IT Staffing Sales Effectiveness
Sales best practices for improving sales win rates, shortening the sales cycle and increasing overall quota attainment. Sales strategies to make revenue growth repeatable, and scalable
The most common question I get from sales people at industry events, trade shows and certainly when I host workshops is "How should I stay in touch with my prospects and what should my sales follow up include?" Naturally, I respond by asking "tell me what you're currently doing?" The responses usually sound something like this:
In my previous blog post, How to Prepare for and Open the Sales Discovery Call, I discussed the importance of the sales discovery call itself (for the sales person), and how to prepare for and open the call. Now I'm going to walk you through the process of structuring and sequencing your sales discovery questions.
Learn our proven 7 step methodology for turning cold calls into hot leads.
In most instances, the sales discovery call is the first conversation with the prospect-and often the most important conversation-AFTER YOU HAVE DETERMINED THE PROSPECT IS A QUALIFIED BUYER. I would argue that the sales discovery call actually sets the entire tone for the client relationship. Why? The discovery call is "make or break time" for the sales rep because he or she will either pigeon hole themselves in the commodity bucket or they will establish themselves as an authoritative thought leader who brings credibility and adds value to the conversation. Not only that, have you ever actually seen the calendar of a corporate decision maker? It looks something like the calendar below. When you you get on the calendar of a corporate decision maker (hiring manager), you sure as heck better bring your A game and nail the discovery call.
There is a lot of truth to the sales metaphor “what we plant today we’ll harvest tomorrow.” Sales people have to plant a ton of seeds (qualify leads) in order to harvest their anticipated yield, yet planting the seeds is the easy part. The hard part is nurturing those leads through careful planning and executing each interaction via telephone, email, text, and face to face meetings. Suffice it say, it’s a daunting task for sales professionals and sales leaders to build and execute a lead nurturing campaign that not only shortens the sales cycle and has a measurable impact on the business, but actually compels the prospect to want to engage with the sales professional.
Selling IT staffing and professional services has evolved into a complex sales process. Not only are buyers more educated than ever but more stakeholders are involved in the decision making process. According to a study by the Corporate Executive Board, on average, 5.4 people are now involved in today’s B2B purchasing decisions. Differences in opinion, goals and personal agendas not to mention selling to different buyer personas make it increasingly difficult to reach consensus.
For those of you who know me and/or have been through our training know how I feel about telling prospects "I'm just checking in." When sales people open conversations or leave voice mail messages like this their customers and prospects quickly delete them. Why? Not only is there no value for them to call back (or engage in a conversation) but they don't even have a reason to call back. This message makes it very quick and easy for prospects to give the quick brush off. But I know as a sales professional and as a sales trainer that most IT staffing sales professionals struggle with sales follow up. To keep the momentum and sales process moving forward sales professionals must always be adding value with every client interaction. The question is, how?
One of the most important conversations sale professionals have with their prospects is the qualification call, AKA the discovery call. And this of course also typically happens in the initial and often, cold call. This is where the rubber meets the road and the sales rep has to decide if it makes sense to pursue a relationship or not. But it is not always obvious. By asking the right qualifying questions sales people can determine whether or not it is worth the time and effort to pursue the relationship . Having a sound qualification methodology can help IT staffing sales reps shorten their sales cycle and quickly scale their business. Let me share with you the three levels to sales qualification and a qualification methodology to follow for executing each.
I write constantly about the need for most IT staffing firms to adopt a sales methodology.
We’ve worked with more than 300 IT staffing firms here at Menemsha Group, and if I had to estimate, I’d say that 85 percent of them rely on one or two major accounts for 80 percent of their revenue — before we start our work with them, that is.