by Sheryne Glicksman
In December’s blog, Process Automation for 2017 and Beyond, I referenced questions that you could ask yourself that will help jump start next steps to automate your sales process. Today’s blog is about one of them: Prospecting with a purpose!
Prospecting, in the gold rush days, was defined as the first stage of the geographical analysis of a territory with exploration as the second stage. It is the physical search for minerals, fossils, and precious metals. How does this pertain to prospecting in our industry, you might ask? What minerals, fossils and precious metals are you wanting to find? Minerals could be your standard MFP, fossils could be MPS and precious metals could be all those value add solutions that make you different than your competition. Are you with me so far?
Let’s start with your current customers. What’s your process to go deeper and wider into your current base? How are you leveraging the tools you have in place to gain insights to your customer’s current state? Do you know what your customer’s goals and objectives are for this year? Are you aligned properly? Let’s look at a few best practices for prospecting to find all those minerals, fossils and precious metals right inside your base.
I would suggest starting by performing a territory analysis. Have you put your customers in a defined bucket for follow-up? Do you know the value of your customer base? In territory management 101, I’ve coached new sales teams with a simple ABC approach to help a rep analyze their current customer base. My ABC approach to territory analysis looks something like this: A) Customers with leasing expiring MFP in next 18 months, B) Customers who own their MFP equipment and appear to be happy and C) Customers who have leases expiring 18 months to 60 months. Once you have these accounts categorized you can now work on value analysis. In base management sessions for client retention, we talk about knowing the value of your customer base. Now it’s time to start the exploration process.
Here’s one scenario I’ve experienced in the past as a sales leader. How many times has a rep said that they have no immediate opportunity with their C-defined accounts just because they are in a long-term lease? That’s focusing on only the minerals in prospecting. What about the fossils and precious metals? Have you looked at this customer’s total cost of printing? Asked this customer if green or security is an initiative this year? Reviewed samples of their current state to have dialogue around a proposed future state to do things like putting a fossil or precious metal in place helping to route print jobs to the most effective device? Or to secure print and release or find a way to help store the document directly into a content management system? This is just one example of planning and prospecting with a purpose within your current customer base as you work in the exploratory stage.
I can’t talk enough about your data collection agent. This is still one of the most unused tools for growing your customer base. Does your current sales process platform allow you to run queries that integrate with your data collection agent so you can see devices and volumes this tool is picking up and do something with this information? Or is it only being used to track and bill meter reads? When you can leverage this information, you have the ability to show your customers better and more efficient ways to print. In prospecting with a purpose, you have already analyzed and reviewed scenarios so you are prepared to make this most relevant to your customer.
Have you looked at how your company is using direct email campaigns? Are you picking information to send that is based on a particular vertical market you are working with? It’s a simple process to send out an email campaign however what is the value of that information? What does the follow-up look like? Who is managing this so a rep can follow-up with a relevant conversation? Have you researched the average open rates for your industry? Are you above or below that average?
Prospecting with a purpose is a process. Like in the gold rush days allowing for taking the time to analyze and explore as you take the necessary steps to find those fossils, minerals and precious metals. So define your purpose for prospecting each day, make this about your customers, put the people back into prospecting and don’t forget one thing – the sales process is forever in motion! Good selling.