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30 Apr 2020 / durhamlane

“Why I’m not worried about hitting target”

James Middleton

by James Middleton

not hitting sales targets

“I’m not worried about hitting my target”… An odd opening statement for a full cycle BDM – my core target verticals have all but shut down due to the ‘C’ word AND my revenue target hasn’t changed.

Just to be clear, this is not a piece about Covid-19 – that’s already been done to death but it still needs to be mentioned.

I wanted to share with you my process and approach, which continues to secure a solid pipeline. I obviously had to react quickly and realign my focus area – but my process and approach remains the same.

Focus on the HOW and WHY

As a salesperson, hitting your target shouldn’t be your primary focus. Your main concern should be focusing on HOW and WHY your product or service will add value to your prospective customer. Think of your target as the end goal that you’re always aware of but don’t stress over.

Hitting your targets is like running a marathon; you train and you work towards milestone goals, broken down into achievable steps.

If you focus on the HOW and WHY you will book more meetings, have better discovery calls, better demos and close more deals.

Process, Approach & Tools

So, why am I not worried about hitting my target? Simple – it’s the confidence I have in three things:

  1. Process
  2. Approach
  3. Tools

As a business, we focus on Demand Generation – the seamlessly integrated approach of marketing and sales. This leads to a higher quality of inbound leads for myself and the team to feed into our pipelines.

Yet, while inbound leads are great, they should never be the main focus of a new business professional. When I speak with business and sales leaders, the primary reason they want to speak is they “need more sales.” When we dig down into why their business isn’t generating the desired results, it boils down to one factor:

They don’t have a consistent approach and process for new business prospecting.

Process

I spend approximately 85% of my time on outbound net new prospecting, with the other 15% closing out my hottest deals and nurturing those near the bottom of my sales funnel.

A solid process is the foundation of consistent sales execution and pipeline generation. There are many sales process variations out there, all with their own merits. The most important thing is that you have a productive process and stick to it. Here why:

  • It typically takes 5-12 points of contact to engage decision makers. (I’m sure we have all seen the statistics of most sales professionals stopping after 3-4 attempts)
  • There are an average of 10-11 decision makers involved in buying groups.
  • The sales cycle is universally getting longer – a 22% increase in 5 years!
  • Unless you’re selling a time travelling hover board, it’s unlikely you’re the only vendor in the conversation (inbox me if you’re selling one. I’m very interested).

What does this mean? In short, selling is getting more complicated and your contact attempts are easier to overlook. Therefore, it’s imperative that your process allows you to keep track and map complex buying process AND stand out from the crowd.

Approach

Before I touch on the tools I implement to achieve continued success, I want to mention the important of approach.  This is arguably the most crucial element of what I do.

Essentially, it boils down to these 4 points:

  • Be yourself
  • Use your own voice
  • Write your own Emails
  • Be personable

To start, you have to accept that not everyone is a suitable target. You need to refine your hunt to organisations that are a potential fit to your solution. You also need to be looking for compelling reasons to engage with these organisations. Monitoring business news outlets, social media comms & compelling changes in the wider world.

As mentioned above, making initial contact requires multiple touch points with multiple decision makers. This is why an omni-channel approach is crucial – email, phone, LinkedIn & video are my weapons of choice for initial outreach.

Tools

Beauhurst – This is a great platform for identifying prospects. The platform that tracks the UK’s fastest-growing companies, which helps us understand everything there is to know about high-growth companies. They’ve also been quick to react to the current situation, creating a Covid-19 impact filter so the team and I can identify quickly those businesses that are not feeling a negative impact.

LushaIf you’re like me an you use LinkedIn a lot (and I mean A LOT) for prospecting, tools like this make it easy to enrich profiles with compliant contact information, including direct dials.

Email – Leave the mass emailing to the marketers. Salespeople should focus on a more tailored, individual approach. This is where the art and creativity come into play. I recently used the subject line “Omotenashi” and guess what… it worked!

Drift – I love video prospecting. It enables you to convey emotion, personality and knowledge quickly in a way that you simply can’t with email. Driftallows you to embed videos and screen shares into email or LinkedIn message. It also has a real-time chat response and tracks the open rates so you can see what resonates best.

Reachdesk – These guys offer a fantastic solution for sending physical mail to prospects, they have even found a solution to reach people at home. As an example of small value add, my colleague and I met Reachdesk Co-Founder Alex and his team last year in Dublin – we did more drinking than actual work. When we got home my colleague sent Alex one of our qualification toolkit booklets which he loved!

Refract – Coaching is also crucial to ensure you don’t get complacent. This is why I listen back to calls during regular coaching sessions, using tools like Refract to pinpoint and analyse my mistakes. This is how I’m able to continually push and develop my skills.

I won’t even touch on discovery call tools – it seems like pretty much everyone has a video conferencing setup these days. Even my mum has one for our weekly family virtual beer and catch-up.

Working in sales isn’t easy; it takes work. However, following a rigorous process and using tools to support you makes achieving and exceeding your targets less worrying.

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