By Will Turner

Are you winging it? Doing a little of this and a little of that in hopes that you will meet your sales goals. It can be a tenuous and stressful existence as you get to the end of each month. Will you hit your goals? Or will you fall short…again?

According to the recent findings from the TAS Group, 67% of salespeople do not meet their quota. Ouch! That statistic is incredibly high…and depressing. As a former sales manager, my life would have been pure hell if two-thirds of my team were falling short. And from a salesperson’s perspective, it wouldn’t be any better if I was struggling to get ahead and worried about my job security month after month.

So why is this number so high? Obviously, there are multiple reasons. Many of which I’ve touched on in previous articles. These include increased competitionmore price sensitivity, and less client loyalty.

The number one reason, however, why salespeople fail in business development goes back to the fundamentals. The culprit is the lack of an effective prospecting system. Prospecting is simply the process of establishing connections with people that can use your services or refer you to those that can. A prospecting system, then, is a systematic process of deciding whom you want to connect with and how you’re going to make that happen.

If you don’t have an executable business development process and system for getting and retaining business, you are leaving your success up to chance. It’s a “hoping and wishing” game at the end of each month that gets tiresome and daunting. So if you’re ready to get and maintain consistent performance, month-to-month, it means you have to make some purposeful shifts in what you’re doing when it comes to new business development and client retention.

Here are the six steps you need to follow to develop a prospecting system that will work for you and everyone else on your team.

  1. Determine Your Numbers – The first step is to know what your overall business development goals are. What do you want to accomplish in the next quarter or the next year? Once you know your “big” number, there are a few other numbers that you will also need to calculate. These include:
  • Average Engagement or Sale – this is the average revenue generated by a client over a specified period of time or for a specific product or service
  • Appointment Ratio – The number of connections needed to secure an appointment (this could be a face-to-face or virtual appointment) depending on what your sales process looks like.
  • Closing Ratio – The number of appointments needed to close a deal and get the Engagement
  1. Determine the prospecting methods and strategies you will use – There are a number of strategies you can use to make contact with potential prospects. These include categories like referral sources/strategic alliances, networking, trade shows/events, speaking (presentations/workshops/webinars), repeat customers, social selling, etc. You will need to determine which ones you will use to reach your goals and what percentage of your goals will come from each method. It’s not necessary to use all the methods; rather, focus your activities on a combination of methods that will work best for you.
  1. Determine how many contacts you need each month – Once you know your annual sales goal, you need to determine how many monthly contacts you will need to make by each prospecting method. If you have a Bull’s Eye Market, your job in locating qualified prospects will be much easier and more focused.
  1. Create a system – Based on your numbers and the different combination of methods for business development you will use, you will need to develop an executable system. How will you keep track of the activities you need to complete weekly or monthly? How can you automate the processes to be more efficient? How can you make sure that you are filling your pipeline on an ongoing basis and avoiding a “feast or famine” existence when it comes to business development?
  1. Make it happen – You won’t reap rewards unless you take action and implement your plan. Remember, knowledge isn’t power; applied knowledge is power. So take your system and work it consistently.
  1. Monitor and evaluate performance – At first, you will probably have to make some assumptions about your numbers and the most effective strategies you should use. As you gain more experience and experiment with new options, your strategies or your assumptions need to be adjusted. It’s an ongoing process of fine-tuning that will ensure that you keep doing what you need to be doing to hit your goals.

Category: Editorial