Being an account manager, or a business owner, for that matter, is like being a master juggler – up in the air on any given day are dozens of details on a to-do list that spans customer calls, billing, paperwork, dozens of emails, and meetings, meetings, meetings.
It’s hard to fit business development into those busy days.
Hard, but not impossible.
Hard, but necessary.
Hard, but critical.
Putting all your eggs in your current customer baskets is risky business. Ask any seasoned sales veteran and they’ll offer up a story about how they got burned because they didn’t spread their risk and they let up on the gas in building a pipeline.
Yes, you know you need to be working on developing your next opportunities, but doing it is another story.
This is a battle I fought in my days as an Account Executive and have been coaching sellers through over the last 5 years. It takes a lot of discipline to designate time for generating leads and pursuing opportunities. I’ve tried every tip, trick, and hack to make this priority stick. Scheduling, planning, and intentions . . . don’t always translate to execution when you’re weighing a limited amount of time to perform activities with an unknown future payout – against customers paying your commission right here and now.
So, here’s what I’ve figured out along the way . . . business development is hard, and when we know we always have to do it – it’s easier to put off. I’ve done this myself and seen dozens of my sellers do this: Schedule time for prospecting – only to blow it off or move it to the next week because you know you’re (probably) not going to see immediate results today. “What’s one more week, right?”
With no end date, no guarantee of successful outcomes, pursuing new business is a priority that we find easy to push off.
Here’s your changeup. Stop thinking of prospecting, lead generation, and development as that never-ending chore that you have to do. I had tremendous success using an alternative method and I’m finding my sales pros that I’m coaching have both a mindset shift and increased results when they started executing “Micro Sales Campaigns.”
What is a Micro Sales Campaign?
Micro Sales Campaigns are concentrated efforts to develop new business with a narrow focus and specific time frame.
Changing up the target, the strategy, and the execution takes the monotony and tedium out of continuous prospecting and cold calling. Also, the deeper you segment your audiences, the higher your conversions. When you focus your energies and resources on a specific niche your communication and expertise drive those opportunities further and faster than with general messages or broad strategies.
Key components of driving a Micro Sales Campaign:
- Narrow focus
- Specific reason
- Defined time frame (2 weeks, 1 month, 1 quarter)
Here are some examples of development campaigns you can run:
- Stalled deals – call to determine where they are in the process or disqualify
- Referrals – asking existing customers to make introductions to qualified leads
- Lather, Rinse, Repeat – replicating successful clients
- Conference Connections – re-connect with leads from networking
- Social bridges – select connections to build relationships and move offline
- Targeted industries/groups/associations – saturate one category at a time
- Previous clients – reaching out to a group with prior experience of your organization
- Expiring contracts – pre-emptive discussions about future business
Like any type of prospecting and business development, preparation is key to making this work. Before running a Micro Sales Campaign, take this simple 3 step approach: Plan it, Organize it, Execute it.
- Who are we going to focus on?
- Why are we reaching out – what value do we have to offer or discuss?
- What research and resources do we need to be effective and relevant during calls and follow-up?
- Who will be responsible for contributing and executing the campaign?
- Build out time on your calendar for research and execution.
- Clear a path with your existing workload and customers.
- Request or create any visuals or materials.
- Create your email templates, prompts, and follow-up sequences.
- Double down and do it. No excuses. Don’t push it off. Execute from start to finish.
If you’re tired of that nagging guilt that eats at you because you keep pushing off filling up your pipeline, take a different approach with these Micro Sales Campaigns. These can be effective as an individual or as a sales teams’ focus. You can run a new campaign every month or every quarter and the real bonus is that when you see more results from your efforts, you’ll be fired up to do it again. Closing more business quickly makes selling fun!
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!