Successful sales leaders lost many reliable business development tools in the past year. Some of them may never regain their importance to a business.
In-person visits, trade shows, networking groups, all lost.
Your prospective buyers may decide how much remote work they want, so how do you prepare for it more than before?
Your competition could set the standard for efficiency in using more remote to contact more of your potential buyers. How can you be that industry lead instead?
Look, I bet you are already successful, and a large percentage of your overall business comes to you due to years of hard work. I also bet that because of this success, you know you either have a gap between what you brought in last year and what you want to this year, OR you are not sitting idly by to hope things turn out the way you want.
You are going to take action. What does that look like in the field of digital business development?
Getting in front of enough new people these days requires some change.
Let me say loud and clear: I GET THAT. Like you, my business requires me to continually flow new conversations with people I haven't met before.
I want to share some best practices with you to avoid falling into the new traps of pestering people with relentless email campaigns.
As much as we love meeting people in person, the world has changed. We must continue to adapt and take advantage of remote tools to develop growth.
You've probably already made the jump to using online video for meetings and training (Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, and others have become critical tools). What you may not have done is accepted the fact they are here to stay and how you can leverage those tools to benefit you and your team in the long term.
The world will settle down in many ways, but it will never return to the way things were (especially in the business world). We must recognize the immensity of what has happened to us all.
We have a shared experience of massive change, rarely seen in human history. We won't have any chance of not changing with it.
Those who resist will be left behind and left out of the opportunities that lie ahead.
Let's look at some ways you can adopt new behaviors and activities, so you are in the driver's seat now and prepared for what the future brings:
Step 1 (the boring hard part): Pull out your company's list of business and personal goals for the year. It's time to assess. You might not need any help, but an open mind is critical to your success, so stick with me:
Are they SMART goals? (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)? If not, seriously consider why not and adjust as you think necessary. (thanks to Peter Drucker for this, of course)
I like to emphasize the specificity of these goals. Because when you have to do hard things to get there, saying "I want to save the world," while noble, won't get you the fuel you need. Specificity like "Four consecutive quarterly top-line income of $XYZ" or "Purchase of a new ABC sports car by Dec 31" helps to tie things down.
Don't be afraid to seem materialistic or greedy. I will cover this problem later, but you are not a bad person because you get specific about your aspirations.
Step 2: Can you reach those goals doing what you did last year?
If yes: Get back to work. You don't need to read online articles. (OR go back to step 1 and set more challenging goals. You can do this!)
If no: What is the gap? What % of new business needs to close to make your goal a reality? (See why the money goals are essential? People don't usually take aspirations or community involvement as payment for rent and mortgages).
Step 3: With that gap in hand, write out your sales process, step by step.
Everyone is different. Some companies have one-call closes. Some businesses we work with have five-year sales cycles. Don't worry. This part works out.
What is the process from the first time you meet someone new to the time you put their check in the bank?
My process, for example, is:
1) 15-minute informal call to see if next steps are warranted
2) 60-90 minute deep dive with decision-makers to understand their business and determine if it aligns with my services.
3) Formal delivery of proposal/presentation
4) Close meeting/conversation to set steps for training and collect dollars. (turns out my landlord also doesn't take empathy and gratitude for rent)
What is yours? Does everyone on your team agree? Could they tell you what it is? Good.
Step 4: (the fun part): Scripts!
Everyone loves scripts. Cold calls (do they still work?) are a great example. What's the difference between a cold call script and an email one?
In a cold call, you have to talk to a human (which is scary) and deliver a script in a way that keeps you from sounding like a homicidal robot. It's not easy and takes practice.
All emails sound like they are from a homicidal robot, so sending a cold email can be fraught.
The goal: Get someone to take some easy action to get them into your selling system. (See Step 3).
In the book: Digital Prospecting, authors Mike Jones and Ken Guest have a playbook for you. One takeaway is to remove any possibility of someone reading the horrible word "salesperson" into your subject line or body.
Simple, right? Not easy.
If you'd like to learn more, you can get a sample chapter from the book for free here.