Which excuse is breaking down client prospecting?
If you’re not paying equal attention to the three key sales activities that move you from intro to close, you’re leaving agency growth opportunity on the table. Prospecting, marketing, and sales conversations each play their own part along the continuum of new client acquisition and each needs dedicated time, resources, and budget. Let’s take them one by one.
Prospecting is for generating interest and intriguing people enough that they want to learn more. This is the job of the producers and should be a weekly, if not daily, activity. This involves
cold calling and e-mailing, networking in-person and online, and client and center-of-influence referrals.
Agency owners use the same excuse same and again: “We don't track producer activity.” In fact, they give this excuse almost with a sense of pride. Yet, the livelihood of the agency and its team members depend on the producer producing revenue.
Marketing is a role that has the ability to play double duty: First, it supports prospecting efforts when people look you up to learn more. Second, it acts as a lead-generator over the longer term when done well with strategy, education, and consistency. Internal and external marketing team members should be leading these efforts and working in tandem with the sales team.
The marketing message needs to be the same as what potential clients hear during prospecting, and the information must make the agency so interesting, thoughtful, and compelling that they’re intrigued enough to want to have an in-person meeting. If it’s not, then it’s just time-wasting activity.
The excuse: “We don’t have a budget or anyone on the team who can manage it” doesn’t cut it. When a majority of the buying decision is made based on your marketing message, this activity has to be as required as any.
Sales conversations happen when the first two steps — prospecting and marketing — are done well. You have to generate interest and continue pulling buyers in with relevant information, preparing them for the conversation with the producer. And the message must match what they’ve heard and seen from prospecting and marketing. If it doesn’t, it feels like bait and switch and the sales conversation comes to a quick end.
If your excuse is “We don’t have a process for our sales team. We’re better when we wing it” you’re doing it wrong. When you are asking buyers to make more complex decisions than ever before, you owe them a simple path to follow to make those difficult decisions.
Give yourself a fighting chance
There are enough challenges getting first meetings and you need to give them every chance for success. Thinking that you can skip any of these steps, give any one less attention, or pass off the responsibility to someone else, and you’re simply fooling yourself and trying to justify something.
This requires a hard look at oneself. Perhaps you don’t want to hold producers accountable to regular prospecting activity. Maybe you don’t want to spend time and money on marketing.
And possibly creating a consistent sales process is overwhelming or feels unnecessary.
Each area on its own will not drive activity and growth. All three disciplines need equal attention in creating a consistent message and dedication of time, effort, and budget. Consistency builds brand recognition, increases trust with audience, and converts lookers into buyers. Set your team up for success with all the proper tools.
Whatever excuse is getting in the way of equal opportunity focus, it’s time to do some serious reflection and find the answer.