Acquiring new business is the goal of every sales team. Yes, there is a sales process. Yes, there is your corporate culture’s “system.” Yes, there are sales tools, like your CRM system, from which your sales process is enabled . Just “what” that goal ends up looking like, however, can be extremely variable in spite of these standardized methods and tools.
Why the variability? Each sales year doesn’t end up looking quite like the last one, does it? If it did, sales and selling simply boils down to a rote, repeatable process: you know, wash, rinse, repeat. There’s no challenge in that.
How curious, inquisitive and excited are you to be prospecting the companies on your leads list? The more interested you are in the customers you prospect, the greater your chances of engaging them. The
answer to that question may “lead” you to greater awareness in developing an effective and successful customer acquisition process that holds your interest as well as your customer’s.
Think of yourself as a sales innovator. You are bringing a new twist to your sales methods. You are open to learning something new from each prospect. You end up differentiating yourself to buyers, instead of just another status quo seller. Most importantly, you look forward to each sales campaign with renewed enthusiasm for what it’s going to teach you about yourself.
Here are 3 Tips for being more innovative in your customer acquisition activities.
1. Become engaged in your prospect’s context.
Trigger events usually have really large contexts. If you find out that Company X is moving to larger office spaces, consider what situation prompted that move in the first place. Was the move in response to a competitor entering the region, to a merger and acquisition which increased company size, or perhaps in response to a new product or service offering requiring more space so your customer can become more competitive? Here are three different scenarios which are not addressed by a “one size fits all” sales solution. Use your creativity, and innovation, in considering solutions for your prospects’ context.
2. Think more strategically.
If your company has mandated that the average close for a sale is 60 days, you end up prospecting companies that will close within your company’s time frame. Would you call 60 days strategic thinking? Neither would I. You end up ignoring companies that have a buying cycle longer than 60 days. If you want to create an account base of loyal and retained customers, think strategically. Their larger business contexts allow you to be innovative. How can you leverage small tactical closes throughout your sales year that provide forward strategic momentum in meeting your customers’ business goals?
3. Create a support strategy for new customers.
Instead of leaving new customers to the Customer Service department post-sale, think about maintaining your touch with that customer throughout the duration of each contract. You will end up learning far more about that customer than you did in your initial selling experience. The relationship you build and sustain may result in defining new, and larger, opportunities for the future. Once your own sales vision matches your customer’s strategic vision, you provide innovative and sustainable solutions as a partner instead of pigeon-holed as your company’s local sales rep.
Work towards regarding yourself a sales innovator, rather than an order-taker. You will end up prospecting customers who bring value to you as you work towards developing domain area expertise in an industry or regional vertical. You will scrutinize leads lists differently, looking for longer term potential in building your business portfolio as well.
The result? You become a sales innovator and your customers’ go-to person vs yet another status quo seller.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, catalyzes revenue-producing business transition, startup growth and professional development. This article first appeared in the Jan 17, 2014 Salesforce Blog and is reproduced with this author’s permission.