Without strategic territory planning at the senior leadership level, your organization can’t move forward. But at the field level, for sales reps who are generally fast-paced and enjoy selling more than planning, getting disciplined around prospecting can be a challenge.
The first step is getting your team to commit to carving out dedicated time that is focused solely on territory planning activities. Simply setting aside a time for prospecting won’t guarantee success, however. Your reps need to be engaging in prospecting activities that will result in high-quality lead generation. “Activity for the sake of activity” may feel productive, but that doesn’t mean it is.
Make sure your reps are squeezing the most value out of their territory planning time by coaching them with these 3 strategic prospecting techniques:
Get Hyper-Focused on the Characteristics of a Qualified Buyer
There are plenty of prospects that are looking for precisely the type of solution your organization provides—it’s just a matter of your reps finding them, connecting with them at the right time, and articulating a perfectly tailored message.
Coach your reps to get 110% clear about the characteristics of a qualified buyer and they’ll be able to aim with precision, rather than feeling around in the dark for the first thing they bump into.
Get your reps to analyze their top customers and develop prospect profiles based on those customer characteristics. The more focused your reps are in their search, the better chance they have of finding a really qualified lead (and winning their business).
This exercise will put your salespeople in your customers’ shoes and allow them to tailor their messaging to be the most effective. It will also help them figure out the best places to search for similar buyers, and the best approaches to use once they find them.
Focus on Prospect Quality, Not Size
It’s easy to fall into the trap of pursuing only the large deals, but your reps need a well-diversified mix of both large and small prospects to keep the funnel full. That’s not to say your salespeople should never take a chance on a marquee account, but with a larger time commitment and sales cycle comes a greater risk, including lost time and energy if the opportunity isn’t won.
Regardless of size, a prospect isn’t worth going after unless they meet your organization’s ideal customer criteria. Just as your reps shouldn’t veer off course chasing a large, underqualified prospect, neither should they let a well-qualified prospect slip by them unnoticed simply because they’re too small. Small victories are still victories, and they not only contribute to a rep reaching their quota, they provide motivation for keeping up the momentum.
Make sure your reps eliminate any prospects that don’t fit the ideal customer criteria, and from there they can begin to prioritize and allocate resources to maximize profitability.
Leverage the Power of LinkedIn
Your salespeople may understand the necessity of networking, but not all of them are taking advantage of the networking capabilities that are literally available at their fingertips. On LinkedIn for instance, your first level contacts can give you access to a wide range of second and third level connections. Your reps can increase their reach exponentially and with minimal effort, giving them the most bang for their time spent prospecting. Beyond discovering important company announcements or news, conducting some strategic detective work will allow your reps to learn a great deal about the decision makers within their target prospects.
A bit of searching can reveal a lot about the people your rep will need to influence in order to make a sale, and with paid accounts, they’ll even be able to send them a private message.
Why It Starts with You
It’s necessary for your salespeople to devote a good amount of time and effort to filling up their pool of prospects, but as a leader you’re responsible for making sure your team is focused on the high-gain territory planning activities that maximize resources.
Prospecting smarter means focusing the most effective strategies on the right people and companies, and doing that consistently.
Sales teams looking to hit their number in 2016 need the right territory planning skills in order to fill their funnel with well qualified prospects. The Sales Territory Planning Workshop coaches salespeople on the best strategies for developing sales plans that they can implement, track, and measure for success. Your reps will come away from the 1-day program with solid, actionable prospecting checklists and a concrete plan for hitting their numbers in 2016. Learn More