Prospect More Effectively with Sales Sequences

Originally published at the Revenue Growth Engine

One touch simply doesn’t cut it in today’s world. Salesforce.com research found that it takes 6-8 touches with a prospect to get an appointment. Sirius Decisions found that it takes 8 to 12 attempts to reach a decision maker by phone, even when they’re interested in your products or solutions. Whatever the number, the point is simple: you must reach out to prospects multiple times if you expect to get results.

Salespeople need both trust and attention. These are earned by consistently reaching out with ideas that prospects see as helpful to achieving their outcomes. As sales reps are seen consistently offering up helpful ideas, trust is earned, appointments happen.

Unfortunately, many sales reps are “one-and-done” when it comes to prospecting. They make a call or send an email hoping to find a hot opportunity. When they don’t get through, then put a note to reach out again in another 90 days.

Today’s sales rep is blessed with many ways to communicate with prospects including the phone, email, direct mail, and a variety of social channels. While these multiple channels create opportunities, they can also feel overwhelming.

Every prospector knows the law of ratios. Only a small percentage of dials will get through. SPAM filters combined with the sheer volume of email most people get means only a handful of emails you send get read. Direct mail is similar with only a small percentage of items getting more than a glance. Social media posts only get seen by a small percentage of your audience that happens to be scrolling when you post.

Smart prospectors realize that getting in touch with the most prospects requires flexibility to communicate over multiple channels.

Look at it this way. Let’s say you only get a 1% appointment ratio on the following four communication channels: phone, email, direct mail, and LinkedIn. If you add all of these together, building a multi-channel prospecting strategy, you could get a 4X bump in your results.

In today’s environment, the formula for prospecting success is as follows: Reach out to prospects with ideas that matter. Do this consistently across multiple communication channels.

Fortunately, there is new technology that makes it possible to execute this strategy efficiently and effectively. I call these prospecting sequences.

What is a Sales Sequence?

A sales sequence is a planned series of prospecting touches using multiple channels over a period of time. For example, a sequence might flow as follows:

  • Day 1: Email
  • Day 2: Phone Call
  • Day 2: Direct Mail Letter
  • Day 3: Social Touch on LinkedIn
  • Day 7: Email
  • Day 8: Phone Call
  • Day 9: Direct Mail Card
  • Day 10: Social Touch
  • Day 13: Email
  • Day 14: Social Message

Over a two week period, this prospect would have heard from you up to 14 times. Remember, however, that not all of your messages will be seen. So, while 14 times may sound excessive, in reality, it takes a lot of touches to get through.

Imagine how much you will increase the odds of getting through to your target accounts when you use a multi-touch, multi-channel sequences!

Why Great Companies Need To Grow Revenue

Why Great Companies Need To Grow Revenue

Yesterday morning at Dallas Love Field, I crossed paths with a guy I know who leads a sales team for a $10 million company. Over breakfast at Cantina Laredo (love this place!) I shared my concept behind the Revenue Growth Engine.

We talked about his team and their revenue growth. “Darrell, we’re OK at net-new, but cross-selling… we get too busy and good intentions rarely happen.”

I hear this over and over again from businesses. They are good at net-new business but struggle to cross-sell.

Probing further, I asked, “Why do you think that is?”

“We just get caught up in the day-to-day fires taking care of our customers.”

There it is. In the attempt to provide great customer service, cross-selling goes to the bottom of the list and rarely gets done.

As a result, this company is only growing in the low single digits.

Here’s the problem with this. I happen to know of the owner of this company. He’s a great person. He cares deeply for his employees, creating a good work environment. He also is a giver, generously supporting his church and other local non-profits.

I also know of my friends who work for large, faceless companies. These companies RIF employees at will, discarding them like yesterday’s trash when they need to pad the earnings. The only time they give back is for positive PR.

Good companies need to grow—they must grow. As they do, they create great jobs in good work environments. They provide for the churches and non-profits that make our world better.

So, why was my friend’s company not growing? What stood in the way of their best intentions to cross-sell? Two things: Strategy and Execution.

STRATEGY

Growing revenue doesn’t magically happen. Growth requires a strategy. This strategy needs to have two components: net-new business and cross-selling current clients. The strategy should align marketing and sales. Revenue Growth Engine provides the roadmap for this strategy.

EXECUTION

To grow, you must execute consistently. In the case of this company, poor operational execution ended up hurting their sales efforts, hence the flat growth. To fix this, I recommended the Entrepreneurial Operating System as outlined in the book Traction by Gino Wickman. Applying these principles supports consistent execution company-wide, freeing up bandwidth to be proactive at net-new AND cross-selling. These operational principles can also be applied to drive marketing and sales excellence as you deploy your Revenue Growth Engine. Plus, these operational principles will help the company handle the (good) issues that come with growth!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

How is your company doing? Is your revenue growth in the single digits or low teens? If so, what’s holding you back? Do you have a revenue growth strategy? Are you good at execution?

When great companies fix these two issues, they grow. This creates new jobs and more opportunities for existing employees. It generates cash flow that can fuel local non-profits.

Are you ready to grow? Let’s get to work building and fine-tuning your Revenue Growth Engine!