Turn Outreach From An Event Into A Process

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Turn Outreach From An Event Into A Process

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One of the biggest places you’re losing sales isn’t in your calls, meetings or negotiations.

It starts before you ever contact your prospects.

Too many leads hit our desk, our inbox, or our CRMs and are either never contacted, or are lost somewhere along the sales process.

This means billions of dollars in lost deals every year – and it’s completely preventable.

When it comes to how new leads are handled, most sales teams have a different process for every salesperson. What’s missing are a few consistent steps to make sure that leads are acted upon in the same way.

To learn how we can ensure our leads are handled, acted upon and never fall out of our pipelines, we sat down with Skip Vish, VP of Sales at Upland Software, and a former Chinook Pilot and Operations Officer with the US Army.

Together, we created a simple process that any salesperson or team can adopt and customize to make sure we’re set up for success with every lead in our pipeline.

Because we’re trimming hope from our sales strategy, we’ll use the acronym TRIM to guide us through creating a system with a trigger, ensuring it’s repeatable, building in ways to improve it and of course, ensuring it’s measurable and getting us results.

T – Trigger: Skip says this system begins before the lead hits your desk. It starts with your ICP – your ideal customer profile. Many leads are discarded, Skip said, because they’re never a fit to begin with. For a lead to be actionable, they must have a need for the solution you provide, whether they realize it then or not. Once we identify the type of person or company that has a need, we’ll know we’re dealing with a potential lead instead of just a name on a form.

R – Repeatable: This is where the meat of this system is – the steps every salesperson needs to take once a lead enters their world. And believe it or not, it begins with the leads you already have in your pipeline.

First, segment the leads that match your ICP and those that don’t. Many salespeople have a lot of leads in their pipelines that don’t match their ICPs, and that means fighting an uphill battle as those leads don’t know they have a problem you can solve AND you’re going to have a hard time convincing them there’s a problem.

Next, examine which of your ICP-matching leads have had activity in the last four to six weeks. Chances are, you’ve fallen out of contact with more than a few of your qualified leads. Target the leads that you’ve fallen out of contact with as your priority list while ensuring there are next steps on the accounts you’ve been in touch with recently.

Third, ensure you have a method to document what you’re learning about your qualified leads on your calls, in your email exchanges and across your social media messages. Many salespeople try to manage all the information they learn in their heads, or in a few different places. Consolidate all your ‘baskets’ into your CRM so the information lives in one place.

Fourth, review the objectives you and your team have for each stage of your pipeline. Everyone needs to know what qualifies a lead to live in each stage so that they’ll be on the same page with their discovery objectives.

Fifth, review your lead’s website, public data and company reports before making contact. This is best done if you/your team develop a checklist of ‘pre-call research’ so that everyone has best practices in use for prepping for your calls and meetings.

Sixth, based on what you’ve learned and the job title of this qualified lead, identify the customer success story that you think would work best. It’s great to have a few customer success stories in your quiver that allows your prospects to step into the solution that you sell. These stories can be culled from the team’s past customers, so don’t feel like you can only use customers you’ve personally worked with!

Finally, examine how you will make that story about this prospect, their company, and their needs. You will have to pivot in the conversation, but without a roadmap, you’ll be lost in the weeds.

I – Improvable: To improve the basic steps you take before contacting a lead, examine the deals you’ve lost recently and ask the question: Where could we have adapted our lead process so that loss would have been prevented? You may discover you need to change something about your ICP qualification process, or you may need to update your research checklist to ensure you’re better customizing your solution to your prospect’s company.

M – Measurable: To measure the success of this system, ensure you’re only measuring actionable items. These are the metrics that you and the salespeople on your team can control, such as your ICP items, your research checklist, your success stories, and your customization. You can measure how many of those items show up in your sales conversations if you record your sales calls or debrief your meetings and ask how many steps of your system were used and how far that pushed the lead in your pipeline stages.

Consistency doesn’t mean doing the same thing forever, but it does mean doing things consistently well!

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