However, curating poor prospecting habits really clogs up an industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sales pipeline. The complex selling process already is tough enough.
Why make things harder on yourself?
Now, all of us have been guilty of unproductive prospecting at one time or another (or more frequently, unfortunately). I know was, early on in my career.
We charge off at the start of each sales quarter. Jazzed up by the kickoff meeting. Motivated by sales contests.
We prospect anything and anyone that vaguely resembles a potential client. As the saying goes: “When you sell IIoT hammers, everything looks like an IIoT nail.”
Sales management breathes down our necks. How many prospecting calls have we made? What’s the number of appointments we set? Is this customer ready to buy?
Our IIoT sales pipeline fills up due to indiscriminate and unproductive prospecting practices. Our focus? The first sale. We lose sight of the strategic value of fulfilling a rock-solid IIoT customer retention strategy.
Instead, we revert to lizard brain sales strategy: trying to preserve our tenure on the sales team throughout each quarter.
By the end of each quarter, we are no closer to closing the first sale than we were at the beginning. However, our pipeline looks good to our managers. And our CRM is filling up with juicy-looking prospects.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
STOP! Break this cycle. Let’s have a chat, shall we?
The longer you practice unproductive IIoT prospecting, the more ingrained the habit becomes. In fact, unproductive prospecting becomes your norm. And that is not a norm I want you to retain, my friend.
Copy, paste and tweet this: There is no place for lizard brains within the relentless pace of complex selling into IIoT environments! @babettetenhaken
Because what happens during the next quarter and each subsequent quarter is that you only return to your portfolio of unproductive prospects. You convince yourself that you can close the sale this quarter. Except that the prospect is even less inclined to purchase than they were originally.
Pretty soon, your entire IIoT sales pipeline is full of – yup, you guessed it – unproductive prospects from the previous quarters (or even previous sales years).
As a result, you do not target fresh opportunities. You shortchange yourself over the long haul.
The same holds true for you IT and engineering types. You don’t get a free pass out of this discussion.
You only are comfortable calling peers at other engineering companies. Or you spend your entire day downloading and completing RFQs or RFPs (requests for quote or proposal).
From your perspective, this process represents the only type of “selling” you want to do. As a result, you repeat and reinforce the unproductive habit over and over and over again.
Congratulations! You have become an IIoT RFQ form-filler, not a seller.
As a result, your unproductive IIoT prospecting habits eventually earn your company the reputation of being an RFQ-mill instead of a provider of high-quality IIoT engineered solutions. Plus, now there are not enough hours in the day to fill in forms and complete your engineering duties. Ouch!
Alternatively, you are a sales engineer continuously called to demo to customers who are nowhere near purchase. Your time and talent are squandered in unproductive pursuit of unqualified buyers.
You become a demo jock! You are so focused on putting the IIoT product or platform through its paces that you and the sales rep ignore all the signs that the client is dis-engaged.
Consequently, you lose the ability to identify opportunities to create enduring engineering and IT outcomes for customers who would love to work with you and your organization.
Save yourself from unproductive IIoT prospecting habits.
In my IIoT Business Development Playbook, prospecting represents execution of IIoT customer retention strategy. Are you distracted, if not obsessed, with executing tactical processes instead?
Take an honest look at your current sales and project pipeline. Ask yourself two critical questions:
- Do you reinforce unproductive IIoT prospecting habits?
- Or do you target clients who would love to work with you?
Understanding this important difference impacts your future business outcomes. Isn’t it time to continuously Hit the IIoT Nail on the Head?
Take the next steps.
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Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Image author: mbongo Image source: Fotolia