sales rep.
In fact each day of the week you have an opportunity to generate leads; through missed deals, through customer referrals, through collaborating with colleagues, through networking or on the Web.
You just have to be consistent and take it.
Enough talking, let’s see what you can do on Monday.
Monday. Reach out to your missed dream deals
Ah Monday, the beginning of the week, it is a magic moment, don’t you think ? Look at you, you are full of energy, ready to generate tons of leads.
And the first thing to do is to review your sales pipeline.
More precisely, your dead deals pipeline.
More precisely your dead dream clients, you know this kind of client that fits perfectly into your target customer (segment), with the right need, industry, size, role, the right budget and the matching personality etc.
Why ? Because these missed deals may be back on the market.
Maybe the last time you lost the deal was because you came too early or too late but now, months (or a more relevant time period for your sales cycle) have passed and you can give it a retry.
Moreover you have an advantage, you already know the culture and the personality of the lead so you can adjust your communication and be more accurate.
Here consistency is the key because if you are persistent in contacting your missed deals on a regular basis then it will give you two key advantages.
- First you will impress them by your tenacity and that will increase their trust in you.
- Second you will know as soon as possible if they are back on the market and you won’t miss the next chance, you will be right on time.
That is why I strongly advise you to implement a weekly routine of reaching out to 15 missed relevant deals and to keep doing it.
The advice here is simple, be consistent and never give up on your dream clients.
Tuesday : Ask referrals from your existing customers
We, at Salesbox, always make sure to use one of our most powerful lead sources : Customer referrals.
Tuesday may be the right day to do it for you.
The idea behind customer referrals is the following : if customers like your product/service, then they would be happy to share it with their friends or colleagues because they will benefit from it.
You are always grateful with those who have made your life better, right ?
Moreover the potential leads are more likely to convert into deals because the referral comes from a trustworthy source : their friends.
In fact did you know that customer and employee referrals have a really high leads-to-deals conversion rate ? According to a 2014 study by Implicit, employee and customer referrals have a 3,63% lead-to-deal conversion rate while website leads conversion ratio is only 1,55%.
Sounds interesting isn’t ? So if you want to truly increase your lead generation from existing customers you must make it an habit, an automatic reflex to ask for referrals. Just like with missed deals, consistency and habits are really important. To do that you can ask actively for referrals.
Ask directly for referrals :
First you can try the active way and then you have 3 options : send an email, give a call or meet face-to-face.
It can be a bit tricky to know which way to use as a first approach, that’s why we may have a solution.
Basically if you spoke to your client last month you can just drop an email, your relation with the client is warm enough to go the direct way.
If it has been between 1 and 6 month it is better to place a call and also talk about some relevant news/updates on your end. You may be perceived a bit impolite and/or opportunistic if you just ask for referrals after a few months of silence.
Same thing if you haven’t had any contact with a customer in more than 6 months it can be well perceived to propose a lunch, a coffee or an online meeting and go through some relevant news before asking for a referral.
The best way to implement this is to take 2 hours and make a list of all your customers who fit in the category : close to your Ideal Customer Persona, happy with your product/service, with whom you have a healthy work relationship. Once you have this list you can start emailing or calling on a regular basis.
If you are emailing. Our advice is to keep it simple, clear and direct, no bullshit, don’t waste your customer’s time!
An email could look something like this :
” Hey xxx
How are you doing ?
Listen, if you know any person that also would benefit from our product/service I would really appreciate if you could drop me some names / refer me to them.
Use social media and email signature.
It can be useful to adopt a passive approach on top of the other strategies.
For example, you may choose to include a request for referrals in your online bio : Linkedin profile, Twitter profile. A well written email signature can also generate a lot of leads without efforts.
Incentives can increase referrals :
In order to increase your chance of getting referred you can use various incentives in your emails/calls/meetings/bio
- Product or service of your company : if your customers are happy with your product or your service then they may be happy to use it for a free/discounted price/ or have upgraded features by referring it.
- Cash/Gift Card : Obvious but efficient, who says no to a big pile of money
- Referral backs : You refer my product, I refer your product, seems fair isn’t ?
Wednesday : Time for a win-win collaboration with your colleague
Let’s say you have decided that Wednesday will be a day for closing. Indeed there is no point of generating leads without closing them also. However you can still use a small part of your Wednesday to generate prospects.
Thus one thing you can do is asking your colleagues for leads. We all know that competition exists in a sales department, but, still, sometime win-win collaboration can be effective.
So make a lists of your colleagues that can bring you valuable leads and … just go directly to their offices if you can or call them if you can’t.
Always choose the direct, easy way.
To increase your chances even further, prepare a few leads that you can give away to them first. It’s always a better start giving away something, if you later want to receive.
Thursday : A bit of networking won’t kill you
Here is Thursday. Which means a day before Friday, which means two days left to achieve something this week.
You have chased your dream client, you have asked your customers and your colleagues for referrals now it is time for you to network a bit.
A good networking event : courses
There are plenty of places where you can network so I will just talk about one of which salespeople do not think necessarily : courses or seminars related to your product/services.
I want to share with you an anecdote about that.
A sales rep who worked for a case management software company has been taking the same course during years. The course focused on how to handle documents according to the governmental rules.
Of course in the last years he knew the course by heart, but, each year he encountered a new bunch of people willing to learn about the issues his software was solving. I can assure you that the number of qualified leads he got from this course was quite impressive.
Partnerships makes your life easier
Your network is not only composed of your clients but also of your partners.
In fact it is much easier to hunt in packs, like wolves. That is why a good lead generation channel is your network of partners or re-sellers.
Your product/service is certainly linked by your client with other product/services. For example a client using a CRM will certainly link it with a marketing automation tool like an email provider or an ERP. In this case for a sales rep working in a CRM company the client database of a marketing tool is a gold mine full of potential leads.
How Datapipe and Equinix helped each other to grow for more than 10 years is a good example of strategic alliances.
A good strategy for you would be to identify other product/service that are frequently linked with your product and propose an alliance.
Thus each time you meet a client who have a need for your solution but also for the solution of your ally you can recommend their product/service or directly send them the lead contacts.
Remember : It’s always better to start giving if you later on want to receive!
Friday : Unleash the power of the web
It is Friday, the week is almost finished, but, you can still generate a few more leads.
Since a lot of people stop working earlier than usual on Friday , it can be a good time to spend some on the web. In fact there isn’t only the marketing guys who can generate leads from the web, you can too !
However Internet is a place where you can easily get stuck so be careful before diving in. You don’t want to get stuck reading about things, that just takes away valuable time that should be spent bringing you closer to your sales target. (It can definitely be worth reading and studying, but then you schedule specific time for that, remember that focus is key to be successful!)
That says there is a list of places where you can find quite relevant leads in your fields.
It is basically the place to check if you want to prospect in B2B. People are literally writing about themselves, their jobs, their positions and their field so it can be a gold mine for you. There are techniques to be efficient while prospecting on Linkedin.
On Linkedin you can prospect by researching potential leads. Two simple ways to do that :
- use the searching toolbar with keywords applying to your Ideal Customer Profile and connect
- check members and admin of groups related to your field and connect
You can also be more active by trying to be recognize as an influencer in your niche.
Publishing articles on a regularly basis on Linkedin is a good way to do that. In most companies this is the duty of the marketing department but sales people can really benefit from this strategy on an individual level.
In fact people will always have a tendency to contact the author of the article directly instead of the company.
Make sure you also use external tech tools that make it easy for you to import your leads directly from LinkedIn. If the tools also provide a structure for how to qualify your leads it will make you even more efficient.
Even if they seem a bit outdated Forums are still really used by people when they are looking for help.
You can check general forums as Quora or Reddit in the section related to your product.
Specialized forums in your area may also exist, a good way to find them is to put yourself in your clients heads. For example googling ‘How to repair a fridge ?’ can be a good way to find relevant forums if you are selling fridges.
In this forums you will certainly find a lot of potential leads, you may start to answer their concerns and bring your expertise. If you do it regularly, after a while people will just come to you automatically.
Ah, finally the weekend … So relaxing… What ? No weekend for a hustler ! The weekend is just the beginning of the next one. You may have generated a lot of leads during this week but as we said earlier, it is never over.
In this article we evoked various lead generation channels : customer referrals, colleagues referrals, missed dream clients, networking events,etc… And there is surely a lot of other channel we did not talk about.
Our point is that consistency and high activity level are really key factors of success. You need to implement this as a daily routine and stick to it. After a while your lead generation routine will become an habit and this is when you will have a steady flow of leads to qualify and eventually become really successful.
Yvan de Canson
Digital Marketer Salesbox