How much time should it take your sales team to prospect for new leads?

by Erika Cannon
[email protected]

Prospecting is not your sales team’s favorite activity. In fact, they probably hate it, and refuse to do it. After all, they’re on the sales team, not the prospecting team.

But if you don’t prospect for new leads, you won’t have anyone to sell to, will you? Therein lies the conundrum: how to get your salespeople to close deals and find new ones.

If only your employees would do what you ask them to, right?

Your sales guy does have a point. There are two types of people in sales: cold callers and closers. You want both, but sometimes can only afford one – and you want the closer, because he gets you new business. So how do you find him new leads in a haystack of prospects?

Someone at your company (or a prospecting partner) has to spend time each day working a database of companies that are new to you, or else you’ll be without new clients as soon as the current hot leads are closed. Working with an outsourced team will trim the time you need to spend prospecting, but that doesn’t mean that you give it up altogether – you need to qualify leads that are passed to you. This is because you are the expert, and very early on, your prospect needs to hear from you.

When working with a partner, dedicate 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the late afternoon to early-stage prospecting. (It will be longer if you’re working on your own.) Use that time to communicate with your list of suspects in a methodical way that either moves them forward to the next round of communication, eliminates them, or relegates them to a lower level of communication.

Sometimes – well, more accurately, most of the time – the process feels futile when people aren’t ready to talk yet. But if you keep the level of prospecting energy steady, it will begin to produce leads for your sales team to work on.


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