Building An Over-Achieving Sales Team - Relentless Prospecting
As a general rule I tell our sales force development clients that a new sales person should spend at least four (4) hours per day engaged in prospecting activities. And an established sales person who has already built up their book of business should spend at least two and a half (2.5) hours per day engaged in prospecting activities. In nearly every company we work with the level of prospecting activities is nowhere near that benchmark. What level of prospecting and business development effort takes place at your company right now?
If you want to build an over-achieving sales team you need to stock it with sales people who are constantly developing new opportunities and looking for new business. And you need sales leadership (sales managers and/or a VP of sales) who establishes a prospecting culture, creates higher levels of accountability, and knows how to coach and motivate everyone on the sales team to keep them focused and on track.
What does a sales organization with a strong prospecting culture look like? Here are some of the traits to look for if you want this type of culture at your company:
- Sales people with strong hunting skills are actively recruited and those skills are verified during the interview and selection process
- Sales people will consistently prospect on their own without being closely monitored and managed
- When prospecting, sales people get to decision makers
- Sales people receive plenty of introduction and have established a referral system
- Sales people actively cultivate relationships with referral sources, including current customers, centers of influence, suppliers, and other sales professionals in their market space
- Sales management holds frequent and regular meetings to monitor and measure prospecting activity levels (at least weekly, sometimes daily with a short 10-minute huddle)
- Critical ratios have been mapped and are actively monitored throughout the sales process (i.e. each sales person understands how many calls they need to make to get an appointment, how many appointments they need to hold to generate a proposal or quote, and how many proposals or quotes they need to generate to earn a new client)
- Sales people have a focused list of opportunities they work until completed (no Easter Egg hunting)
- Executive management regularly reviews the number of new clients coming on board and supports the sales department with strong operations and customer support
Very few sales organziations achieve this level of systematic and consistent prospecting. Instead what we see is occational spurts of prospecting activites followed by long periods of complecency and hope. If you want to build an over-achieving sales team build a team of hunters and establish the prospecting culture that is right for your company, your business environment and your goals. If you don't have this culture right now and would like some insights into why that may be the case, come see Dave Kurlan at the Milwaukee Athletic Club on Wednesday, March 30, 2011 from 7:30-10:00 am.