Prospecting for “Strategic Selling”

Posted by Mike Scher June 9, 2015 2:30:00 PM  Over the past 30 years, Strategic Selling by Miller-Heiman has been the most popular methodology for Enterprise sales reps and helping them navigate high-value, complex selling situations. “Blue Sheeting” an opportunity has become a verb in many sales organizations as companies implement this venerable approach to strategizing and winning large sales opportunities.

Once a rep is involved in a sales cycle, Miller-Heiman strategic selling will help you navigate the waters and provide a sales manager and his or her sales team with a common language about how to strategize and win.

While sales people have become adept at the principles of Strategic Selling, what happens if you don’t have enough sales opportunities to Blue Sheet? How do you get more deals in the funnel?

We’ve seen a lot of organizations adopt an amazing amount of scrutiny and discipline in the sales cycle, yet they struggle to gain that same level of efficacy with their pipeline sales efforts.

The key to successful prospecting for Strategic Selling opportunities starts with segregating prospecting from selling and focusing on the business value (and not the feature/function) of your solution. Most sales people think they have to “sell” their way into an appointment.  What they don’t realize is by looking at strategic prospecting strictly as finding the right person who cares about the underlying business problem you solve and getting the attention of that person, then you can set up a forum for meaningful exchange (a sales appointment).

We are big fans of Strategic Selling and use the principles every day in our selling, but not in our prospecting. A common mistake folks make in prospecting is they focus way much on simplistic, activity- based metrics like dials, connects, phone time and conversion percentages. There are more appropriate leading indicators (like contacts per account, touches per task and touches per contact) that align much better to the multi-influencer sales process inherent in Strategic Selling.

After studying 1.8 million prospecting outreach efforts a multi-touch approach is the most effective model for getting more first appointments.   While this isn’t a surprise to most, the data also shows that the certain combination of touches in certain frequencies and intervals are critical.

The first step, however, is separating prospecting from selling.   If you are going to get that critical, first meaningful conversation you need to focus on just that….getting an appointment. There is a time and place to prospect, and a separate time and place to do your Strategic Selling.

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