One of my favorite roles is as facilitator of
sales leadership roundtable groups. The idea is that leaders of sales teams
meet other leaders of sales teams of companies that are not competitive, and
they share best practices, ideas, strategies, and frustrations.
This week, one of the members spoke up about a
radical concept which has undoubtedly helped his company turn a corner and post
a profit for the first time this past quarter. It has to do with PROSPECTING.
Sean, the sales leader, explained it this way – he
was reminded (by a trainer) of a quote:
people make habit what failures are not willing to do”.
This quote jarred Sean, and caused him to take a look at his sales
team’s daily routine and how they were being coached on a regular basis. Here
is what he told me they implemented:
1. Once a week, EVERYONE
makes prospecting phone calls during the same hour company-wide.
prospecting is on each sales reps calendar daily, as well as their managers.
Our CEO, myself, our trainer and other execs have access to these calendars and
listen in on these calls along with the sales managers and provide coaching and
feedback to the reps.
The coaching and
feedback is very specific and begins and ends with a 15 minute meeting with the
rep to identify:
1) Who they will be calling (reps are to have the schedule prepared prior
to leaving the previous evening)
2) What does the rep intend to get out of this prospecting session
3) How the rep feels the conversations went
4) What areas went well, which ones didn’t (from the rep)
5) Coaching on the calls then occurs in conversation form with the rep and
In some cases we have
switched roles and the manager or I will prospect against the reps list and the
rep will listen and provide feedback.
“I don’t want to
give the impression that we have every salesperson bought in and riding high on
prospecting. I can tell you it was met with heavy pessimism and was a huge
hurdle we are still climbing over. The benefit is that the reps that have
embraced it have succeeded with it and that in and of itself will help our
movement with those that are still not convinced. Seeing is believing”
My thoughts: It was
great to get this concept talked about at our Sales Leadership Roundtable. I
love that Sean’s whole company embraces the idea and the power of it
company-wide. Yes, seeing IS believing. Actions speak louder than words. When
it comes to prospecting, either it’s getting done or not. The brutal reality is
that when times are good, we don’t want to do it – don’t seem to need to do it.
Then things slow down, and we wish we had started sooner.
How does your company
prospect? How do you prospect?