Raising the bar on prospecting activity.

Too often companies don’t measure what they are trying to manage. So when sales and service organizations develop the difficult habit of tracking sales calls, referrals, meetings, and other basic activity metrics, they may believe they are doing everything they can to optimize these core processes. It’s time for a second look.

It’s just a “numbers game”. You have heard this, right? (…maybe you’ve even said it.) But if that was true, the people who sell the most would always make the most calls. Often true among beginners, but rarely among rain makers. Put another way, if everyone on your sales team made the same number of calls or pitches, who would sell the most? Why?

Dig into these 4 simple questions to uncover new prospecting metrics:

1. Who? For starters, who do they call? Not all calls are equal, and more experienced sales pros use this fact to their advantage. Instead of tracking the number of sales calls, instead consider tracking the number of high-potential calls.

Another idea: Make prospecting a game. Establish a simple point system, set a weekly goal for how many points sales people should score, and track their points, instead of their calls. If you can clearly segment your market into “A”, “B”, and “C” prospects according to their expected lifetime value to the firm, award more “points” for calls to the “A prospects”.

2. What? Next, what do your most successful sales people say when they speak to prospects? Do they do more listening than talking? Do they ask any key questions that help them qualify the prospect? If there are critical questions that lead you to qualifying or disqualifying prospects, consider making the answer to that question your prospecting metric. For example, instead of insisting that your sale folks make a certain number of calls, consider holding them accountable for finding 10 companies who have implemented a new CRM system in the last 5 years (if that was a key qualifier).

3. Why? Do your best people have a compelling answer to the question “Why should I use you?” Sure they do. Better yet, they have probably practiced that answer and can articulate it in a way that is relevant to each prospect. They are prepared. Are you currently tracking how consistently your salespeople prepare for their calls? Even a simple question like “Prepared a compelling “why” for every sales call today.”

4. What then? What is the best thing your sales people can do after they finish speaking with a prospect? Does it differ based on the what they learn? Develop a “what then”, or follow-up routine, based on best practices among your sale pros. Hand-written note, email of a white paper or proposal, perhaps something more personal that shows you were listening closely and interested in a long term relationship. If you can make it actionable, you can track it. If you can track it, you can do it more consistently, improve upon it, and thus improve upon another key aspect of your prospecting process.

If you are currently tracking sales calls or other basic pipeline activity, consider digging a bit deeper to identify key behaviors that translate to peak sales performance. And if you need a system to track your newly identified prospecting behaviors, or other aspects of peak performance, try IRUNURUN.