Persistence is one of the best things a salesperson can do to achieve successful prospecting, according to Kristie Jones. Lead generation and prospecting are a long game and there are skills that a salesperson needs to develop to be successful in these areas. What are they? How can you improve your prospecting and lead generation skills? Kristie shares her tips + tactics in this episode of Sales Reinvented. Check it out!
Kristie Jones is the go-to expert for SaaS companies wanting to build or scale their sales teams. Her 19+ years as a Sales Leader in the SaaS space fuels her passion to help businesses increase revenue through improved strategy, process, and people. She coaches everything from sales process and strategy to hiring and training Sales and Success Reps.
Kristie defines lead gen as playing the long game. You need to ensure that prospects are aware of your company. Lead gen is usually owned by the marketing team and is more of one-way communication. Prospecting is a two-way communication that is specific and targeted to customers in a personal and customized way. The goal is to get off the “maybe” pile and get into the “Yes/No” pile.
Closing deals is all about timing. Even if a company is a good fit for you, they may not need your product or service now. So you need to embrace persistence and continue to add value and stay in front of the prospect until they’re ready to purchase. Kristie’s goal is to keep leads as warm pizza until they’re ready to move forward. You want to make sure they don’t go back to frozen pizza. The end goal is qualification. Until then, make sure marketing is keeping the “not right nows (NRNs)” in the lead generation funnel.
Kristie emphasizes that salespeople need to have discipline and persistence. They need to block time in their calendar and build out time to prospect. Prospecting may be the red-headed step-child of sales—but a necessary evil. It’s one of the most important activities you need to be consistent with. Putting new deals in the funnel is 100% in your control. You have to be consistent and persistent. Consistently fill the top of your funnel. Make sure you are persistent with your NRN list and follow up with them regularly.
The qualification process is also important. Clients call her and say “deals are stalling out” and what she finds is that there's stalling out because they shouldn’t have been in the pipeline in the first place. You need a formal nurture strategy for your NRN’s to keep them warm. A lot of the messaging is all about you, your product, and your service. It isn’t about helping the client and making their life easier. Turn that around. Prospecting “Has to be all about them, before it can be all about you before it can be all about us.”
Kristie emphasizes that you can’t just “wing it.” You need a plan. The reason that prospecting automation tools exist is that everyone is great at starting the prospecting process—but not following through. Every time 4 days go by and you haven’t touched a prospect, you’re starting back at zero. Winging it is NOT a good strategy. It means you don’t have a strategy. You will be disorganized. There’s more noise than ever out there. If you’re not constantly in someone’s “face” they won’t remember you. She also points you that you can’t think a full pipeline means you don’t have to prospect anymore.
Kristie had a prospect she was trying to qualify who fit her customer profile perfectly. He would be her ideal client. She went after him 100%. He was playing along, then he went under. She let him go back into the wild and went back after him months later—with no luck.
So she started digging around. She went on Twitter and found out he was a Belgium beer lover—Kristie is too. So she sent her next email with the title: How about we grab a blue moon together? That got her the meeting. She learned that she was becoming part of the noise. She wasn’t separating herself. She had to dig deeper and get personal.
Her LinkedIn account is all business. But Twitter is business + personal. Most people on LinkedIn recognize that it’s a professional networking platform and behave accordingly. Twitter is like going to a bar with someone. You get a sense of who they are as a whole. That’s where the personalization can occur. The minute it’s on social media, it’s public. Twitter is fair game.
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