Sales Bullpen Sales Newsletter - February 2004
Get Organized and Know your territory!I often get calls and emails from sales people who say, "I'm overwhelmed with all the things I need to do and I just don't know where to start in working my territory?" Does this sound familiar? This can especially be true if you have just been given a new territory at the beginning of the year and suddenly realize half of the first quarter is already over.
Where to start?
You need to start with yourself, first. Look at how you organize yourself to do your business. How do you keep track of your calendar? How do you track your appointments? How do keep track of your prospects, your customer contacts? Without some logical way to track all of this information, you are going to find it very hard to stay organized so that you can stay on top of your appointments, do your follow ups and keep yourself organized. In my book, Accelerate Your Sales, ÊI talk about using some kind of system or professional organizer program. Franklin-Covey, Day Timer and others offer a way log your appointments, organize your day and follow up on action items. These organizer companies offer text based training, audiotapes, videotapes and live classes on how to become a well-organized businessperson. This is what I personally use and find it to be invaluable as a way to stay organized and stay on top of my business and professional activities. These systems can also be loaded onto your laptop, PocketPC or Palm Pilot PDA devices.
You can also try and use Outlook for not only your email but also calendaring, tracking appointments, to-do items and scheduling meetings. Hewlett Packard offers some nice, elearning courses on the website which many people don't know about. If you go to www.hplearningcenter.com on the Hewlett-Packard website, you can sign up for a free elearning training class on how to use Outlook and all its features and capabilities.
I also use a personal information manager program call ACT! This software program is designed to help sales people stay organized by using templates for collecting information on your prospects and customers. It makes it easy to record all their vital information and makes it easy to set up appointment, write notes about your last conversation and schedule appointments and action items to be acted on in the future. It also comes with some sales tracking features so you can see how much business you have in your funnel and so on. There are other PIM type programs on the market, but I prefer using the ACT program from Best Software. This can also be ported to your palm pilot or pocketPC type device so that you can carry with you at all times.
Get to Know your Territory
How are you going to know what opportunities are in your territory if you don't have a systematic way to analyze your territory? If you have a geographical territory, the first thing you should do is take a map and outline your territory area so you know what it looks like and can visualize the area you cover. Next find out what established customers already exist in your territory and know where they are located in your territory. Go visit those existing customers and make sure they know whom you are and that you are there to help and support them. Existing customers are a great place to ask for referral prospects that they know who might be interested in your products. Think about a way to reward these customers who provide you with prospects. Maybe you take them to lunch or maybe you give them some company souvenirs? In any case, always make sure you thank you customers who give you leads especially if they turn into a new deal for you.
You can identify all the companies in your territory by using a service called infoUSA.com They have a list of every business in the United States and you can get a listing by area code, zip code, vertical market and so on. If you go to Google.com and do a search on sales leads or business leads, you will find a lot of companies that provide these kind of services. Don't forget to check the resources at your own company. Maybe they have a list of previous prospects, mailing lists, or other marketing campaign lists.
You should also check www.bizjournals.com and go to the tab that shows book of lists. This will take you to a service that publishes a list of the biggest companies in a particular market. They currently cover 62 major markets in the US. This will tell you which companies are in your area, head of the company, number of employees, sales info and other contact information. Don't forget to contact your local chamber of commerce or other local business organizations to find out which businesses are in your area. Use all this information to build a collection of prospects that you can call on to get an appointment.
Drive your territory
Nothing replaces driving around your territory and getting to see first hand where are the tall office buildings, what companies have offices in your area, and what new construction or businesses have moved into your territory. As you drive around your territory, stop and write down names of companies and their addresses. You can use this later to look up more information on their webpage. I describe what things to look for in my book. By knowing where prospects and customers are, its very easy for you to ask your current clients to be references for you and for you to refer to existing customers who are...right down the street or in the area. I have found that if you do a thorough job of canvassing your territory so that you know what businesses are in your territory, you will have a very good idea of the opportunity that is there for you to call on.
In summary, get yourself organized using some of the tools that already exist today. Identify your territory and the businesses located in your territory. Drive your territory looking for new businesses that have moved into your territory or are thinking about moving into your territory.
I hope these tips have been useful. If you have some other good tips, please send me an email so we can share them with everyone.
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