The looming recession, increased competition in maturing industries and tightened budgets are challenging clients to proactively build a sales pipeline.
Many companies have relied on business coming to them rather than proactively reaching out to potential customers. The business is often built around a key player who is the rainmaker (often the founder of the company). This leaves sales to mostly focus on responding to their sales team inbound activities.This leaves a huge gap in the capability and systems for outbound selling programs.
This is particularly true of technical salespeople who don’t relate to or enjoy reaching out to prospects or spending time on presales activities. Especially when their reward system does not compensate for all this work and are focused on technical sales conversions.
Following the principles of The Living Organization® framework we have developed TLO-Sales™, a holistic approach for helping companies make the transition to outbound marketing and sales.
The uniqueness of TLO approach is that it addresses the technical capability gaps in performing outbound sales activities, and the mindset required to be successful in reaching out to prospective customers. For example, many feel uncomfortable in proactively reaching out to companies because they equate it with a pushy telemarketing person selling something people don’t want.
We reframe the mindset to one where sales is about listening to people’s problems and providing possible solutions; educating people and providing them with choices. We found most people relate to this consultative way of thinking and are much more likely to take ownership and perform well in outbound activities.
This approach has worked particular well for technical people, like engineers. They are inherently problems solvers and relate well to this consultative way of thinking. This leads them to want to reach out to people to help them solve their problems and perform well in outbound activities.
Below are some of the typical steps we go through when working with customers in helping them both plan and execute on their conversion to integrating outbound sales with their existing inbound program:
Step 1. Assess the mindset, attitudes and skill level of your sales force and sales support staff. Level of Outbound Sales Maturity.
Step 2. Develop a system for presales, which includes generating leads then nurturing those leads until they are ready to be converted into customers.
Step 3. Develop a roadmap to move your sales organization from an inbound focus to a combined inbound and outbound focus. The roadmap includes the appropriate shift in mindset applicable to the client’s environment and the necessary changes in systems and structures to support the new mindset. This establishes a clear direction and aligns the team around a common approach to tackle the transformation. It also ensures that the company has a way of measuring the performance of the outbound program. It can also include the following initiatives:
a. TLO Outbound Sales Training and Coaching Program
b. Create Sales Contribution Agreements with your salespeople that allow them to develop individual ways they want to contribute to KPIs. Shift from top-down performance evaluation to coaching them to succeed in their own initiatives weekly.
c.. Change Sales Structure and Compensation to support outbound activities.
Step 4. Execute the Roadmap
a. Seek involvement, support, and alignment from all departments that are impacted by the change. Develop a common Story.
b. Consider outsourcing the part of presales activities that is not your core competency.
c. Execute in a series of sprints using near term initiatives with clear metrics and review what was learned. Adjust, improve and repeat.
d. Coach people through challenges of limiting beliefs, skills and relationships.
The shift to proactive customer outreach requires everyone in the company to shift towards being more outward focused. Don’t just rely on the sales
department. If you only rely on activities and not address limited mindsets and beliefs, it will also likely fail. This needs to be an integrated initiative at both Mindset, Relationships, Activities, Structures and System level.
Contact us for an informal conversation how we can help your organization move forward.