When training to tackle Mount Everest, the mountaineering advice is never "buy out REI and get on the next plane to Tibet.” Instead, you are encouraged to train up to your goal, focus on what personal success looks like, and create a plan of small steps to accomplish your big goal.
Similarly, when you're taking account executive (AE) prospecting skills from a B+ to an A+, you can't depend on a tech stack and the playbook to get them there. Instead, you have to:
- Hire good people
- Create good processes
- And then deploy good technology
Good tech can't solve a hiring and process problem, so start with a solid foundation.
To that end, let’s dive into three major areas to address so that your AEs can go from good to great prospectors.
Provide a Clear Definition of Success
You can find a good prospecting motion by working backward from the goal at hand. Let’s take a look at an example:
- If the goal is to drive revenue, you can break success into pieces, such as finding out how many meetings need to be booked to get a qualified opportunity each week.
- Figure out how to make this happen by tracking the right metrics, such as the number of phone calls or emails that need to be made each day.
- To find out what these numbers are, look at weekly trends for every single rep by using dashboards and data collecting software.
By breaking down each problem into smaller problems, you work toward meeting the primary goal.
At this point, you might be asking yourself:
Aren’t leads supposed to be sent to AEs? Yes. But also, successful AEs understand they need to generate leads alongside the prospects sent down their pipeline. In other words, AEs need to care enough about their pipelines to understand their role in the process.
That said, an AE’s day is busy, so they must set aside time on their calendar dedicated to prospecting. Some sales leaders believe that at least 35 percent of an AE’s time should be spent prospecting, regardless of an organization’s maturity level.
Establish the Metrics That Track Success
When establishing metrics that track prospecting goals, start with the basics, such as number of phone calls or emails sent. For all sales organizations, these metrics are part of measuring success.
Once these metrics are set, dig a bit deeper. Make sure that:
- Activity is made on the right personas
- Target accounts are attacked from different angles (i.e., multiple contacts touched)
Although some of these habits will come naturally to certain reps, pulling numbers from these metrics helps train the team and establish prospecting goals. When it comes to onboarding, prospecting goals get new reps moving and avoid analysis paralysis. Rather than asking, “how’s the conversation going to go?” they know they need to meet a certain number.
Dig into Subjective Data
Many of the answers lie in the data. However, if the pipeline and the bookings aren’t there, you have the opportunity to dig into some subjective data. You can do this by:
- Reviewing calls and trying to understand what is being said.
- Seeing if the rep is speaking to the wrong persona.
- Identifying the best times or days for prospecting calls.
The numbers might be there, but the messaging could be off. The same goes for the opposite: A rep’s numbers might be off compared to the standard, but they could have a better success rate than other reps.
Reevaluate the Process
The fluidity of the sales process requires set standards to be reevaluated from time to time.
Every week, evaluate the numbers to see where reps are accomplishing goals and where they are not. This can help you determine which behaviors need to change to get back on track or stay on track to meet a monthly or quarterly number.
You can do the same thing for annual goals by evaluating the numbers and asking the right questions, including:
- Are reps hitting their goals?
- Is enough pipeline being created?
- Are the necessary leading indicators for success occurring?
- Are the target accounts the right accounts?
Even if the answer to each question is “yes,” it’s still healthy to evaluate the process.
Take Prospecting from Good to Great with Atrium
Evaluating goals and determining prospecting success can only be done by collecting the right data. And you can’t track data without a data-driven sales management platform like Atrium.
Need to know if enough prospecting calls are made or emails sent? Atrium provides this information for individual reps, allowing you to compare it with the rest of the team and establish the right goals.
Want to dig a bit deeper and discover how to take AE prospecting from good to great? Check out this video.