Whenever I get into a situation where my b2b sales pipeline is getting a little slow, I know it is time to begin thinking about where are my current opportunities. As I make a list of potential targets – both current customers and targeted prospects – I’m looking for the best opportunities.
Now, best opportunities actually depends upon your current level of business.
If you have little business or are new to b2b sales, then you need a strong – qualified is best – list of potential customers to focus your efforts.
If you have a current book of business and just need a pick me up of new opportunities to fill your sales pipeline, then include current customers with expansion opportunities as well as some prospects – again, targeted and qualified prospects are much better than random list of names.
Okay, back to the topic today. Your need a structure of targeted questions for each company placed on your targeted opportunity list. And, here are the best four to use…
- What do you know about a customer or prospect account currently?
You should have a checklist of important information to have on every customer and prospect in your current portfolio of accounts. Use this checklist like a pilot uses their pre-flight checklist before taking off. It has the same affect. What do you know about your accounts?
- What else do you need to learn about this account?
Again, using your checklist first – what is missing from your information sheet? Then who will you be contacting and what do you currently know about this individual within the account? Do you have a complete organizational chart of the customer’s account? Again, make a complete list of the information you need to learn and get started.
- What objective are you targeting with this account?
Here you need to create objective(s) for each account you are targeting. This is your guide for who you actually need to call upon to get the sales process started. Also, you must look at objectives relative to who will be responsible for making a decision on the objective. It is critical to understand you can be working on multiple objectives within a single account. The key is who will be making the decision? When multiple key decision makers are in play, you will have usually have multiple objectives and therefore you will work each one separately – and have different sales objectives with each different decision maker.
- What action plan will you be using to accomplish your objective?
Here is where you pull together your plan of actions. The b2b sales superstars tell me they have a step by step action plans for each sales objective. Think of each sales objective as being a sales project. Therefore the need to plot out your actions, milestone dates and who else needs to be involved to make the sales process work out for you. Action planning is a key ingredient in increasing your results and improving your b2b sales results.
There you have my preferred big four questions for establishing my opportunity plans. It is now time for you to do the same activities – for yourself.
One thing to remind you about, while these questions are the ones I use, feel free to modify them, add to the list, or create your own list of questions. The key is to use a consistent questioning model to review all your current opportunities for growing your sales results.