Friday, 30 October 2009

Thriving in this recession an A-Z (Part 1)

Do you go “A and B the C of D” and integrate your prospecting with digital marketing ?

A while ago in a phrasebook on “modern youth speak” produced by the leading supermarket chain TESCO for its staff understand the younger generation was included “A and B the C of D” which means above and beyond the call of duty

(TESCO store at Warwick Road West London London)

Successful Professional Salespeople are those who serve their clients and employers above and beyond the call of duty.

This is never truer than when digging out new business. Seeking out those ‘suspects’ progressing them into ‘Prospects’ converting them into ‘Active Clients’ a sales process sometimes referred to as The Planned Business Development Cycle. (Not forgetting that once you have an active client to nurture them by protecting and expanding that business.)

Maybe it is some while since you had to do some genuine prospecting. Perhaps such activity has in all honesty been on the back burner of late. It is all very well for those who quote the old adage “repair the roof while the sun shines” (often said by training consultants I confess) however that is little comfort or practical help to those hit by recession in their markets who haven’t been keeping up to date their pipeline of prospects.

Today I am starting a set of Blog Posts on specific skills for selling in tough times such as this recession. I am writing it as an A-Z of selling in a recession responding to a series of requests from course delegates.

Our A and B the C of D has to be going ‘that extra mile’ of prospecting.


A ssess your current prospecting process
1. Evaluate your current prospecting efforts.
Like a local weather forecaster you need to measure your environment - dry bulb, wet bulb, Relative humidity, rainfall, barometric pressure there are similarly activities and information we need to measure in the Sales environment.
(Local weather Station in West London)
2. How do you currently prospect? Is it systematic or ad hoc ? What do you currently have in the pipeline? What companies are most likely to buy your products or services and why?
3. If you don’t measure it you can’t manage it. It is good practice to quantify and record your results of website hits, direct mail, telemarketing campaigns, face-to-face calls, referrals and networking. You may care to do this by a best bets list or a ‘probables’ versus ‘possibles’ of projects list .

Developing a ‘ Suspects list’ will help you progress them to that Planned business development goal of an active client. Your CRM system can help you greatly with this but if you do not have access to such a system you can use Microsoft’s Outlook programme that has lots of flagging and Priority reminders to help on the to do and 'Task' areas.

It may be worthwhile though by deciding whether your primary sales challenge is managing Projects or Clients/Customers. (It can of course be both). Nonetheless remember there is some truth in the saying that ‘you want to chase the business not the customer.’

For Projects record Name of Project, what stage the project is at, who is involved, some roadmap or set of milestones for the project and have a next action column to prompt you to advance the project

For Clients you may wish to record Company name, Address ( + Web Address), Type of Business, Turnover, No of employees, Products/services of yours they could, would or have in the past used, who your competition is, who the prospect/client's competition is, Contact Names, titles, phone number, mobile number, email address and best time to contact.

In these recessionary times headcount reductions have meant many contacts are multi-tasking and may only be doing their ‘buying role’ on certain days or at certain times. Also there has been an increase in part time work or people who may only be in the office for say three days a week. It is important to find out this information, record it so that you work best with them.
(Rainfall Measuremt - Rain Guage at Pembroke Square Weather Station, London)
Customer Records and data base management ensure that you record date of calls, who you contacted, note what happened and most importantly note what the aim of the next call is.
It may also be helpful to make a note of what business was lost, to whom and why when the circumstances are such

4. Decide which of the methods you want to pursue and improve. It is of course lots of work but we are working here - above and beyond the call of duty.

5. Be sure to put your prospecting objectives in writing because “when all is said and done, more is said than done!” Committing your objectives to a list on your pc or to paper will help you focus

6. Remember to review, evaluate and improve your prospecting pipeline.


Bulk-rate metered post pulls through as well as first class mail. In the UK at the present we are suffering a National Postal Strike. So you may wish to try other postal suppliers. TESCO cuurently mail out to their Clubcard members mailings by DHL Global Mail.I guess there might deals out there whilst this dispute continues. Once the Royal Mail has sorted itself out the current dispute they will need to claw back lost revenue so keep your eyes posted.

(Notice of Current Industrial Action ( Strike) at the Royal Mail)
• Why not save money without sacrificing results? Many find that second class post renders pretty much the same results as first class.
• Use a mailing house, unless you have a special in-house mailing department. There is a strong argument for using specialists or outsourcing as we call it nowadays.
• If you try to do bulk mail in-house, chances are, you will not mail again soon. It is a lot of work and soaks up resources which could be working more profitably for your business in other activities.
(Red Post Box (Victorian) Is snail mail a Sunset Selling medium ?)


Customer analysis helps create your road map for the future
• Use primary and secondary research data to identify prospects with similar profiles to your current clients is useful.
• Market segmentation is not only useful to marketers but also Sales people.
• Do not overlook this critical step even if you sell to "everyone." .


Direct marketing yields results
• Advertising revenues are down in conventional media but there has been quite a transfer to digital marketing.
• There are specialist software systems who can measure return on investment of direct marketing by linking the direct mail piece to a special landing site on your web. Google Analytics can help with the Macro picture on hits on your web sites.

I recently attended a seminar in central London hosted by the specialist Trovus. They hold regular seminars called "Trovus Tuesdays". These are occasions where there is an opportunity for both users and providers of the Trovus Revelations system can discuss and decide how best to grow and develop the product.

There was a most interesting and provocative presentation given by user Richard Brenkley of Coast Digital on the power of on line digital marketing, and web design

Richard said he was not a bit surprised about the rise of digital marketing over conventional media because clients increasingly want to have measurable return on investment in their direct marketing activities.

If your resources don’t stretch to digital marketing put a reference number on direct marketing piece it will help you track effectiveness.

• Some argue that there is no known limit to the number of times you should contact your target market. I am not so sure but I accept that one seldom alienate customers with over attentiveness, I guess it is the way one keeps in touch as much as the number of times one keeps in touch.

• Continue to reach your prospects by mail (snail or email ) or phone until your pound return vs. pound invested no longer shows a profit. However you won’t be able to do this if you don’t measure and record your activity.
(Autumn leaves in West London)
Professional salespeople realise that seeing the market as just a series of body blows and windfalls means you have lost control and are merely reacting . - Surviving the recession rather than thriving in the recession.- Windfalls are pretty but they are not around for long. It is best to be more systematic and integrating with digital marketing is the future.

Next post E , F, G and H. Thanks for reading this blog Keep following the blog for more skills on successful selling skills for this recession

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