Selling products and services in markets that are stagnating or highly influenced by seasonal cycles may lead us to believe that there are no more growth opportunities. However, it is essential to "think outside the box" to allow expansion into new markets that you had not initially considered, especially if those in which you are established are saturated.
Here are some tips to help you identify and succeed in new markets.
Do you have difficulty qualifying enough sales opportunities that turn into revenue? Stop qualifying them, and start disqualifying them instead!
It is a change of mindset, but this vision follows the logic and shape of the sales funnel.
This may seem strange, but when you start from the negative, you have a positive attitude right away. We often talk about the qualification stage, when in reality, we should talk about the stage of disqualifying potential customers.
I see many sales leaders struggling to establish reliable sales forecasts for the coming year. This is a very difficult exercise that leaves all managers and sales leaders with headaches.
However, you can improve the quality of your forecasts and avoid some very common mistakes.
There is one thing that Sales and Marketing departments agree on: referrals are the best lead source for a business, whether in a B2B or B2C context. The good things about referrals are that they have a positive impact on the closing ratio, the length of the sales cycle, and the average customer lifetime value.
Although most of us know how powerful referrals are, only very few sales teams incorporate an “asking for referral” stage in their sales process. What’s the problem with that? There are several actually! Some salespeople will waste a considerable amount of time prospecting only to add a few new opportunities in their sales pipeline, others will not prospect at all and will act as farmers or account managers when in fact they should hunt. In both cases, this is a sure way to fall short of expectations and miss the numbers! According to Edelman Trust Barometer, 84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral. Knowing that, you may want to reconsider how you want to leverage referrals.
While we have heard a lot that telephone prospecting was going to disappear in recent years, I have never agreed with these forecasts. Some analysts have even talked about the extinction of the role of representative, nothing less!
Nonetheless, it is true that traditional cold call prospecting has suffered a downfall. In the golden age of cold calls, a representative could make 40 attempts in 2 hours, hope to talk with 10 decision-makers and get 2 or, perhaps, 3 meetings. However, we are far from those numbers nowadays.
Sales managers often overlook a rep's ability to reach a company's decision-maker. It's a key sales success factor.
It takes more attempts to contact the decision-maker than it does to talk to a buyer, end-user or influencer in the purchasing process. However, the additional time required at the very beginning of the cycle is mostly offset by a shorter sales process when it's conducted directly with the key decision-maker.
There are two problems related to reaching decision-makers:
Sales leaders always ask me: "Why don't my salespeople prospect?"
Moreover, the question becomes more frequent as the fiscal year comes to an end. That's usually when sales leaders try to set next year's sales objectives or when they realize that targets will, once again, not be met. When they look at their numbers, they realize that their representatives are always working with the same customers.
The question may be simple, but it requires a detailed answer, as several factors can affect your representatives' prospecting efforts.
Salespeople are reluctant to cold call, and the public is intolerant of them - yet cold calls are still very much relevant.
How can you explain this?
There's a stigma associated with cold calls, but they're critical in establishing a preliminary contact with a client.
There are, for example, 5 instances where cold calls are usually required:
Sales teams can leverage proven methods to reduce discomfort and ease the client’s impatience.
Two weeks ago, I received a prospecting call to sell me video marketing services. The call was representative of most cold calls made today.
I don't know if my interlocutor knew that Prima Resource is a sales consulting firm, but in any case, I'll use our conversation to deconstruct cold calling the techniques still used. It so happens that I used this conversation as an example, but any other would have revealed the same shortcomings.
Given that decision makers are increasingly difficult to reach, you need to make sure you're as efficient as possible when you do get the chance to talk to them. Use this deconstruction, as well as the tips on how to change your approach as a way to improve.