November 18th, 2013 | by
2 min read

By Steve Richard of Vorsight

I was talking with a VP of Sales for a Security Training company in PA last week.  As the conversation progressed he said, “Steve, are you telling me my team is bad at prospecting?”  In the nicest possible way I said yes.

Prospecting today is different than it was even five years ago.  And it’s not because of the often cited, “xx% of the decision is made before you get to talk to the prospect.”  For more debunking of this tired statistic, see this excellent article by Matt Bertuzzi called Pay No Attention to the All Powerful Buyer.

The biggest change in prospecting isn’t that the buyer has access to more information…it’s that the seller has access to more information.  You would think this would be a good thing.  It definitely can, but have you sat with a salesperson recently to see how they are handling the deluge of information?

Our research shows that the vast majority of salespeople have trouble understanding:

  • What info they are looking for
  • Where to find that information
  • How to find that info fast
  • Why certain information is relevant and other isn’t
  • How to synthesize the information
  • How to use the information in a business context to get buyers to take action

Back to the VP of Sales.  Through a few probing questions I learned that his team has no idea which categories of information they need to have when prospecting.  By not knowing these, his team is leaving money on the table.

They were unaware of the power of:

  • Job changes – when your prospects are promoted or your customers take jobs at new companies, there is a window of time where they are more likely to buy
  • Systems currently in place – by knowing what processes and systems a prospect is using, you can tailor your message to increase the probability of a yes
  • Direct lines – Vorsight’s research indicates that VP & C-level executives are 147.83% more likely to answer a call to their direct phone number than through the switchboard

The sad truth is that most salespeople are totally overwhelmed and not maximizing the use of information for better prospecting results.

Even if this sales team had this information (by using a source like DiscoverOrg for example), they still would have no idea what to do with it.  Think about it.  When is the last time you received a half-way tailored sales email from someone who demonstrated that they knew a little bit about you?  It just doesn’t happen.  Salespeople these days are spraying and praying.  The most successful sales reps can take information like the above and weave it into their messaging to create a tailored experience for the prospect – an experience that is much more likely to end in an opportunity and sale.

My advice to the Sales VP?

  1. Give your team the information through a paid tool like DiscoverOrg and show them how to use free sources like Google and LinkedIn in a hyper-efficient manner as well
  2. Explain why it is important to use this information to work smarter and not harder
  3. Teach them how to use the information in emails and conversations to drive more opportunities

Learn the value of paid information tools from actual users of DiscoverOrg with our FREE webinar Tuesday, November 19 at 10:00 AM PST/1:00pm EST Top Producers Share Their Sales Strategies- How They Stay Ahead with DiscoverOrg

About the author

Henry Schuck

Henry Schuck is the CEO of DiscoverOrg, a 7-time Fortune 5000 company, which he co-founded at the age of 23. He has extensive experience managing the sales and marketing activities of fast-growing information technology data companies.