Inside ProsperWorks: A Year in Review

3 Last Minute Ideas To Boost You Year End Fundraising

Bittersweet. That is how I feel about the approaching holidays. While this is my absolute favorite month of the year, it’s without a doubt my least favorite for sales.

Sales in December is so unpredictable. Decision makers are out of town and entire offices shut down. And the days leading up to the New Year? Stressful.

Looking back at my year, I can’t say it was perfect. I spent 2017 transitioning into a closing role, something I’m still rather junior at. Although uncertain at times, I’m confident here and appreciative of the available resources and mentorship. Recently, we had an Ask Me Anything session with a handful of Senior Account Executives. I found the advice they shared to be indispensable - it’s basically advice they wish someone told them when they were starting out.

As such, in spirit of the holidays, I want to share with you the same wisdom they shared with me. The first step toward transcendence is to ask yourself the hard questions; the ones that will actually result in action. So ask yourself these three questions and determine what kind of goals you want to set for yourself this upcoming year.

Am I effectively growing my current accounts?

Think about your discovery. Perhaps your client wanted to pilot test a group initially. If there was mention of starting small, how are you tracking this? It would be wise to keep a close watch on them. You can indicate this on the opportunity itself by creating a filterable custom field called “Upsell Potential.”

Do you ask for referrals? This is an incredibly underutilized technique for growing your pipeline. Nielson found that 92% of respondents trusted referrals from people they knew and that people are 4 times more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend. At the same time, 83% of consumers are willing to refer after having a positive experience, but only 29% actually do (Texas Tech).

Create an email template that asks for referrals and don’t be afraid to send it off when you come across a satisfied customer. The worst that could happen is that they decline or not respond – a worthy risk in my opinion.

Am I building credibility?

When was the last time you told a prospect their idea was bad or that they were making a mistake? In order to be effectively prescriptive to your customer, it’s important to position yourself as consultative. After all, they expect you to be an expert at the product or service you’re selling. If you think that this is an area for improvement, I recommend looking into mentorship from within your team. I was paired with a mentor on my first day and I know with him, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Consider utilizing automation. ProsperWorks offers a scraping tool that gathers information on contacts and companies so you don’t have to do it yourself, every time. I also recommend setting up Google Alerts and following your clients on LinkedIn. You can leverage real-time updates on what’s going on with their business as a reason to follow-up as well as earn credibility as an expert in your field. By knowing the ins and outs of the industry you’re involved in, you will always have something relevant to say and not appear to be checking in for the sake of it.

Am I leaving no stone unturned?

Starting fresh after blowing out a pipeline or bouncing back from a dry spell is no easy task. However, the main benefit of having a CRM that tracks all communication is being able to easily access it for reference. This is where filters and global search come in handy.

You can begin with pulling a report on loss reasons. What are the underlying reasons and where exactly in the sales process was the deal lost? Make note of any pattern you come across; this will help you prevent the same outcome for future deals. Better yet, how much time has past since your last conversation? It might be worth sending a quick templated email asking if they’re happy with the direction they went.

To our advantage, abandoned opportunities are a bit different. While they never said yes, they also never said no. We don’t know if it was reprioritized or the timing just wasn’t right. Apply an automated action tied to abandoned opportunities and set the due date out 30 days. This will keep the deal on your radar, with minimal effort, as you strive for closure.

Use filters and select your abandoned opportunities for a bulk email. You can also apply this same principle to cold leads that never made it to pipeline. There is a goldmine of revenue already in your CRM; it’s just a matter of using the tools you’re provided with.

Three questions. That’s all it takes to understand what you need to start, stop and continue doing.  Just keep in mind that this is a process and to not expect an overnight resolution. If sales was that easy, it would not be as rewarding! So take this time to reflect on your year. When you return from the holidays, you’ll have already taken a huge step in the right direction.

This guest post was written by ProsperWorks Account Executive Lauren Brose. You can read more from the Inside ProsperWorks series here.

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