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The Sales Volume Game Is Dead, Long Live Targeted Prospecting

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“Tell me how you measure me, and I will tell you how I behave.”

As a result of how most reps are measured -- activity-based metrics and quota -- most reps put a tremendous amount of effort into high-volume outreach. Instead of slowing down and identifying good fit prospects who would actually be interested in their product or service, reps simply grab that extra cup of coffee and send out another 100 emails in hopes of getting through to someone (anyone).

But consider that a mere 2% of cold calls results in a meeting, and as much as 50% of a sales rep’s time is wasted on unproductive prospecting. Imagine putting that time into building meaningful relationships instead.

So who does the volume game benefit? Certainly not the people getting cold called, and in most cases, the rep himself suffers as well. In the opinion of many customer experience experts, sales has become "over-caffeinated," so to speak. (And this is coming from a regularly over-caffeinated blogger.)

It’s time to throw away the “activity drives results” playbook. Today, the most successful reps are slowing down and studying buyers and their journeys. Salespeople who can hone in on a few targeted prospects and present value through careful research and useful insights will close more deals than if they were to “spray and pray.”

If you’re the quintessential over-caffeinated sales rep, calling and emailing hundreds of folks every day, use the following tactics to slow down your activity, and accelerate your results.

Make the ultimate commitment.

Instead of relying on a scripted approach or a one-size-fits-all mentality, familiarizing yourself with each prospect and their unique situation can make a huge difference in your relationship -- and this starts with doing the research.

A great sales process is built on the idea of solving for the customer. This means knowing their business, how they operate, and doing your best to discover and solve their pain points. In order to do this, you have to commit to researching each and every prospect you decide to engage.

In the era of social media, there’s no shortage of sites on which to learn about your lead -- check out LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and the company's website and press releases page as a start.

Learn the laws of attraction.

Over the past few years, we’ve learned that prospects place a tremendous amount of value in great content. In fact, 95% of buyers in a DemandGen study chose a solution provider that “provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.”

Instead of making cold calls and sending cold emails to anyone and everyone, modern reps can gain traction by drawing prospects to their products through content. Posting content relevant to the buyer you’re trying to sell and engaging with your target audience on social networks will help you attract new leads organically. You could even create your own if you're so inclined.

Send valuable follow ups.

It’s imperative that reps stay in touch with prospects who might buy in the future. However, following up can become a slippery slope when reps start sending a few too many emails with not a lot of value.

Keep in mind that more activity doesn’t always equate to better results. If you’re going to reach out, make sure you have a legitimate reason to (not just a weak “wanted to check in”). Do your best to offer value every single time you reach out to a prospect.

Remember: any given touchpoint could be the deciding factor behind whether or not a prospect decides to purchase. Make sure each and every single one of your check-ins add value.

Sales reps now have to adjust to a new buyer, and a new methodology. In this new environment, a sales strategy based on high activity might not be the best bet. Instead, focusing on fewer high-quality prospects that are a good fit for your product is the way to go. By committing to research, offering guidance, and providing value, you’ll be able to connect with better fit prospects more likely to say “yes."

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