Predictable Prospecting: How to Radically Increase Your B2B Sales Pipeline 

By Marylou Tyler & Jeremey Donovan


Part 1: TARGET

Chapter 1: Internalizing Your Competitive Position 

  • Conduct a Six-Factor analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Given the ongoing change in companies, industries, and customers, it is recommended that salespeople review and refresh their SWOT analysis at least once each quarter, if necessary. 
    • Within each SWOT component, analyze the following 6 factors to help communicate the company’s differentiated value proposition and its product(s): 
      • The 4 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, and Place): this can be a starting point for a SWOT analysis. The goal of a salesperson should not be perfection. Rather, it should be internalizing enough information to enhance the ability to convey the company’s value proposition and to help handle most objections. 
      • Reputation: This includes customers and partners reputation. For companies, “reputation is viral, persistent, and volatile.” 
      • Internal Resources: This includes financial resources, intellectual property, human capital, and physical assets. 
      • External Forces: This includes: customer factor/bargaining power of buyers, competitor factors (threat of new entrants, industry rivalry, threat of substitutes), and bargaining power of supplies. 
      • Trends: This includes social-demographic and technology. These are important external factors that affect the success of a business. 
      • VUCA: Business atmosphere marked by 4 factors: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous Occurrences.

Chapter 2: Developing an Ideal Account Profile

  • The Ideal Account Profile (IAP) includes the identification of the most desirable prospect companies to contact based on market segmentation. Three factors should be considered to create a good IAP: 
    • Firmographic: This includes your prospects’ industry, company size, and geography. (measured by revenue or number of employees)
    • Operational:This includes a prospect’s business operations that are medium- to- long term (e.g., current equipment, purchasing policy, and buying decisions) 
    • Situational: require more effort to ascertain. This includes strategic initiatives, internal capabilities or the propensity to insource or outsource, financial health, short-term executive transition, and value.  

Chapter 3: Crafting Ideal Prospect Personas 

    • Avoid defining too many personas as this would help having actionable insight to ensure shared understanding. A new client with 15 personas is recommended. The Ideal Prospect Persona (to help identify the right people) includes: 
  • Decision maker.
      • Functions: Be familiar with the language and how prospects differentiate the way they describe themselves or their job titles. 
  • Professional objectives

1- increase the productivity and engagement of sales (measured by average revenue per associate and employee retention rate). 

2- “design and deliver high-impact sales training programs”

3- “Manage a network of external training partners.”

  • Influence map: a map of those who influence decision makers. This includes: 

1- Direct influencers: (e.g., sales leaders)

2- Gatekeepers: (e.g., internal finance professionals)

3- indirect influencers: (e.g., sales operations peers)

  • Core Value Proposition and primary objections: increase productivity by helping sales persons secure more meetings with the right people: 

1- Need (Why change?)

2- Trust (Why you?)

3- Urgency ( Why now?)


Chapter 4: Crafting the Right Message 

  • Recognize the 7 different stages of the buying cycle: unaware, aware, interested, evaluating, pushase, and postpurchase. The goal of your message is to move your prospect at least one stage deeper into the buying process. 
    • Know where your prospects are (“what is their level of purchase intent?”
    • Both content and context are important to consider when crafting messages for predictable prospecting. 
  • Find the Pain: understand the pain that your prospect is facing.
    • Resources to validate prospect pain: 
      • Discussion boards (e.g., LinkedIn Groups and Quora)
      • Language: leverage the generation of key terms used in search engine optimization and search engine marketing. 
  • The compel with connect story framework: effective crafting of contents should be high context-and time-dependent. 
    • Planning: (For whom?; To do what?; in order to?; by what means?)
    • The Trigger: this includes deciding the message tone. The tone should be emotional to move prospects from “unaware” to “aware” and from “aware” to “interested”. On the other hand, the tone of your message should be rational to move your prospect from “interested” to “evaluating” and from “evaluating” to “purchasing.”
    • Incorporate the 3 Os: This includes: Obstacle (the problem a prospect is facing), Outcome (your solution to their problem), and Opportunity (your “single call to action”).  

Chapter 5: Getting Meetings Through Prospecting Camping 

  • The goal is to secure an introductory meeting with your prospect. 
  • When to add Granularity to the Sales Cycle:
    • There is no ultimate “right” or “wrong” level of granularity. But there is right or wrong for a specific sales organization.
    • The right reason to add a lead or contact status item is when the new item is important for pipeline velocity and success optimization. 
  • Building the New Queue. There are 2 groups of lead sources: inbound and outbound. 
    • Inbound leads are typically the most desirable given their exposure to salespeople’s company product (s) or recent expressed interest in solving a problem addressed by the company of the salesperson.
      • A study shows that response time for online leads is important: The odds of contacting a lead are 100 times higher in the first 5 minutes than the first 30 minutes and are 10 times higher in the first hour than other longer durations. 
    • Outbound leads can be divided into 3 types: an organization’s house list (1st best type), rented list (2nd best type), and purchased list (not recommended). 
  • Building a new Queue is a continuous process 
  • Customer referral programs typically generate higher retention rates and faster deal velocity compared to referred leads.
    • The characteristics of best referral programs: 
      • Simple and easy 
      • Transparency of the process
      • Provision of monetary and/nor non-monetary Incentives
  • Executing multitouch, multichannel prospecting campaigns: The goal of the first meeting is to determine the possibility of a good fit and set up next steps. 
    • Determine the communication channels (emails and phones are the most reliable methods).  
      • There is no magic mix or balance of communication channels. It is content dependent. Testing and iteration can help determine the most effective mix. 
      •  Multitouch is key: A study shows that 6 calls can increase the odds of making contact than a single call from mid-30% to as high as 90%. 


Chapter 6: (Dis-) Qualifying Prospects 


There are two waves of qualification: 1) Are we a fit? (AWAF) analysis; 2) Budget, authority, need, and timing (BANT) analysis. 

  • AWAF analysis: This should be completed in an initial 15-30 minute call. Avoid wasting time with poor qualified prospects who won’t buy. 
  • Use a six-slide sale presentation: 
    • Slide 1: Primary benefits of the company’s product/service
    • Slide 2: The prospects’ challenge(s)
    • Slide 3: Solutions to challenges illustrate in slide 2
    • Slide 4: “How the value from the solution will be realized through features and attributes”
    • Slide 5: an overview of the recommended configuration. 
    • Slide 6: proof that the salesperson’s company can deliver value.
  • BANT analysis: BANT (Budget, authority, need, and time frame), a most widely used framework. 



Chapter 7: Measuring and Optimizing your Pipeline 

  • Adopt a “peel-the-onion” approach to optimization. 
    • Start with sales relative to target and appointments held by a sales representative per day.
    • Consider “New-Queue-to-customer win rate and interrogate the inter-stage conversation rates to detect any problem areas”
    • “The measurement and optimization process requires a delicate balance between sales management… and sales professionals.”

Chapter 8: Leveraging the Right Tools

  • Sales tools can assist sales professionals in the process to close more deals at a faster rate. 

Chapter 9: Managing Sales Development Professionals

  • Remember to treat sales development representatives as human beings. 
  • “Compensating SDRs on midfunnel results rather than top-of-funnel activity empowers them to do what is right for prospects and for the company.”

Chapter 10: 12 Habits of Highly Successful SDRs. 

  • Focus: At macro level, focus is about setting SMART. At a micro level, focus is about removing distractions to focus on result-oriented activities. 
  • Schedule: batch prospecting activities into blocks of a minimum of 2 hours.
  • Plan: set a goal of making 20 qualified appointments per month. 
  • Delegate: Delegate a task when it’s not helpful to achieve your goals and/or if you are not qualified to complete it. 
  • Smile: Smile to make your prospects feel good.
  • Ask: be a great listener. 
  • Respond: respond to your prospects quickly to address their inquiries. 
  • Record: embrace customer relationship management tools. 
  • Persist and Personalize: tailor your communication with prospects. 
  • Expand: Never limit your business with existing customers, ask for referrals.  
  • Protect:”Guard your reputation as your most valuable selling asset.”
  • Learn: sharpening your skills in customer knowledge, product knowledge, competitive knowledge, sales process knowledge, and interpersonal skills. 

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