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Topics: Company News
Like many agency owners - or any business owner / manager for that matter - business development is just one of the tasks on my plate. People, job, financial and account management, training, business leadership and strategy are all easy reasons to give for not getting on with the task of generating new business. Generating a consistent pipeline of opportunities is tough, and even though I know it’s vitally important it always seems to get pushed to the back of the queue.
The sales training course I have just completed is the reason for this change. Over the past 8 weeks I’ve joined a small group of HubSpot Partner Agency owners from around Europe, on a programme run by HubSpot’s sales guru Dan Tyre, and below I’ve set out what I learned, what I changed and why it worked.
This was a key barrier to prospecting for me and underpins all the changes I’ve made, and successes I’ve had as a result of the work on the course. Instead of the cliche ‘always be closing’, the mindset is to ‘always be helping’.
By being confident that the inbound marketing and sales knowledge and experience that I have is absolutely of use to our target clients, I know that I can network, call and speak with prospects from a position of offering help, not selling. This has been a huge change for me.
In addition, we worked through and committed to paper our personal motivations for success. Having this to hand reminds me why I need to prioritise opportunity generation activity.
Defining our target clients, being able to identify their common challenges or opportunities, and to concisely describe how we can help them were all key takeaways for the preparation of a session of prospecting, or following up leads.
All of these factors add to the feeling of being in control, being useful and most importantly when you are prospecting, confidence in your ability to help those that you know are a good fit.
Having a list of prioritised warm leads removes the feeling of not knowing where to start, and in itself promotes activity. Start with those you know best, friends, family, good clients, and ask for referrals. Add inbound leads, closed lost contacts, and sourcing good fit prospects online and you shouldn’t struggle for contacts.
Armed with an ‘always be helping’ mindset, the confidence of knowing the goals and challenges I can help our target clients with, and a strong list of prospects I’m all set. Except I’d still have the tendency to bombard prospects with what I know would help them advance their businesses… whether they are ready to hear it or not.
This meant the advice and practice on conduct during the course was invaluable. As simple as it sounds, once put into practice the results are much more effective and enjoyable conversations. Smile, breathe, pause. Seriously it works.
There were some practical things I did to allow the time to concentrate on really improving my prospecting skills.
Committing to the programme and blocking out time everyday to make calls and follow up leads, coupled with delegating some day-to-day tasks and the support and skill of the team at Breckenridge meant I could be consistent in my approach. This resulted not only in me managing to hit my activity goals but also getting improved results from the effort.
I’ve also been much more disciplined with recording my activity, setting follow up calls or tasks and prioritising leads. The use of the HubSpot CRM has allowed me to do this, and with the addition of the Sales Pro tools such as notifications, templates and sequences my activity is super efficient.
Feeling the benefits:
The biggest change has been how I viewed prospecting, my confidence in adding value and my focus on the right type of activity at the right level for me. Together with business development being diarised daily I’ve already seen a doubling of pipeline activity and not only can tell you what my sales pipeline looks like today, but also what it is likely to look like next month, too. The positive benefits to the business of being able to forecast are immense.
This course worked for me due to five things:
Dan Tyre - this man is a dynamo. Joining us on calls from Arizona at 6am his time, his enthusiasm is infectious and his knowledge unrivalled.
The support and pressure from the rest of the group on the course. The key moment here was during the second week on the course, one of my peers joined the call from his holiday in Morocco having still been making time to prospect from holiday. What commitment! I realised at that point if I didn’t give this everything I wasn’t just letting myself down but the rest of the group. Telling others what you are going to do so you can be held accountable is so powerful.
Our HubSpot account manager Kieran O’Connor. As a business I couldn’t imagine a better partner than HubSpot and the team that work with agencies is absolutely top notch both in terms of their commitment to our success and the quality of people.
The support and skill of the team at Breckenridge to allow me the time to concentrate on business development.
If it can work for me, it can work for any business development or sales rep charged with generating a consistent pipeline of opportunities. If you’d like to know more about planning and executing an effective inbound sales programme please contact me directly at email@example.com or on 023 8043 3348.