Recently I had the opportunity to attend a conference populated with C-Level executives. Their company size ranged from $20M to $1B+. I was fortunate to be able to interview 10 executives on the subject of sales and how they prefer to be contacted/engaged by sales people. The answers themselves were not overly surprising but the consistency of the answers gave me the idea to write this post.
100% of the executives said that they engage a new vendor/partner through referral as much as possible. When they have a specific need, their first action is to reach out to their own network and ask their peers for a recommendation on who to contact. If they cannot get a good referral, they will respond to a sales overture BUT ONLY if the sales contact is recent and relevant.
None of this information is earth shattering to those of us who have made a career of B2B sales. It is always in our best interest to be referred into a new client. When this happens, our chances of success are dramatically higher. But, when we do not have the luxury of a referral, how do we have our sales teams provide consistent and relevant information to all of the potential prospects that we are targeting? Enter the Sales Carousel.
As the name implies, the Sales Carousel is a method of contacting prospects on a regular and systematic basis. The added beauty of the sales carousel is that, once in motion, it becomes a daily habit that is easy for all salespeople to execute. One of my contacts recently stated that “I have had this particular prospect in my Carouselfor 10 months with no response; he just signed up for a $100K contract!” We all have these types of stories and we would all like to have more of them! Tying this anecdote back to the 10 executives interviewed; at a certain point the information provided to the prospect was relevant and recent, so he took action.
What is the Sales Carousel? It is a simple method of grouping your prospects into categories such as:
- Active: contact 1/week. .
- Working: contact 1/month
- Nurture: contact 1/quarter.
A prospect can move from one Carousel category to another as their needs dictate. With CRM software or simple email scheduling, the salesperson schedules her carousel contacts every morning. Like compound interest, this takes very little time per day, but can yield great results over the long term. Carousel messages should follow a simple template with a piece of specific information that is relevant to the client. Templates are easy to create within email or third party programs.
Embedding the Sales Carousel into your team’s sales process will definitely yield results over the long term. An added benefit to the sales leader is that the Sales Carousel activities are simple and easy to measure; allowing for additional coaching opportunities.Share