Are You a Sales Prospecting Stop-Short?

Is your team fully leveraging the information gathered during prospecting calls?

Or, is your organization a sales and marketing “stop-short?” You intend to gain maximum results for your lead generation investment, but after making a significant effort of time and money to make calls, generate leads, you fail to take that last small incremental step to realize the full return on your investment. If so, you are a stop-short.

In the setting discovery calls or first sales appointment world, the most common stop-short activity I see is this — the failure to launch a “touch” system. A consistent communication effort with the highest value, highest-probability suspects you uncover with your prospecting efforts.

Common Stop-Short Practice

So lets set the scene. You and your team work a call process among a group of targets you feel include a lot of great future accounts. During those calls, you should be picking up information on the potential worth of those accounts. You want to identify those with average potential value, higher than average potential value and lower than average value.

So let’s say you invest in calling 1,000 companies. Out of all that effort, you identify 50 companies that are the cream of the crop. These are companies in your bullseye. They look just like your current best clients. They currently use what you offer or have an urgent need you can fill. If they purchased, they would be a top tier grade “A” account.

Those companies are worth an extra effort

Those top tier grade “A” potential accounts that you identify with your prospecting efforts are worth an investment from you. To not make a small additional investment to touch these grade A targets on a consistent basis is to do all the work, spend a ton of time and money, but stop-short of that final small effort that could reap you major gains.

Why companies don’t make this extra effort

Many companies don’t make this extra effort because they might have tried direct mail before, or newsletters before and it didn’t work for them. A previous effort to a broader group didn’t work, so another effort is not on their radar.

Or, companies think that something has to be super fancy with high production value to send out to top suspects. Such is not the case at all.

As to the “we tried it, it didn’t work” argument, there is a huge difference between a touch mailing to a larger group containing targets with a wide range of potential worth and qualification, and a very targeted mailing only to a vetted, confirmed, high-value group. A touch sequence that would be considered a failure to a larger group can generate criminal returns on investment when used with a high-value group.

What might you send

As to what to send, I think you have to be careful not to over-think things. If you have identified such a group and had nothing prepared and no clue as to what to touch them with, I would send them a series of one or two-page letters. The simple letter is a greatly underestimated marketing tool.

The letter would not be a “we are great, are swell” type letter. It would be a letter that provides some tips or insights that show off your knowledge and capabilities.

It could be a simple Dear Ethel letter where you relate three suggestions that commonly help your clients, or three common mistakes to be avoided or three summaries of recent projects you have done with the results you produced. That’s all. Just three headlines with a couple of paragraphs underneath that provide genuinely helpful information to your targets and show off your capabilities and knowledge without you trying to convince them you are worthwhile.

If I were not touching those very few top tier grade A suspects at all right now, I would launch a simple letter sequence. Touching those with the highest potential with something is a lot better than touching them with nothing.

Plus, when someone does have a need, who are they most likely to reach out to? Those that have consistently touched them and interacted with them with genuinely helpful information. So they may call you when they are ready to change a vendor or take action. You are top of mind.

When you do call these top tier grade A prospects back, the fact that you have touched your decision-maker consistently over some time greatly increases your odds of getting that first sales meeting or conversation. With your top tier targets, you want to increase those odds.

Don’t be a stop-short

So if you are spending time and money to work through lists of suspects seeking to set discovery calls or sales appointments, make sure to identify and code those that have the highest potential value. At least as to those, implement some sort of consistent follow-up “touch” system.

That small additional effort will reap significant returns.