One of the easiest and most successful processes to increase business-to-business sales is to simply separate what’s normally called selling into two parts: Prospecting and selling, which I define as:

  1. Prospecting: Finding someone who wants to talk to you.
  2. Selling: Convincing a prospect to do business with you.

Let’s look at the two sequentially:
1. Prospecting:

  • Understand your market
  • Determine your competitive advantage(s)
  • Set your strategy
  • Determine segments of potential purchasers
  • Find individual potential purchasers within the most promising segments
  • Prioritize
  • Make contact and determine interest
    • Sell the benefit of the meeting without asking for the order
  • Document using a CRM system and communicate to the selling team

2. Selling:

  • Learn about the prospect
  • Engage the prospect
  • Tailor the offering to the prospect
    • Repeat the learn-engage-tailor sequence as often as necessary

To make this work, you’ll need two or even three teams.

  1. The first team is more analytical and strategic.
  2. The second team does the actual engagement and selling.
  3. If you are big enough, you might even have a third team which is transitional, making the initial prospecting contacts and learning how your product or service helps them accomplish their objectives.

It’s usually best to have the teams report to the same executive to reduce inter-group finger pointing.

About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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