Insights into a Sales Recon Mission
1. the act of reconnoitering (to inspect, observe, or survey in order to gain information for military purposes.)
2. a search made for useful military information in the field
Recently one of our veteran callers, who is working on a very challenging prospecting campaign, joked that it made her feel more like she was on some sort of intense recon mission rather than a typical cold calling campaign. The product is a software solution for the health care industry, but since the person who would make the purchasing decision for this product fluctuates in both department and title from hospital to hospital, much of her calling hours are spent just trying to figure out who she is supposed to talk to. While the nature of this campaign is somewhat atypical, the truth of the matter is much of what we do is sales reconnaissance.
At VSA, we run B2B telemarketing campaigns. We navigate our way through our clients’ target companies in order to reach the decision maker and determine whether he or she is a hot, warm or cold prospect. Many of the target companies we call are large and complex, with many different departments and gatekeepers.
1. a person in charge of a gate, usually to identify, count, supervise, etc., the traffic or flow through it
2. guardian; monitor
Decision makers are typically not the ones who answer the phone – gatekeepers do. On the more complex campaigns, our callers get bounced from one gatekeeper to the next before they ever get a hold of the decision maker. (The art of navigating through gatekeepers is a whole topic unto itself and one we’ll delve into more in a future blog.) While gatekeepers can be an obstacle or hurdle to jump over, they can also be a wealth of information and a great ally. Either way, they are an integral part of all B2B telemarketing campaigns.
As with any recon mission, it is critical to keep detailed notes of our findings. For instance, if one our callers encounters a very hostile gatekeeper, they’ll make note of it so that the next caller knows to ask for someone else. When it comes to the more complicated cold calling campaigns, the need for detailed and intelligent note taking grows exponentially.
This brings to mind a story from another of our veteran callers who was working on a different, yet equally challenging telemarketing campaign. It took a total of fifteen calls to reach the decision maker of a large corporation they were targeting. Some of these calls she made herself, but some of them were made by other team members also working on the campaign. When she finally got the decision maker on the phone, he asked her point blank how she did it. Using the notes, she went back to phone call number one and gave him a detailed description of how they had navigated the corporation to find him and get him on the phone. He was very impressed and set up an appointment with her that day to learn more about the product. Had it not been for the notes, she would have been dead in the water and all the efforts of the previous 14 phone calls would have been for nothing.
The third component to any successful sales recon mission is intelligent persistence. We qualify persistence with the word ‘intelligent’ because there is an art to that as well. We need to be persistent enough to get results without stepping over the line to annoying and intrusive. Equally as important, we need to make every phone call worth it. The record (prospect) needs to become more intelligent and sophisticated with each call we make. That is how we advance the record and move it that much further towards a qualified lead for our clients.
The last and final component of the sales recon mission is gathering intel about the prospects, i.e. qualifying the leads. This is done through asking the right types questions to determine if the prospect is interested and/or ready to buy. (This is also a topic unto itself and one which we will explore further down the line.)
Whether you’re using your own sales force to run your B2B lead generation campaign, or a company like ours to serve as an extension of your inside sales team, sales reconnaissance is the new reality of today’s business world. Recon missions are critical to the military’s success and they will be critical to your campaign’s success as well