A common issue among newer remote (inside) sales pros is that we tend to latch on to one person within a company to call on. Oh, you might do a little research and maybe even call someone else in the prospect company, but we often stick with that one guy or gal who actually took our call or replied to our email.
That's "your" guy. Or "your" gal. Right?
Even though you rationally know the importance of calling deep and wide in a prospective customer company - what's funny is that you feel somewhat loyal to YOUR contact and eventually you think you're going around them if, for example, they don't return your call or reply to your email at some point in the evolving relationship.
This is one of the TOP issues I see when meeting with an inside sales team or with individual sellers.
One reason this happens is that they seem to like you, and you don't want to stir things up by calling someone else in the company who might not be as fond of you as your other contact. You think they could even shut your efforts down. So, you stick with "your guy".
A better alternative is that you start from the beginning knowing that a complex sale has multiple decision makers so it makes perfect sense to do some looking around and contacting more than one person. You can use the power of internal leverage and let prospects know that in addition to talking with them in IT, you are also calling on the COO and CFO, for example. With some internal leverage positioned correctly you are much more likely to get a response.
How To Do It:
I like to share with potential buyers that the way I work is to talk with a number of folks in their company for several reasons - one being that I'm collecting information from different points of view. Ultimately if they would be a good key contact for the project I'm talking to them about, then I will work through them. The fact remains though, that it's clear I'll be contacting others there. They would not be surprised if they heard it from someone within their organization, and this is why setting their expectations is not just helpful, but critical for your success.
The main reason this works well is that they know that I am calling on others within their company and they won't be surprised or feel that I'm going over their head.
It's funny how territorial people can get at their job, isn't it? I have been told by people that if I "go around them" I will never get their company's business, and you may have been told that too.
That won't happen if you first let them know how you do business. You are professional, prompt, value-added, and you make connections with several people in their company because you have learned over time this is the best approach for them and for your company.
A second reason you want to call deep and wide in an account is to prevent the all-too common scenario of your connection going dark - no reply from your one contact. It is much better to be able to call one of your OTHER contacts to see if your main contact is away or working on a big project. This is a great way to glean information and insight.
Setting expectations is helpful in other aspects of selling and we'll be covering that in a future post.
Are you calling deep and wide into prospective customer accounts or are you sticking with your one contact in the company? Read the related post "30 Ways to Reach Prospects"
How is that working for you?
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2012 and 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.