In the rush to get results can you forgo what is commonly referred to as “Ramp-Up” and just hit the phones, trying to get as many appointments as possible with as many random Prospects that you can find?
In Professional B2B Complex Sales, skipping Ramp-Up is as suicidal as rushing through the Discoveries process. Proper preparation before you pick up a phone for the first time is critical for creating a Professional Sales Campaign and an Organized and Balanced Prospecting Strategy.
Generally expected to take from 30 – 90 days, Ramp-Up needs to take into account and address these 3 Critical Components:
- First, we need to clearly identify what Business Challenges your products and / or services solve. As the Sales Process is not about you or your solutions, a clear understanding of this must be established at the outset of this process or we will just be spinning our wheels.
From this point, Target Lists can be effectively created. Also, at what level should we be calling? LinkedIn is a great tool for helping to identify the possible Decision Maker(s) whether it be a C-level Executive in a larger organization, or the Owner of an SMB. What person generally would have responsibility for managing this area of their business?
Another consideration would be to determine if there may be a ‘pocket’ of potential Clients experiencing similar challenges that we can potentially solve, and why? Leveraging current and potential Clients’ Verticals / Marketplaces is a very efficient and effective Strategy. We would research potential Verticals and try to find ‘trigger events’ that most Companies within the Vertical may experience that could be qualified for an opportunity. Examples of this may be M&A activity (great for Financial ERP Systems), or the explosion of Mobile Applications in the Fast Food industry.
- Now that we have identified the potential Target Market(s) we’re going to approach, we next need to determine the relevant questions to ask in order to uncover their particular business challenges / pain / goals? This will assist us in creating unique yet repeatable messaging that we will use during Prospecting designed to open up a thoughtful discussion.
White papers are great to leverage as they can depict challenges other similar companies have faced, and how they were resolved. Customer testimonials and Case Studies are very impactful if they are sufficiently relevant. Stories versus statistics are much more memorable and a good lead in to asking questions.
- Knowing that the Prospecting Stage of the Sales Cycle today requires at least 6 – 8 ‘touches’ (please see my article“Welcome to the New World of Sales”), an efficient Follow-up system needs to be put into place.
We have adopted Hubspot where many fields are automatically populated, thus saving valuable Prospecting time as the Sales Person is not forced to enter field after field of data not relevant to the Sales Cycle at this time.
What is needed at the beginning of a Sales Cycle are just the critical notes / facts for the Sales Person to easily refer to as they advance the Prospect through this Stage, such as:
- Company information (high-level) and potential contacts
- The Sales Person’s own research and possible ‘pain points’
- Who did the Sales Person reach out to, and how? Date / time?
- What verbiage / messaging was used to gain their attention into a particular area of business challenge they may be experiencing?
- Do they have a purchasing process? Is there a budget and / or time frame associated with change management?
- The result of the call / email?
- Next steps?
Once we reach the correct Contact (after about 6 – 8 touches), through relevant questioning and proper positioning we will gain credibility and be able to initiate the Qualifying / Discoveries Stage.
From there we will be able to obtain the proper data to create a realistic picture of the opportunity as continue to build the relationship. Much time will most likely need to be invested in the Qualifying / Discoveries Stage as the information obtained will form the basis of our customized Proposal / Recommendation based upon solving their ‘pain’ or challenges.
When we address these 3 Critical Components first, our probability for Success has increased exponentially as we now have an orderly process based upon the potential Client’s actual needs to manage our Prospecting and Follow-up activities effectively.
As Benjamin Franklin so correctly stated;
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Bottom line: Solid preparation in Ramp-Up is the Key to a Successful Sales Campaign.