Awards & Engraving

November '19

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Calling high up in an organization's command center requires discipline. It's far too easy for a sales rep to rationalize why a decision-maker will not give him or her the time of day. You need to convey to your sales team the importance of pre-call planning for every contact with a targeted prospect. For the next 90 days, have your sales force follow these 10 cardinal rules for lead generation and nurturing: 1. Dedicate one hour of every sales day to prospecting and/or doing research on accounts that have yet to be approached. 2. Have a written sales objective for each sales call — one that's observ- able, measurable, and involves cus- tomer commitment (e.g. a firmly set next appointment, agreement to visit your showroom, and take a shop tour of your facility). 3. Make a list of questions you want to ask and refer to it during the call to Use all of your search engine acumen to ascertain as much information about each prospect as you can — names and back- grounds of the president/CEO and other company officers, and names of the depart- ment heads (particularly in the groups that are inclined to buy and use the things your shop offers — e.g. human resources, sales, marketing). Often, it is helpful to try to piece together and recreate their organi- zational chart to visually illustrate work relationships within their company. Lastly, take a stab at who will be the decision-maker for the goods and services you will offer them. Next, identify the person above the decision-maker and label that person "the ratifier" — a person who could endorse or overturn the final buying decision. Finally, identify several people below the decision-maker who may offer significant input or have a major influence in the decision. In short, set aside the necessary time to do your homework. Skipping this step could prove detrimental to and thwart your chances for success. ASSEMBLE YOUR A-TEAM Pursuing large, mega-dollar accounts is not for the faint of heart, and you shouldn't attempt to go it alone. Of course, there should be a designated salesperson to quarterback the effort. However, including the lead salesperson's manager or the business owner and other key players in the shop — production manager, a customer service representa- tive, etc. — is a wise idea. When you assemble a team appointed to go after a major prospect account, you accomplish several things: • You provide for diversity of thought in hopes that no small detail is ever missed in the planning phase of the sales strategy; • You clearly illustrate to the prospect the depth of support and attention they should expect or will receive if they choose your shop to be their pre- ferred vendor; and • You are able to spread the workload once you decide to put your sales plan in motion. Don't be afraid to put together team members with different personalities. You will likely find there are different types The Argument for Pre-Call Planning Pursuing large, mega- dollar accounts is not for the faint of heart. Pursuing large, mega- dollar accounts is not for the faint of heart. 14 • A&E NOVEMBER 2019

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