Everyone at your company -- from executives to entry-level salespeople -- who should be prospecting. Think you don’t have time? Bullsh*t. I set aside two hours every week to prospect for our team. And that two hours is huge for me, our division, our partners, and our company.
Dan Tyre, director at HubSpot, calling for a CEO means something. It starts a relationship the sales reps on our team can build on.
Everyone in your company should be prospecting, but they need to understand a few things before they start.
The guide below will help you build an “everybody prospects” culture at your organization. It’s divided into three sections: Tips for veteran salespeople and executives, tips for junior salespeople, and prospecting tips everyone can use.
Prospecting as a senior salesperson motivates the rest of your team and shows leadership. Let’s unpack both of those below.
Cold calls convert at less than 2%. Many of our warm calling students connect at 20% (oh, baby). While it’s not exactly fun, learning to talk with anyone, anytime -- even if you’ve never met before -- is a good skill to have. Your reps need to understand the motivation behind prospecting and why it’s important to your pipeline.
Most successful salespeople are really good at the end of the sales process. Many people are less skilled at the top of the funnel. The motivation is fairly simple -- you can’t finalize a relationship that you don’t open. Salespeople today don’t close deals, they start relationships. Prospecting today is all about making a warm call connection. For me, this is a 10-minute call where I introduce myself, create a human connection, and offer to help.
Prospecting is also about sales leadership. If you’re relying on your BDR to do all your prospecting, how do you think that makes the BDR feel? It makes prospecting grunt work -- something to do just long enough until you’re senior and don’t have to do it anymore.
If you want to get your team motivated to prospect, do it with them. “Let’s make some calls together” is a powerful statement. It shows they aren’t doing grunt work. They’re mastering an essential part of the sales process.
By prospecting with your BDR, you’ve instantly made it a learning opportunity and another way to drive home the importance of prospecting.
Need advice actually asking an executive or senior salesperson for help?
First, just ask. If you’re a sales rep who needs help starting a conversation with someone at a Fortune 500 company, ask your senior reps for help. If you’re a senior sales rep who thinks a call from your CEO might be the best way to get in front of another CEO, just ask.
Fostering a culture of “just ask” is the first step of everyone prospecting. Then get ready for the second part of the equation …
Second, make it easy. Whether you’re a BDR or a senior sales rep, if you’re asking for help from one of your seniors, do all the prep work to make it easy for them. If you’re working with an executive, you may get roughly three minutes of their focus and energy, so make the most of that time by creating a comprehensive executive briefing sheet for them.
When prospecting for junior salespeople, I ask for four things: The website URL, the LinkedIn profile for the person and company I’m talking with, and the HubSpot CRM sales record.
What to Do on the Call
Before picking up the phone, I spend five minutes reviewing the information from my BDR. I typically leave a voicemail and attempt to reach the contact four times in 12 days. Each time I call, I send a follow up email so they know I’m trying to reach them.
Once I’m on the phone with a prospect, the message is always, “My sales rep asked me to start the conversation.” That way, if things go well, I can hand that business off to the rep so they can continue nurturing the relationship.
I’ll spend a few minutes chatting with them about their neighborhood, whether they’re a dog or a cat person (or ferret or reptile lover), or what they had for breakfast this morning. We’ll laugh, we might cry, but we’ll definitely connect. Then I’ll circle back to the reason I called them.
“I called to help,” is the line that occasionally astounds them. I practice active listening and repeat their challenges back to them with “So what I’m hearing is … ” Then I offer to set up more time with them to better understand how our company can help. Often, they’ll pitch a time that's weeks or even months in the future. I counter with, “How about tomorrow?” Ninety-five percent of the time, the prospect’s answer is, “Sure, what time?”
Prospecting in Unique Ways
In addition to logging time on the phone, senior sales reps should also be prospecting in different, more public-facing ways. They should always be networking. Go to local, national, and even international industry events and do prospecting face to face.
It’s also important for senior sales reps to be active on social media. Build a Twitter and LinkedIn presence -- social selling works and you should be actively doing it. Networking and building your industry brand is an important part of being a senior sales rep, and one that takes time. Leverage your seniority to help and promote your company and the rest of your team.
Everyone at Your Company Should Be Prospecting
Senior sales reps always want to close. I get it. It’s the rush you get when you ring the gong, are tagged in the closed-won Slack channel, or get included in a “Ding” email (HubSpot’s version of the gong).
But everyone at your company should be prospecting -- yes, especially you. Decide how much time you can devote to it each week and make it a priority. You might be surprised at what it does for team morale and company numbers.