Why do Salespeople Struggle With Prospecting?:
- Over-reliance on Marketing’s Lead Generation
- Lack of Alignment with Marketing
- Poor Targeting
- Lack of Prospecting Discipline
- Prospecting and Selling Are Different Skills
B2B Selling and prospecting are two different skill sets. Many tenured salespeople are good at selling once they are in front of a buyer, but they now often lack the skills, resources, and tools to prospect effectively.
Salespeople naturally prefer a path paved with referrals or highly qualified marketing leads. In other words, it’s easier when the prospect finds the salesperson!
When a salesperson plans and executes prospecting activities, prospecting success rates improve dramatically. The critical term is execution – consistently doing the right things against the right prospects.
Improving prospecting skills and outcomes requires that salespeople identify the obstacles to success.
What follows is a brief diagnostic of common causes that get in the way of improved prospecting results and faster revenue growth:
1. Over-reliance on Marketing’s Lead Generation
Best-in-class B2B marketing organizations generate about 25% of a salesperson’s pipeline. However, most B2B marketing organizations generate low-to-high single digits of a salesperson’s pipeline.
That means that salespeople need to generate 75% – 90% of their own pipeline. The marketing team is a valuable resource, but they can’t be held responsible for weak sales pipelines.
2. Lack of Alignment with Marketing
Salespeople need support and content from the marketing team for prospecting success. Scripts, industry and solution-specific content, email templates, and marketing campaigns are essential elements to support a coordinated prospecting effort. Yes, the salesperson needs to make phone calls and send intelligent, relevant, and compelling emails.
Marketing teams often assume they know the prospecting support that sales teams need, which is why they don’t ask what’s needed. Without buy-in and engagement from the sales team, marketing may jeopardize the organization’s ability to meet its revenue goals.
3. Poor Targeting
Peanut-butter spreading prospecting efforts across too many accounts delivers sub-optimal results. Developing a target list is the first step. Measuring and managing prospecting activity execution is the critical step that is often delegated to the salesperson to do independently. The best practice is to develop and maintain the target list and related salesperson activity within the CRM.
4. Lack of Prospecting Discipline
Some never-ending distractions and tasks push prospecting to the bottom of the to-do list. If prospecting time is not on the calendar, it won’t get done. If prospecting time is the first time block to reschedule or schedule over, then results will suffer.
Prospecting planning and consistency pay big dividends. Also, don’t assume that prospecting is just about making phone calls. Industry and company research, alignment calls with marketing, leveraging social networks, and developing targeted messaging or value propositions are just some of the required consistent activities.
5. Prospecting is a Different Skill Than Selling…
and like most skills development, leverage, consistency, and repetition are a must.
Here’s the Bottom Line…
If one or more of the diagnostic items above need attention, addressing them can provide a meaningful improvement in prospecting results. If you’d like to discuss your own or your organization’s prospecting process, reach out here.