Why did I spend a significant part of early 2020 writing a sales book? Especially when so many of them already exist? Surely everything that needs to be said about sales has already been said and written?
Well, you would think so.
Yet, after helping frontline reps to start more sales conversations through my consulting business and as a proud sales professional for more than 20years prior, I believe there are things left unsaid that needed sharing. Let me frame this up for you a little. I didn’t take this task on lightly; I’m not a writer. I’m not analytical. I’m not well educated. After all, I’m a lifelong sales guy. Writing a book is a terrifying task for people like me. The writing process was uncomfortable; it was a burden, an onerous task that I faced every day for nearly six months. I’m delighted that it’s finished.
Why would I put myself through that? Why create Tactical Pipeline Growth.
Two very different reasons.
- Most sales books are written for sales leaders, by consultants, to secure more consulting work. The ability for frontline reps to grasp the content and apply strategies, successfully from these books, is difficult for all but the most diligent. Many authors have a focus on what new consulting work they can generate from the publication rather than how they can help those who need it the most. The message in these books is targetted directly at the senior seller or sales enabler in large corporations. The books are full of great information- no denying that, but most reps will fail to execute, understand or even complete the book.
- Outbound selling needs to move to a sharper focus on quality rather than quantity. I feel very strongly about this. While most people in sales accept this as a true statement, they cannot work out how to get there. The standard response is, (in fact I had this exact response just yesterday), I’d like to make the change, I believe I need to make the change, but I cannot afford to bring my current (usually failing) prospecting activity to a complete halt to launch a new program.
How do teams or individuals make that jump, and what does it look like?
Today, there are competing forces in most sales environments that create a real challenge for both reps and their leaders. Reps are more focussed on their brands than their company’s brands, now more than ever. They do want to be successful, but not at any cost, being ethical outreach is critical and top of mind for most reps. This clashes with sales leaders who need to be able to report consistency and predictability in the company-wide prospecting effort. As we all know, a robust and valuable pipeline is the prescription for many of sales symptoms. This remains true!
Lay this across the current COVID-19, WFH, Isolation situation, and you have an additional challenge. In many companies, sales outreach has either stopped altogether or is now just a fraction of what it was or what it needs to be. What do we do? How do we do it? Should we even prospect at all?
The last thing salespeople want now is to be labelled as spammy or insensitive to the current situation.
Reps have a challenge, on one side, they have pressure from their leadership to ‘get back to work’ and start to build revenue, yet at the same time, they rightly have a focus on their personal brand and how they are perceived by their prospects and clients, as well as the broader marketplace.
Right now, there is an increasing level of urgency; in some cases even desperation, Sales leaders need to find a way to manage salespeople who are working from home remotely. They don’t have the advantage of having their reps all in one location. The desire for revenue to start to flowing back to businesses is real. In Australia, the start of a new financial year on July 1 had a more substantial level of importance than ever before. Let’s start selling!
We need to find a way where we balance the desire of reps to meet their targets and be professionally successful in an ethical way.
But these challenges are not new; they have a new excuse, COVID-19. In truth, the number 1 challenge for most frontline reps has always been a lack of high-quality pipeline. A lack of quality outbound activity predominantly drives this. It’s just now, harder than ever, for reps to stay focussed and for sales leaders to get any visibility into what their teams are doing versus what they should be doing. It’s the same problems just socially distanced.
The short answer is: Build a defined and agreed cadence plan delivered via a genuine omnichannel approach.
Cadence plans are great, but I believe they don’t go far enough. A typical “call in the morning, email in the afternoon” rinse and repeat x 5 is not a sufficient, multi-channel outreach strategy. This results in reps failing, leads wasted and reputations ruined—both those of the reps and their leaders.
Tactical Pipeline Growth, outlines how teams can get where they need to be, together.
The 5 Pillars of Effective Prospecting
Benefits of making the shift to a quality focussed and sustainable outreach plan include.
- Less activity required per conversation attainment
- Forget 12 – 15 touches
- Think 6 attempts
- Shorter time to conversation
- Stronger rep buy-in on activity levels
- Sales leader visibility on activity
- How, When, What?
- Higher quality prospect conversation
- Easy and immediate implementation
- No new tech or software required
- No marketing preparation required
- Burn through fewer leads
- Higher rep quota attainment
- Less rep turn-over
If this sounds like the type of sales environment, you’d like to build for yourself or your team, grab a copy of Tactical Pipeline Growth for a step-by-step DIY implementation process. Alternatively, contact Mark [email protected] for a chat about taking the first step towards a better prospecting plan.
Tactical Pipeline Growth can be read by most salespeople in 3.5 hrs, total read time. Included is an abundance of templates and scripts covering social outreach, email, phone, voice-mail, text as well as ICP and persona building resources. Example cadence, populated with ideas for multichannel outreach, round out a complete manual, laid out step-by-step to winning the battle for outbound sales.
Tactical Pipeline Growth is available via Amazon, good bookstores or immediately as an e-book, via-direct download from www.markmc.co/tpg