Prospecting guidemiller heiman

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Prospecting guidemiller heiman

  1. 1. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development Prospecting Guide.1008.indd
  2. 2. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development How often do you spend time prospecting for new business opportunities? Consistent prospecting is vital to a sales professional’s success and the success of the whole sales organization. If you’re not paying proper attention to the sales that need to be closed, the sales that need further development, and the new opportunities available to be plucked from the universe, your funnel’s health will decline and you’ll never make your quota. The most successful sales professionals are those who are really efficient at prospecting. All activities within the sales process are important, but to reduce how low you go into the valleys of your sales cycle, prospecting must be a top priority - right behind closing business. You can’t leave it on the back burner. Good prospecting techniques can impact your number of qualified leads and directly translate into increased revenue and a higher commission check. Because it’s such a crucial part of the sales process, how do you make sure you are identifying those prospects that will produce a win for both your organizations? We’ve compiled resources that address this challenge to help you master the techniques that will maximize your prospecting efforts. This guide presents a number of articles that will help you improve your prospecting skills and achieve top-performer status. Time is valuable – your clients’ and your own. You don’t want to waste it chasing opportunities that have no real chance of closing. Read on to learn how you can identify ideal prospects, manage your time more efficiently, and expand your prospecting universe.
  3. 3. Three Ways to Improve Your Sales Calls ....................................... 2 What is a Valid Business Reason It’s About Solutions Mastering Proper Prospecting Timing ........................................... 2 Time Zones Time Courtesy Time Expectations The Right Timing Maximizing Your Time by Defining Your Ideal Customer ............... 4 Selling the Cultural Similarities Between Your Prospect’s Company and Your Own The Miller Heiman There’s No Such Thing as a “Perfect” Fit Prospecting Guide Find Hidden Revenue by Cross-Selling and Up-Selling ................ 5 Best Practices for Maximizing What is Cross-Selling & Up-Selling? New Business Development The Best Time to Cross-Sell/Up-Sell? Can I Reactive Dormant Accounts? Social Networking Etiquette: Finessing One of the 21st Century’s Most Powerful Tools for Prospecting ..................... 6 Social Networking 101 Finessing Your Network for Prospecting Securing Time with Key Decision Makers ..................................... 9 What Research Tells Us What’s a “Howdy Call”? Crafting a Valid Business Reason Design Your Marketing Vehicle Market Targeting Hypothesizing Having a Framework for Discussion
  4. 4. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide busy schedule for you rather than spending it on other Three Ways to Improve priorities will benefit them in the long run. Tell the customer Your Sales Calls what you’d like to meet about and why you think this could be of value. You’ve got a hot prospect. You need a face-to-face It’s About Solutions opportunity to sell your product and services. So you How can your solution help what they want to fix, accomplish stop by, without an appointment, hoping to make it past or avoid? Doing your homework will allow you to be more the receptionist and catch the decision maker in a rare specific. The more accurate and detailed you can be, the unscheduled moment. “I was in the vicinity, and thought I’d more concise your message will be. Remember it has to just stop by to say hello.” Well, at least you tried. be quick and to the point so it can be left on a voice mail or with a receptionist. It must always be from the customer’s Of course, there is a place for pleasantries and the social point of view. aspects of business, but let’s not confuse those with a sales call. Many salespeople focus on their own comfort area, on By defining your Valid Business Reason, you’ll improve your social calls and lunch dates – or the product pitch. And as a ability to get face time dramatically. result, the sales process never gets off the ground. Before you try to call someone or meet with them in person, Mastering Proper you must ask yourself one question: “What is the reason this person should be speaking or meeting with me?” Prospecting Timing The answer to this question should be the reason a potential Timing is crucial in all parts of the sales process, but it is buyer will spend time on the phone or in person with you – most vital when prospecting – when a sound understanding your Valid Business Reason. Most importantly, the answer of how it’s executed can affect your chances for developing should highlight the value provided to the customer for prospects into opportunities. engaging in conversation with you. Plenty of questions arise in sales representatives’ day-to- Having a Valid Business Reason for every sales call, day prospecting efforts, too. whether in person or on the phone, is the considerate Consider the following to build a check list for mastering way of doing business. It tells buyers, no matter how long the often glossed-over basics of timing in prospecting. you’ve known them, that you’ve given some thought to their current challenges and that you’re looking for solutions that are valid to them. Questions that Surface in a What is a Valid Business Reason? Given Sales Process: 1. It’s Valid: It’s all about the customer. Valid to customers means it’s worth making time to hear about how you can • How long does it usually take to develop a prospect into a well-qualified lead? help solve a problem that keeps them up at night. • How long should the typical sales process 2. It’s Business: Research shows that many sales calls take? are too general and unfocused to be useful to buyers or sellers. Do your homework and manage your selling time. • When is a good time to approach a prospect with a proposal for your solution? Understand their business. What are their challenges? What are they trying to fix, accomplish or avoid? • Is my selling process in step with their 3. It’s a Good Reason: Not your reason - the customer’s buying process? reason. Be prepared to explain why taking time out of a © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 2 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  5. 5. Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development Time Zones long the call will take. Clueing them in to the time it will Effective prospecting requires research and discovery take from their day allows them the opportunity to decide to determine whether the candidate could be eventually whether now is appropriate. developed into an actual customer. When identifying initial company contacts, be certain to note their geography. Prospects may decide they don’t have time at the moment to talk to you but it reinforces your credibility by ensuring General research may turn up important specifics on a you have their interests in mind. Remaining completely company’s offerings, mission, and employee build-up. But focused on the prospect’s needs continually supports neglecting to identify such a crucial piece of information your selling initiatives as it portrays your entire organization like location and time difference can instantly derail your as one that is geared, not toward revenue, but toward chances for credibility. customer solutions. Would you call someone back if they called outside of Be sure they understand that, within the call, they will have office hours? Lack of regard for regular business hours time to voice their concerns and business issues and will can convey to a prospect that a salesperson lacks receive answers to any questions they have. Don’t forget professionalism. to reiterate that the phone call can always go longer if the customer needs to further discuss what they are trying to Calling an east coast prospect while working from the accomplish. west coast? You don’t want to miss out on your best opportunity to talk with them during their legitimate office The Right Timing hours while they have business on their mind. Remember that not all prospecting calls – outbound or inbound - need to result in an immediate conversation. With every sales call you make, determine where the Setting an appointment to discuss items at a later date contact is within the organization’s geography. Are they in can begin the process for prospecting. the corporate office in New York, working remotely while traveling in Europe, or positioned at a company branch Even in ideal market conditions, when your calendar just in Asia? Confirming your prospect company’s location can’t seem to calm down, don’t be afraid to reschedule shouldn’t stop at headquarters – consider the time zone inbound calls for a later time. You can devote greater of each individual to start off on the right foot. energy and resources to the prospect. Voicing that you simply don’t have the right amount of time to address Time Courtesy the customer’s questions at that moment isn’t rude, nor How many times have you launched into your opening is it the mark of a poor salesperson. So long as relevant statements on a prospecting cold call only to hear they information is collected first, it can give you a distinct don’t have the time to talk? Sometimes it may be hard to advantage. suppress the initial urge to launch into conversation, but always ask whether a prospect has a few moments to talk. With the added time, you can research the prospect. It sets the precedent that their needs are most important. Preparation illustrates to prospects you have taken the time to get an understanding of their company, industry and Assumptions can be dangerous, especially on the first competitors. A word of caution: don’t form preconceived opportunity for discussion with a potential candidate notions of what their solution should look before the call – for new business. Offer your prospects the option to leave it to them to articulate. politely decline and propose a time to reschedule the conversation. The bottom line remains: timing can affect a sale in any stage of its process. Mastering the essentials can ensure Time Expectations your prospecting efforts remain grounded in the actions Once you’ve confirmed with a prospect that they have a that deliver results. few minutes to talk, be courteous enough to tell them how © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 3 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  6. 6. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide Ideal Customer. You’re ready to evaluate the account to Maximize Your Time by which you’re trying to sell, against your definition of the Defining Your Ideal Customer best. Measure that account against each of your Ideal Profile characteristics. When we use the term Ideal Customer, we’re not referring Identify accounts within your total prospect population to an actual, real-life customer. The Ideal Customer is that share a similar cultural value. How would you know a standard that you identify to help you measure your this? Do your homework. Research available information prospects against to see if they are a good fit for your on the company. Listen to the kind of messaging used in company’s solution. Why? So you can focus on the annual reports, press releases, and client success stories. good ones, get rid of the truly bad ones, and anticipate Search for press coverage on the Internet. What are other problems with those who fall in the middle. Take a hard people saying about them? Aligning your selling efforts look at your most profitable customer in order to produce around common characteristics establishes a connection the hypothetical perfect customer you’d like to have. This bound by a mutually respected value-system. will become the definition of your Ideal Customer. If expediency was a common characteristic how would Step 1. List best and worst. It’s up to you. Start with you use it as a strength? those companies with whom you’ve done business. Just customers, not prospects. Limit yourself to those Emphasize what the experience is like when someone accounts where you’ve already done some business. List does business with your company. Perhaps client the best and list the worst. The best will include those communication is streamlined using a single-point of that have given you the maximum number of wins and the contact for resolving customer issues or challenges. least trouble. Then list those accounts that are the worst Highlight the optimization of delivering the product or – possibly because even though you’ve closed the deal, service to the customer. Can you do it faster than your either you or the customer feel that you’ve lost. Remember, competitors? you set the criteria. There’s No Such Thing as a “Perfect” Fit Step 2. Next, list the characteristics of both the best and Defining your Ideal Customer Profile is highly effective the worst. in identifying your best prospects and separating them from the ones that could potentially become liabilities. Ideal clients may possess such characteristics as: • Willing to pay for “value added” Most likely, the prospects you’ve identified to pursue don’t • Committed to high quality entirely match every standard of your Ideal Customer • Good proximity to my support center Profile. They rarely do. But you will find that some potential • Size of end-user group customers match up a lot better than others. Unfavorable clients may possess such characteristics as: What do you do with prospects that are not a fit, but • Inflexible on price still reflect some characteristics outlined in your Ideal • Slow to make buying decisions Customer Profile? You can do one of two things: • Secretive and unwilling to cooperate • Outside my industry expertise 1. Stop pursuing specific sales opportunities within these accounts because they represent a low Step 3. Now combine the two lists. List the positive probability of generating a win-win outcome. characteristics, then add the opposite of your negative characteristics. For example, “slow to make buying 2. Carefully pursue those that aren’t a great fit, but decisions” becomes “has a process for making buying anticipate what problems will likely arise and devise decisions quickly”. You’ve now created a profile of your strategies for overcoming them. © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 4 www.millerheiman.com | 1.877.678.0272
  7. 7. Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development Use your Ideal Customer Profile as a baseline test. Then Up-selling (verb) weigh the information it gives you against everything else Converting an initial order into a more profitable order. you know about the account. This balanced approach Typically manifested by the customer’s commitment will focus your time, energy, and resources (both your to (1) additional units of the seller’s solution or (2) a own and those of your company) on the right sales premium version of the seller’s solution. This doesn’t opportunities. mean selling one’s customers something they don’t need; it does mean selling one’s customers more of something that they do need. Find Hidden Revenue by Why don’t these two selling activities happen more Cross-Selling and Up-Selling often? Fear. Fear caused by the misconception that “asking for more” raises the risk of losing the sale. To eliminate this fear, it is critical to leverage quality Not all prospecting efforts need to be net-new. Often, business information. By taking the time to gather in- cultivating the relationship with a current client can result depth information about customers and prospects, in a prospect for future business. salespeople can gain a greater insight into their accounts, uncover new business opportunities, and In addition, it can cost four times as much to sell to a avoid many of the fears that get in the way of performing new customer compared to an existing one. By taking cross-selling and up-selling activities. advantage of existing relationships and ongoing contact with customers, companies can sell more products and How do I cross-sell? services, reduce the cost of sales, enhance customer Selecting the right customers who present the greatest loyalty, and drive revenue. need for a certain product or solution is the key to effective cross-selling. This may be a new product Cross-selling and up-selling techniques can be added to your portfolio, but keep in mind it could also legitimate activities for prospecting when used correctly, be an existing product. Certainly there are customers and may be able to bring dormant accounts back to life. who are a good fit, but which customers present the Read on for frequently asked questions to this effective greatest need for this particular solution? Leverage the prospecting activity. information you have gathered to determine who are proper candidates for this activity. What is Cross-Selling & Up-Selling? If you are not currently engaging in cross-selling and up- Step 1: Identify Cross-Sell Opportunities. Make a list selling, you may be leaving money on the table every time of your top customers. Next to each customer, list the you close a sale. What’s worse, your customer is leaving products or solutions they have purchased from you. some of their ROI there as well. What do you see? Most likely this exercise will uncover a large area of opportunity with certain customers who Let’s start with how Miller Heiman defines cross-selling have purchased only one or two of your solutions. and up-selling. Step 2: Develop the Key Characteristics of Your Target Cross-selling (verb) Customer. Once you have a product in mind that you (1) Expanding the number and quality of relationships want to cross sell, create a list of key characteristics between key people in the buying organization and the of your target customer. Consider the following when selling organization. creating your list: (2) Making additional relevant solutions available to the • It’s not who has a need, but who has the greatest buying organization (e.g., new products). need for this product. © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 5 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  8. 8. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide • It’s not who will buy, but who will buy quickly. locations for the same client. Any firm could increase their revenues by improving the management of their • Quick wins help reduce fear and add to your current clients in this manner. But some executives may credibility as a salesperson. tell you that cross-selling doesn’t work. Why? Perhaps there is a lack of understanding by the client of your full • Write down five characteristics of your target suite of product or services. Maybe your organization customer. Examples include company size, risk- lacks internal teamwork, or incentives for cross-selling, taking culture, recent merger or acquisition, etc. One or the account manager fears losing control of the of these traits may outweigh all the others. So, if the account. But, to say that cross selling doesn’t work is customer doesn’t present all five characteristics, the wrong mindset. but has one very important one, you may still want to pursue that customer. The key is to forget about other products or services you hope to sell the client, and to concentrate on what you can Step 3: Compare and Select Key Customers to Pursue. contribute to their business and organizational issues. Go back to the first list you made of your top customers. Which of these customers present characteristics of the target customer for your new solution? Which of these customers present the greatest need for your new product and are willing to buy quickly? These are the Social Networking Leverage: customers you should spend the time and effort with to build a strategy to cross-sell your product. Finessing One of the 21st Century’s Most Powerful Each of these steps demands increasingly deeper Tools for Prospecting understanding of the customer’s key initiatives and the big issues that transcend all the potential buyers within the organization. That means taking the time to become “The more you demonstrate to prospects how much informed on selected targets, their issues, and the you know of what is publicly available, the more they’re business reasons that will motivate them to schedule a going to share with you the things that are not publicly meeting or make a purchase. available,” this according to Miller Heiman sales vice president Rich Blakeman. When is the best time to cross-sell/up-sell? The worst time to start thinking about cross-selling The notion is a powerful one. Choosing to lead by and up-selling is at the end of the sales cycle. By that example, Blakeman is charging forward in his efforts to time, it’s too late. By incorporating the steps above into leverage social networking as an emerging, continually your sales strategies, you will be continually looking for evolving and sophisticated technique for prospecting. ways to get the most out of every sale, while giving your With the advent of numerous social media vehicles, customers the greatest value in return as well. there is no denying the advantage sales professionals can gain by researching a prospect before making initial Can I reactivate dormant accounts? contact. By increasing his professional network in an It’s a common situation - you have completed a project online environment, Blakeman keeps a close eye on or engagement but you see lots of potential to offer business contacts to improve existing client relations other services to the client. Sadly, you failed to leverage and stay alert for new business opportunities. that first sale toward more business so the account became dormant. “Networking isn’t new,” Blakeman says. “This isn’t a new idea. The online practice is just a new way to do it. Cross-selling is selling additional complementary The same people that were effective before are effective solutions, or expanding the initial engagement to other now, but these new tools make it easier.” © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 6 www.millerheiman.com | 1.877.678.0272
  9. 9. Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development Blakeman is convinced that tools such as LinkedIn sort of social networking usage is appropriate and what are already becoming an integral part of how effective is not. Blakeman insists that, to stay credible in the eyes sales organizations can improve results by gaining of possible prospects, how and when you use your social further visibility into key accounts and developing network to stay connected should remain closely tied to prospect contacts into possible new business. “There’s those contacts’ purposes, not yours. “We all have people a difference between managing your relationships and that only reach out to us when they need something from leveraging your network. The key to leveraging your us. It’s imperative in social networking to demonstrate network is to use it to help you mine the data that is out you operate responsibly and with integrity.” in other people’s network to your advantage.” Ensure you don’t jeopardize credibility by: With such a wealth of information available, it’s difficult to choose from the variety of venues with which to • Understanding the difference between research harness it. The numerous features and applications in and stalking. Persistence is an admirable quality the social media environment aren’t necessarily self- for a sales representative, as consistent contact explanatory. A bevy of tools are available to users on with your connections lends credibility – but there social networking sites, ranging from search options, must be a purpose behind the contact. Sales reps news alerts, resume-like career histories, referral or who position themselves in front of a client merely introduction capabilities, and limitless varieties of to accumulate face time convey a lack of regard exclusive groups based on interests, associations and for the client’s business issues. It can also come professions. Recognizing that the technology exists is across as intrusive. crucial, but Blakeman emphasizes the importance of understanding that it isn’t about the tool itself, it’s about • Exercising discretion. While having a large number of how you use it. contacts increases the power and pull of your network and opens connection possibilities, don’t add just “It’s absolutely vital for improving the level of prospect anyone. A proper balance of quality versus quantity research,” Blakeman says, mentioning he touches his must be achieved. Having a stronger relationship preferred social network site, LinkedIn.com, close to with your contacts allows you to introduce others three times a day. “If you’re looking to make a call to with better chances for acceptance, demonstrating a new contact at a senior level, you want to do some to both connections that your contacts network is homework first. The people most likely to return calls to valid and can be trusted. provide helpful information are easily identifiable inside a professional networking site.” • Staying involved with your contacts’ networks. Social networking shouldn’t muscle out the other Social Networking Etiquette 101: priorities of the day, but keeping a consistent To help illustrate how to increase the quality of leads, awareness of who is being promoted, relocating, Blakeman offers a few guidelines that can help sales or changing jobs increases your visibility of the professionals incorporate social networking into their business environment. Blakeman advocates prospecting efforts. tracking the pulse of work activities to highlight the interests and priorities of your connections and “Engaging in social media vehicles like online clue you in to updates that may provide valuable professional networking to improve your prospecting insight. “One of the absolute critical factors in social efforts is one thing,” Blakeman says. “Running rampant networking is being timely,” he says. “I can track with the technology is quite another. Credibility and trust people that I knew at a given company and note are the keys to being effective in social networking” where they go. Following their career highlights opportune times to approach them at their new Because prospecting hinges heavily on the impression company or leave a message regarding something you make with clients, it is important to understand what they may find valuable.” © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 7 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  10. 10. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide that will introduce me favorably to a prospect I want • Rolling with the punches. Blakeman notes that, to meet.” He mentions that a larger professional much like on the front lines, sales professionals network increases your ability to effectively search must grow a thick skin. “Don’t let unapproved for data. “Simply put, you don’t get enough return requests or rejections get to you,” he says. out of a social network if you don’t have enough of a network. But if you only pursue quantity, you’ll end Finessing Your Network for Prospecting up adding people you don’t really know, diluting the Maximize your prospecting efforts through social efficacy of your network.” networking: • Relay the value of proposed connections. Much like • Look for coaches. Profiles of individuals within a sales representative must understand the issues of companies can indicate their interests, field a prospect in order to offer a comprehensive solution specializations, and work history outside the that will address their needs, imparting the value of current company. By doing a bit of digging, you a proposed professional relationship is necessary to may identify individuals previously employed with bolster your acceptance rate. Provide those contacts companies your organization has done business who would be introducing you to others with valid with. These candidates can evolve into advocates reasons. This lends you credibility with them, and for your company’s solution, clue you in to proper ensures they have a solid reason for introducing you, proposal timing, help pinpoint proper buying which in turn lends them credibility. influences within the company, and advise on how best to approach them. • Watch prospects and clients for better visibility of company actions. Look out for prospecting • Find levels of influence. If Acme, Inc. has a new sales opportunities through the people in your sales vice president who brought 17 employees with him, channel and identifying their customers, competitors, chances are there is significant degree of influence and suppliers. “You may find a pattern in which among the band of newly instated employees. companies are connected to each other, as well Leveraging a relationship with those employees as good ideas for how to expand your company’s may provide an opportunity to connect upwards in solution into that territory,” Blakeman says. the organization to support your initiatives. Online professional networking is becoming a • Search like a professional. Several social mainstream prospecting activity within the sales networking sites have search applications that profession. Building your foundation now may give you can provide insight on numerous topics. Refine the step up you need. searches by job title, company name, company geography, and keywords to unearth available “You never know,” Blakeman says of the part social information. Validate company headquarters and networking plays in prospecting. “If you keep an open get a better understanding of what a prospect’s mind to what you’re going to find and what value it will field organization looks like. Where are sales leaders provide, you may be surprised where your next source located? Where are company engineers located? for business comes from.” Where is product development located? • Expand the quality contacts within your network through referrals and introductions. Insistent that a balance between quality and quantity of contacts must be kept, Blakeman does not deny the power of numbers. “The bigger my personal network is, the more likely I can leverage it to find a connection © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 8 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  11. 11. Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development • Too many salespeople are just trying to push Securing Time with product rather than attempting to identify and fulfill Key Decision Makers organizational needs. They rarely do their homework to understand business issues and challenges. by Eric Wasser • A large number of outbound contacts made by If selling time was characterized as time spent meeting salespeople today are nothing more than “Howdy Calls”. with key influencers discussing their challenges, issues, and trends, most sales professionals would agree that it What’s a “Howdy Call”? is small percentage of the time they spend working their A Howdy Call is defined as an outbound contact made with respective jobs. Statistics indicate that with all other job no clear understanding of the client’s need - what problem responsibilities considered, it can be less than 10 to 15 the client is trying to fix or avoid or what goal the client is hours per week on average. hoping to accomplish. The Howdy Call is connected to the common idea that sales is a numbers game; contacting Having more and better time with important buying more clients will provide more opportunities. influences is a key to successful selling in today’s complex environments. With multiple decision makers involved Although there is some validity to the idea that business and often lengthy sales cycles, it is important to have development is about volume, successful sales enough time engaging with those key decision makers to professionals know that taking the time to choose the understand their businesses while establishing rapport right people to meet with and focusing on what is of and credibility. key interest to them dramatically improves the quality of meetings and yields. A focus in increasing selling time can lead to better understanding customer environments, stronger Crafting a Valid Business Reason relationships and more opportunity to connect value Letting the decision maker know why you’re contacting propositions to client needs. them ensures that discussions are productive for both the sales professional and the client. At Miller Heiman, we What Research Tells Us advocate that you should never contact a decision maker The Miller Heiman Sales Best Practices Study reveals what without a Valid Business Reason. Presenting a solid Valid top-performing sales organizations are doing differently Business Reason to the contact allows sales professionals from everyone else. The organizations designated as to demonstrate an understanding of the client’s business “top-performing” did significantly better than others in and the challenges faced by executives. Before making key metrics including average account billing, account the contact, the sales professional should have answers acquisition and revenue. to the following questions. • Top-performing organizations were 90 percent • Do you have a Valid Business Reason for calling? more likely than other organizations to rely on comprehensive prospecting plans. • Does your statement of the reason for the call help the potential buyer understand who you are and the • Top-performing organizations were 110 percent reason for your call? more likely than other organizations to leverage the best practices of top performers to improve the • Does your statement convey the value of setting an performance of everyone else. appointment? Additional studies have identified the disappointments • Does it establish a common foundation for exploring of key senior-level decision makers with their sales how to resolve an actual or potential problem or professionals: achieve a specific goal? © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 9 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  12. 12. The Miller Heiman Prospecting Guide • Does it establish the importance of the meeting for Hypothesizing the client? A steadfast focus on clients is good business practice. Understanding what clients are trying to fix, accomplish or • How well does the reason for calling fit in with the avoid allows sales professionals to provide real value by client’s interests? connecting with those clients on their terms. Selecting a target audience, either a specific key decision maker or a • Does it let the client know “what’s in it for me”? larger audience of key decision makers with some common • Is it clear, concise and complete? characteristics, is necessary to effectively think about areas of interest from their perspective. There are many resources Applying thought in a few key areas can help ensure available today that provide specific intelligence on the “top effective creation of Valid Business Reasons. of mind” issues facing industries, specific companies and job functions. Online resources like Hoover’s provide great insight Design Your Marketing Vehicle into those challenges, issues and trends. Successful selling There are many effective methods for reaching prospective organizations are great at capitalizing on the institutional clients and decision makers. In a recent webcast on knowledge possessed by their best performers and sharing prospecting, Miller Heiman polled a large audience of sales that knowledge through best practices. Many successful professionals on what methods they prefer to use to reach organizations analyze their “wins” to determine what the key clients and decision makers when trying to secure key areas of interest were that drove initial conversations so appointments: that those ideas might be shared with others. Key decision Phone - 51.3 percent makers will always be interested in spending time with Internet/Email - 27.6 percent credible resources who can help them tackle their problems Direct Mail - 5.5 percent and initiatives, helping them succeed. The key to getting Other - 16.5 percent time with buying influences lies in the sales professionals’ ability to communicate that message effectively, as early as Decision makers are as diverse in their preferred possible. communication methods as those in selling organizations; consequently, securing time with those key decision makers Having a Framework for Discussion often requires using multiple methods. Thinking about what It is important to be clear and concise when communicating method to use prior to connecting with a decision maker or with key decision makers regardless of the chosen client is an important consideration. marketing vehicle. Struggling to deliver the message in a way that makes sense and demonstrates expertise can be Market Targeting as ineffective as not having a Valid Business Reason at all. Successful selling professionals often have a strong sense This does not imply a need to “script” but does suggest a for their own organization’s aptitudes. A good understanding need to be prepared and practiced prior to connecting with of their Ideal Customer Profile provides a set of sorting criteria your audience. The following are business development as they consider who they should focus on during business best practice suggestions for what should be considered development efforts. Organizations that understand their when designing a framework for Valid Business Reasons: Ideal Customer Profile have a potential benchmark to • Consider the audience and your measure against a prospect’s potential fit and likelihood expertise in your introduction. of future success. It is important to consider segmenting those key decision makers you hope to secure time with • Reference a company with a similar challenge. by like characteristics as well. Understanding common threads that connect buying influences by segments like • Explain how the solution worked for them. geography, market segment, job function and title provides • Share the measurable outcome they experienced. the foundation for thinking about their challenges, issues and trends – those areas of focus they are potentially interested • Be conversational. in exploring further. © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 10 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  13. 13. Best Practices for Maximizing New Business Development About the Author Eric Wasser Miller Heiman Sales Consultant A sales practitioner with 20 years in sales and sales leadership, Eric’s approach is practical and real world. He earned his experience in both account management and business development. He has held leadership positions for two Fortune 500 companies and was a small business owner. Currently a consultant for Miller Heiman, Eric is in tune with many of the challenges facing sales organizations today. Next Steps: Securing Strategic AppointmentsSM Take your new business development efforts one step farther by attending Securing Strategic AppointmentsSM, Miller Heiman’s process designed to improve your ability to secure time with new prospects and key contacts within a sale. As customer needs evolve, sales professionals must learn to better differentiate themselves from competitors to get the high-value, quality appointments they need with potential buyers. Learn the structure and skills that will help you identify appropriate audiences and capture their interest through concise, powerful messaging. Call us at 1 (877) 678-0272 or visit www.millerheiman.com to learn more. © 2008 Miller Heiman, Inc. All rights reserved. 11 www.millerheiman.com | 1-877-678-0272
  14. 14. Miller Heiman Corporate Headquarters 10509 Professional Circle Suite 100 Reno, Nevada 89521 USA Miller Heiman Europe Nelson House No 1 Auckland Park Milton Keynes MK1 1BU England Miller Heiman Asia Pacific Level 2 12 Waters Road Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Australia www.millerheiman.com

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