Selling products and services is a premeditated process. Use some of six sigma models of management design to minimize business errors and increase selling efficiencies.
Managing selling efficiencies is the basis of any successful sales program. All salespeople must manage the sales quota paradigm where prospects’ buying cycles and the sales team’s selling cycles don’t always match. One mechanism to manage this division of time is prospect prototyping.
What is Prospect Prototyping
Prospect prototyping is identifying replicable, quantifiable characteristics of prospects’ buying cycle and the associated sales steps needed to close business.
Prototyping prospect opportunities will shorten the sales cycle, clarify a sales value proposition, identify key buying characteristics of business executives by title, reduce marketing expenses, accelerate your cash-flow, quantify sales team training needs and help increase the sales closing ratio.
Why Should You Prototype
Because prototyping your prospect helps you implement key business metrics that are replicable and scalable across your sales team. Salespeople often get caught in “auto-selling” where by focusing on selling to prospects they feel comfortable with — not necessarily selling prospects who are the right fit.
If an account manager likes selling CFO’s of manufacturing companies with annual revenues of $100 million or less, then they are less likely to sell CIO’s of financial service companies with annual revenues of $500 million or more. Not that they can’t, but because they fall into a sales comfort zone based on their current knowledge and previous success.
By identifying patterns of your sales process and sales inefficiencies, you can focus on prospect opportunities where you can sell more in less time.
9 Steps to Build a Prospect
Buying Prototype Model
- Review and document the last 24 months of sales history to determine the business title (of the executive) who signed the business contracts.
- Review and document the top three business industries or verticals that purchased your offering.
- Calculate the average discount off retail for each closed deal sold by vertical and business title.
- Calculate the average selling time for each deal from lead to contract signing by vertical and business title sold.
- Determine in decreasing order from most sold to least sold the type of products or services most frequently bought by your prospects.
- Determine by industry the average value of a deal sold.
- Identify (or estimate) the annual revenue of each company that made a purchase during the last 24 months.
- Determine the number of on-site meetings made to each client sold.
- Determine how each closed lead was generated during the last 24 months (cold call, networking, inbound marketing, etc.).
By following these nine steps, you should be able to document a business buying pattern.
- Is selling VP’s of Operations of healthcare companies giving you the shortest selling cycle with the largest gross margins?
- Are the majority of your sales leads for deals over $100,000 coming from cold calling?
- Do you have a higher closing ratio with CFO’s than CIO’s?
- Does selling directors instead of vice presidents require more presentations?
Each one of these types of observations should be discernible from the data collected for your sales prospects prototyping model. With this data, you can decide where you should focus your energies as a salesperson or where your sales team should align their market attack to increase corporate revenue.
If you cannot see a prospect buying pattern, then most likely, your sales approach is an undocumented random sales process that chases those you think will buy rather than a calculated process of those who have proven to buy.