“If you don’t have that luxury and you’re going to have to mostly push to perform well. Think of the pull opportunities as gravy and do the work up-front to know where in your territory you should really focus your time.” – Scott Ingram in today’s Tip 1205
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. I got an interesting question from a regular Sales Success Stories podcast listener this week. He was trying to work out what percentage of deals were push vs. pull. He defined push as creating the sale by unearthing a problem the CFO didn’t know she had whereas pull would be the CFO had already worked her way through the buying journey before speaking with them about an initiative and was looking for external support.
To me, this sounds a bit like inbound vs. outbound. In both cases, the key to maximizing your efficiency is in qualification. If you’re lucky enough to have pull deals happening where buyers are reaching out to you, that’s obviously great, but you need to do some hard work on the front end and ask some tough questions to make sure it’s a real opportunity. In my book, one of the worst types of opportunities is a deal that’s really about a prospective customer trying to put the screws to an incumbent vendor. They have no intention of making a chance, but are going to waste tons of your time making you jump through hoops just to help them get a lower price from their existing supplier. You want to avoid these at all costs. I see way too many people blindly oblige these ridiculous requests that take them away from putting energy into deals that they actually have a chance of winning.
On the push side of the equation investing time in qualification, especially early in your year is really important as well. It just doesn’t make sense to apply equal effort to every account in your territory. Figure out which ones are likely to be the best fit, and you can’t be lazy about this. Sorting your account list by revenue or employee count and going after the top 10 isn’t the right approach. You’ve got to dig in and identify those companies that are in industries where you’ve had success before, or who are going through the types of transformations that you know you can be an important part of. This is probably a multi-stage research project. First, you do some high-level sorting based on things, like industry, that are easy to see with the data you already have. From there you’re going to have to get creative. If these are public companies you can start digging into annual reports and other investor resources, you should be talking to partners and at some level reaching out to lower-level contacts in the probable accounts to get a feel for what’s going on.
Long story short, the answer to this push vs. pull question of course is, it depends. It really depends how much demand you have and how any pull-type opportunities you have coming your way. Even if you’re 100% inbound you need to be doing good qualifying and should still have your eye on a few homerun-type opportunities you can push into. If you don’t have that luxury and you’re going to have to mostly push to perform well. Think of the pull opportunities as gravy and do the work up-front to know where in your territory you should really focus your time, because then you can put in the quality effort to figure out those relevant business insights and break through the noise to get the attention of key executives.
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