How many leads does your sales team need to generate in order to create one sale?
Pick a number and write it down. We’re going to tell you how to get there by sharing what’s working for the most successful companies and why based on the results of Sandler Research Center’s Report: The Hunt for New Clients.
Hunting: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Every organization should focus on an appropriate amount of time on hunting for securing new clients. Yet, too few have a clearly defined strategy that maximizes their sales function’s valuable selling time and minimizes the related cost of this exercise.
There are three areas to consider when evaluating different lead-generation initiatives:
- Effectiveness – which lead-gen activities produced the most quality leads?
- Cost – what were the tangible costs for each lead-gen initiative?
- Time – how much time did it take to create and follow up on each initiative?
In terms of the lead-gen activities producing the most quality leads, the survey uncovered that the most successful platforms for hunting for new clients are:
- Event Participation (Networking Events)
- Digital Marketing Campaigns
Even more compelling is to look at what’s happening within these platforms. It’s referrals, referrals and more referrals. In fact, the survey highlights what the most successful sales leaders have known all along – referrals are one of the most effective tools for hunting.
With so many lead sources to cover, sales teams can get quickly overwhelmed with strategizing the right approach. The more existing accounts that salespeople manage, the less time they can devote to prospecting for new client business. That’s why they need to plan for objective criteria to determine which of their prospective clients to contact first.
Client profiling introduces a huge time savings for sales teams. In our survey, 61% of respondents had already created an “Ideal Client Profile” to help them to quickly identify the accounts that offer the greatest potential for doing business. A simple rating system like a client profile allows the sales team to determine which prospective accounts to target first.
Revisiting client profiles at least annually ensures that the right prospects continue to be nurtured throughout the sales process.
Targeting Relevant Opportunities
Not all business is good business. It takes just as long to work an unprofitable opportunity through the pipeline and lose it, as it does a profitable one. The ability to understand the difference up front has a huge impact on hunting success.
That is one of the hardest hunting lessons for sales teams as evidenced by the survey results. Fewer than half of respondents assessed their organization as effective at targeting which opportunities to pursue, while only 9.4% gauged their team as being very effective.
Sales leaders understand both the value and importance of thorough and objective qualification – not just the front end, but throughout the sales cycle. Qualification is a process, not an event, and salespeople must be fully skilled in being able to answer:
- Is there a need my company can satisfy?
- Is it winnable?
- Do we want to win it?
If the answer is yes to all – it’s time to hunt!
Strategizing Growth Within Existing Clients
A vitally important sales activity is managing existing client accounts to grow relationships. Existing clients, on average, spend almost 70% more on subsequent purchases than on their first order. Additionally, it costs five to fifteen more times to locate, qualify and sell to a new client as it does to sell to an existing one.
Those facts alone should prompt all sales organizations to examine the way they are managing and growing their current client base. It’s no surprise based on that to hear that 60% of survey respondents claimed success at securing additional business within their existing accounts.
We’d be remiss not to point out that once again, referrals top the charts as the most capitalized types of opportunities, followed by leveraging partnerships.
Hunting in Packs
One of the most successful hunters in the animal kingdom are wolves. Unlike the other top predators, they hunt together in packs. Your team may not be trying to take down moose or elk, but in the sales world, team selling is a sales strategy commonly used in Major Account selling to close more deals. Simply put, team selling is a collaborative sales approach involving the marshalling of your most important organizational assets to win deals – your people.
The most impactful activities when “hunting in packs” include:
- Sales calls/meetings
- Proposal development
- Making presentations
Within these areas of collaboration, nearly 45% note effective communications across the selling team while pursuing major opportunities.
In the world of Major Accounts, team selling is nothing short of a survival skill.
Generating leads is an important sales activity that plants the seeds of growth for sustainable business development. Every organization is unique and can employ a variety of approaches in their quest to attract the attention of their target market.
Look again at that number you wrote down. Think about where your sales team is today and benchmark your organization’s current performance against some of the statistics from the companies most successful at hunting for new clients. Is your team effectively using referrals? Do they have updated client profiles? Do you have a comprehensive strategy in place to manage complex deals, involving cross-functional teams? Is your team targeting the right opportunities, and looking for additional business within existing accounts?
The hunt for new clients is on. May the odds be ever in your favor.
To access a full copy of the survey report, download Sandler Research Center’s Report: The Hunt for New Clients.