The Blue Sky Prospecting List

I’m a big believer in developing systems, and nowhere is this more important that in the sales cycle. It’s not rocket science–but at the same time, I have yet to encounter a business owner that can truly articulate the number of suspects needed to generate prospects, and then how many prospects they need to close deals.

In fact, when you talk to sales people about their pipeline, you get a lot of “blue sky” answers–which ultimately means that many are misplacing suspects in the prospect category when they haven’t actually earned the right to move them over.

Using a CRM such as Salesforce.com won’t solve this issue either. I’ve seen many companies that use these systems effectively across the organization with wide variances in revenue growth. This is usually because different departments are using different data points that determine if this is a suspect or a prospect with no real accountability.

This process is completely predictable if you’re inputing the right data consistently.

The question that needs to be asked at each stage is “what have we done for a suspect that qualifies them to be put on the prospect list?” Salespeople need to ensure that they have had discussions with the actual decision maker and have a good understanding of the customer’s procurement process.

Most of all, we (both you and your salespeople) need to be honest about what qualifies a suspect to be moved over to the prospect list. Using agreed upon data points, triggers or gates will create a significant improvement in predictability, and help you determine where you need to intercede in the process.

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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