The classic sales mistake I made so you don’t have to

Do your SDRs prospect senior decision makers whose job it is to introduce change – or into mid-level executives whose job is to execute on already decided initiatives? Can they create budget, or are they assigned a budget by someone with more authority?

Here’s my story. Read it and take the lesson for your own sales team.

I sometimes partner with a leading-edge AI predictive analytics company that helps sales organizations improve pipeline accuracy up to 99% by running really sophisticated win/loss probability scenarios.

The clients I’ve introduced them to, really value the service they provide. So I’m always keen to introduce them to people who I think would benefit from their service and will appreciate the intro. It’s my way of adding additional value to my network beyond my own New Business Sales Advisory, Consulting, Training and Coaching services.

Recently I was on LinkedIn and came across a contact of mine who I hadn’t been in touch with for quite some time – because her job title, Director of Sales Operations, isn’t usually the level I approach directly for my core business. (I sometimes work with sales ops after I have been engaged by CEOs or Sales Leaders as part of wider sales transformation initiatives and I introduce my AI partner if I think my client will benefit)

Sales/Inside Sales Leaders and SDRs! Look at the pressure your mid level “ideal” prospects are under…and why they aren’t really all that ideal…

I decided to ping this Sales Ops Director and send a note about my AI partner and how she and her sales org would benefit from having a chat with them.

Now, for those of you who know me and my approach to new business sales, which is to always start at the CEO when prospecting, you’ll have spotted how I am already violating my own rule/not eating my own dog food. And, I was aware that I was doing that, because I wasn’t really prospecting, rather I was thinking how I could be helpful to her – and if you’ve had a prior relationship and already have trust, you can sometimes overcome status quo bias.

Silly me! This wasn’t one of those times.

I could and should have predicted the outcome…

“Hey Matt, great to hear from you. Long time! This service sounds amazing, but I am completely under water and don’t have a second to devote to new initiatives. Could you reach out in 6 months?”

Now this from a person who knows me, and has done so for several years.

What do you think happens when your SDRs prospect into a mid ranking executive – VP, Director, Manager who they don’t know from Adam/Eve?

The result is lots of drudgery…7 to 15 touches over months only to get involved in drawn out conversations, long sales cycles and proposals that don’t end in a win. And it’s because you’re prospecting to the wrong people.

Research from The Chasm Group shows that 85% of budgets are assigned to “existing initiatives.” So unless you’re speaking directly to the budget-makers everyone else rarely have the bandwidth or will to take on new projects without direction from their executive team.

Your team needs to be prospecting budget creators whose focus is on growing the business and who are open to change ideas/initiatives.

So, by all means keep your SDRs or salespeople prospecting to these mid level job titles if you want an anemic pipeline, long sales cycles and low win rates. And keep asking bright, motivated (for the time being) people to exert their best efforts and energy on low probability outcomes. Drudgery is part of life. Got to “respect the grind/hustle” right? Pah! Nonsense.

Learn from my momentary misstep.

Shift your team’s prospecting focus from middle to top executives. You’ll fill your pipeline with more, better quality opportunities, far faster. I predict less stress, a better quality of life and more success  for everyone.

If you want to have a conversation and explore some ideas on how you and your team could benefit from taking an Executive Access approach to prospecting, then get in contact.

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Matt Conway

CEO & Principle at Matthew Conway
If you're a CEO or Sales Leader reading this and you want to fill your pipeline with quality opportunities, win more deals and reduce sales cycles by as much as 6x, then perhaps it's time for a chat?

If you want to learn more, feel free to email me at matt@matthewconway.com or call me on +1 647-402-2096.
Matt Conway
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