We’ve just entered the 2020s, and for the last two months, we’ve been fielding calls from companies planning their 2020 kickoffs and sales training. As we dove into their existing sales processes and methodologies, we’ve found that many of these processes and methodologies have been acquired from third-party sales training companies like Sandler, Corporate Visions, or MEDDIC. But none of them are addressing the problem that they need to solve in 2020 – creating more pipeline.

Their pipeline coverages are anemic. They don’t have the classic 3-1 or 4-1 ratios of pipeline coverage. Instead, they’re running a 1-1 meeting – so if they don’t close every deal that they’ve got an opportunity for in 2020, they’re going to be at a loss.

There are so many factors that can contribute to an anemic pipeline:

1. A new crop of sellers coming into the business who haven’t been classically trained in prospecting. This is typically the millennial generation.

2. There’s an entire crop of sellers – 50% or more – that are over 40-45 years old and haven’t prospected effectively in a decade. They’re running the same playbooks from 1997 and 2002.

3. A sales leadership team that haven’t been effective prospectors in quite some time, so they don’t even know how to coach towards it.

4. Caveat Venditor – this means that a buyer is evolving at a much faster speed than the seller. The buyer is digitally savvy and can acquire information at a moment’s notice, while the sellers are still playing the same bag of tricks from 10- 15 years ago.

So, what are you going to do about this?

You’re going to need an actual sales prospecting methodology. Here’s the first test I want you do – I want you to look at your sales process map or methodology, and look at the start line of where it all begins. I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that it’s starting at the assumption of a lead. The process will talk about preparing for the discovery call, or getting prepared for your key account plan with key stakeholders, your SWOT analysis, and so forth. But the fundamental problem is that this assumes you actually have a lead.

Every sales training company is talking about how to help you run better discovery calls, better negotiation plans – better, better, better – on the assumption that you know how to create your own opportunities.

Instead, you need to think about how you’re going to take a seller’s Total Addressable Market, and identify where your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats lie within that TAM. Which accounts should you be focusing on? Which accounts have a quick velocity – instead of looking at an account for eight months and it going nowhere in 2020?

Selecting and activating those accounts is completely void in sales training methodologies. You’re going to think through how to add on new intellectual property and skills and capabilities to your existing sales process that are rooted in prospecting.

You can either build it yourself or think of acquiring this knowledge, and really focus on acquiring prospect-only sales training methodologies. You don’t want something that is jack-of-all-trades. expert in nothing; it must do one thing and one thing only – open net new doors.

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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