The breadth of options for B2B outbound prospecting continues to expand, providing sales professionals more opportunities to engage with potential buyers. There’s email, social media, face-to-face networking, texting, video chats, chance encounters and, of course, the phone. Having all these options, doesn’t matter if they aren’t used properly, and often, though.
We frequently talk about best practices for prospecting, from identifying decision makers to creating a multi-channel sales cadence. Equally important is knowing how long to continue the outreach.
This month, ValueSelling Associates will release the results of a survey of 160 sales professionals across a wide variety of industries reflecting the realities of outbound prospecting. In a nutshell: It’s taking longer, on average, to get that initial meeting.
In that survey, which we conducted over the summer with the media company behind Selling Power magazine, we asked how many attempts it now takes to hear back from a target prospect. Close to 55% said it took from six to ten touches, even 11 or more touches to set up a meeting.
This data is backed up by other outside research showing it now takes up to eight emails to get a response and more than 11 phone calls to connect. That’s a significant investment of time and requires tenacity, discipline and determination.
Another interesting survey reveals how much time sales reps actually spend on prospecting. Less than half of the sales reps surveyed devoted 9 hours or more. For some perspective, our ValueSelling clients say reps ideally should spend 10 hours weekly, on proactive prospecting.
Daily, high performers affirm their commitment to the entire sales process by doing their research, rigorously qualifying opportunities, seeking referrals and introductions and, yes, conducting a decent amount of cold calling. They don’t just stay busy, they stay focused. They understand what needs to be done to land a meeting and are willing to do it, not just check off items on a to-do list and call it a day.
This is a critical component of time management. We all are busy and can easily fill our days with activities. It’s how those activities are prioritized and how much time is devoted to them that distinguishes the well-organized from the others. They also know it takes consistency and persistence for prospecting to be successful. In turn, not only are high performers more comfortable with all facets of finding leads, they also are patient in pursuing that magic “touch” to gets a person to respond.
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Relevant topic? Sign up for our next webinar, Thursday, October 18 at 10 AM PDT: From the Front Lines: B2B Prospecting Challenges.