The Number One Productivity Killer in Prospecting By Pat Ryan

Posted on Sep 25, 2012 in Archive

Your annual sales and marketing plan is your road map for the year. A critical factor in determining whether your plan will be successful – and whether you will achieve your annual goals – will be how productive you and your team are at PROSPECTING.

When it comes to prospecting within corporate training, e-learning and talent management, we have seen companies make many mistakes and missteps. But, there is one common mistake topping the list of productivity killers that:

  • Wastes 75% of prospecting time, and
  • Deflates Return-On-Investment of prospecting dollars

It has been said, “If you’re looking for a sunset, you better not be looking east!”  Yet, we have seen many organizations “going east” with their prospecting efforts!

Let’s talk about this list-topping mistake we see all the time. First, a statement of the obvious – many times obviously overlooked:  If you are selling specifically to corporate training, you should target the person making the buying decisions for corporate training! Similarly, when selling to talent management, you should target the person making the buying decisions for talent management, and so on.

HOWEVER, this common sense, simple strategy eludes many companies. Instead, they aim their campaigns at the VP of Human Resources. So, why is that?

NOT because they want to reach the VP of HR, and
NOT because the VP of HR is their buyer.

Rather, it is the most common target because it appears to be the least expensive, easiest information to get. Isn’t that the wrong reason to target them? Absolutely.

A more important question: Is it really the least expensive way to reach the decision makers you seek?

Years of experience in this subject tells us that in the vast majority of the cases, the VP of HR is NOT the person making the training decisions – someone else is. So, wouldn’t it make more sense to target your campaigns at that someone else instead?? Sure, in the much smaller companies, the VP of HR and the Director of Training may possibly be the same person. But this is not the case in larger companies – and even smaller companies often have two separate individuals handling these roles today.

Bottom line: Attempting to sell to corporate training or talent management by inappropriately AIMING at the VP of HR is a lot more expensive than it appears to be.

See below for examples:

When Emailing
Sending your email to the VP of HR means you have to HOPE that he/she forwards it to the person making the decisions for training. You can increase your “click rate” dramatically when you send your message DIRECTLY to the right person!

Reality: Using a “pre-drilled-down” list will bring you DIRECTLY to the decision maker. This strategy alone has increased click-through rates from only .5% to nearly 18% for some!

When Direct Mailing
Like when emailing, sending your direct mail to the VP of HR means you are counting on that person to forward it to the right person!

Reality: Your message will NOT reach the decision maker in most cases – and your dollars are wasted. Some will forward it – but most won’t. Moral: Unless you use the right list, most of your direct mail never reaches your potential buyer!

When Cold Calling
How much time is being wasted LOOKING FOR the decision maker? We know the answer. We have been prospecting in corporate training and talent management for many years. Originally, we too, would call at the VP of HR level. Eventually, we saw a wasteful and inefficient pattern because we spent:

  • 75% of our time looking for the RIGHT person – and
  • Only 25% of our time actually speaking with the RIGHT person

Time is money – and this is certainly true for your staff. It is shocking the amount of time that is spent sitting on hold, bouncing from one person to the next, listening to large HR voice mail menus, etc.

Reality: Your staff is likely wasting 75% of their prospecting time. BUT, if you arm them with the appropriate list, you will be giving them a direct connection to the person spearheading new initiatives… The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, right? So why not give your sales staff the right list in the first place? 

The Bottom Line
The best way to reach corporate training, e-learning or talent management decision makers efficiently, quickly and least expensively is to SUB OUT the “grunt work” required to find the decision makers. The time it takes to “drill down” finding decision makers (75% of typical cold-calling time) is a colossal waste of your staff’s time — especially when a best-of-breed vendor (MTG) is already doing that work for you.

Mentor Tech Group maintains a built-from-scratch list of corporate training, e-learning and talent management decision makers.  Every piece of information in our database was compiled as a result of one of our Prospect Development Specialists having a personal conversation with the decision makers you seek!

To start saving money, please call us today at (651) 457-8600.

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