Prospecting Battleship (and other fun exercises)

Inside Sales, Outside Sales, Business or Sales Development – they all face one inescapable thing: the need to prospect.

 

It’s an easy rhythm to fall out of, like going to the gym or eating salads for every lunch. When this happens, you run the risk of a dry pipeline.

 

The truth of the matter is that prospecting falls to the bottom of the list in the face of demos, client meetings, and pipeline reviews. Ok… maybe not the pipeline review, but you get the point.

 

Block-Time Prospecting

More and more I’m seeing the addition of “block-time” prospecting to sales organizations. The main focus is to block out a few hours every day for reps to put their head down and do cold outreach. Here at the OppSource Sales office, we do a mid-week coordinated approach. Our sales team works together for two 3-hour sessions in which we call into 4-5 accounts on every single level we can find.

 

The results populate fairly quickly, and we can get a clear picture of the status of the account. Which city the decisions are made in, for example. When a rep smells that smoke, the whole team shifts its focus into calling to that office instead of around the country. If you’re calling into a large account, this can save weeks.

 

The call-blitz also serves as a rush of adrenaline for the pre-opportunity pipeline. When you’re prospecting, it’s easier to follow smoke trails than to wander aimlessly in the woods looking. The rest of the week can then consist of individual follow up on the leads or opportunities that come out of prospecting day.

 

Hunter Day at SnackNation

I’m not claiming that we invented block-time prospecting, because there are a plethora of companies out there doing the same thing. For instance – Kevin Dorsey, formerly of SnackNation, called it “Hunter Day” during his tenure there. This post hit my radar some months back because it illustrated a brilliantly organized and executed campaign.

 

 

What I like about this strategy is the constant drive. They start, arguably because of the PST time zone, early in the morning. You get your best work done in the first few hours of the day, so harnessing that is important. Having breaks interspersed and providing a meal in there had to help, and then the reps get to go home early.

 

What Kevin and SnackNation did here, was turn a tedious thing into something fun and competitive. The results speak for themselves – 4 accounts asking for an order form by the end of the day.

 

Battleship at Refract

Richard Smith, Co-founder, and Head of Sales at Refract, plays “Prospecting Battleship” with his team. Reps accrue different levels of points based on number of conversations, referrals, and meetings set. Whomever sinks the most battleships that day wins a prize. The best part is that implementing competitive games like this has been an overall win for his team.

 

Naturally, after Richard shared this with me, I wanted to try it with ours. The results were fantastic. Not only were more calls, referrals, and meetings set, but the team as a whole was more competitive and upbeat the entire day.

An important element was breaking the day up into manageable parts. We changed the model from our previous three-hour blocks, and broke the day out into five separate prospecting sessions, all 45 minutes long. The goal here was to make the reps more productive in a shorter amount of time. Not only was everyone making the most of their 45 minutes of time to shine, but the energy level was high all-day long.