June 1, 2015 1:00:00 PM
- Do prospects know who you are and what your company does?
- Do these same prospects wake up in the morning saying, “I need to call (your company) and buy one of these today?”
- Are these same prospects likely to have the business issues and pains that your solution routinely solves, whether they consciously acknowledge it or not?
If you answered “no”, “no” and “yes”, then please keep reading.
In most sales and sales development organizations, there is a great emphasis on getting appointments and often times, qualified appointments. At first it sounds really appealing. The field rep says, “Just get me an appointment. I can handle it from there.”
The scenario may play out as follows: the field rep gets appointments, but the appointments don’t turn into real sales opportunities. This leads to finger pointing between the sales team and the sales development team. So the field changes the requirement and says, “What we really need are qualified appointments.”
In response, the sales development team does just that. They work really hard and to get “qualified appointments”. They get a few, but the problem is now; a “few” is not nearly enough to feed the sales team. What that means is two teams that should be working together are now frustrated with each other, and it ultimately means difficulty for the company to meet aggressive revenue targets. It’s a vicious, non-productive cycle.
So, how do you prevent this from happening in your organization?
Indulge me for a moment.
Suppose you are embarking on an out-of-town business trip. You battle traffic to the airport, park your car, traverse your way through security and head to the gate. It’s boarding time and the gate agent calls your zone. You scan your boarding pass and it makes a funny sound. The gate agent smiles and says to you, “Congratulations! You are our one-millionth flyer! As a reward, you may sit anywhere on the plane. And, by the way, the VP of your top prospect account, Joe Smith, is sitting in seat 1A.”
What seat would you choose? Of course it would be 1B.
Now, if I told you that Joe Smith knew you were going to sit next to him – and expected you to talk about how your solution can help his business, would you even pay extra to sit in that seat? I am sure you would.
If this situation were to happen one time, that would be a pretty good day — it were to happen 3-4 (or more) times per month for each of your sales reps, that would be game changing.
So let me ask this question. Are these the types of appointments you want? If so, what do we call it? It’s not “BANT qualified” because we you don’t know if Joe has budget, authority, need or a timetable to buy.
At FRONTLINE Selling, this type of appointment is what we call a Meaningful Interaction™ or MI™ for short. The definition of an MI is a scheduled conversation with a targeted key player, from an ideal client profile account who comes to the call/meeting genuinely interested in learning about your solution.
The operative phrase in the definition is genuinely interested.
How do you know if you should be pursuing appointments or Meaningful Interactions? Let’s go back to the beginning. If people don’t know who you are and don’t wake up saying, “I need to buy one of these today,” — then the argument can be made that a ‘qualified’ appointment does not exist. Asking your team to provide qualified appointments when the market space or evolution of your solution hasn’t matured could be a recipe for failure.