7 Principles To Finding Bigger Deals

When you have an outbound prospecting team, because there are humans involved there is a natural limitation on the amount of calls and emails they can make, there are limitations on the number of quality opportunities (aka “Sales-Qualified Leads” or “SQLs”) they can generate per month.

Haven’t heard of SQLs?  A “Sales Qualified Lead” means a prospector has passed a lead to a salesperson (closer), and that salesperson has re-qualified and accepted the new lead with at least one phone call as “yep there’s something real here.”  In my blogs / book I often also call them “qualified opportunities”.

One prospector, depending on their expertise and your market, can reasonably generate 5-15 high-quality Sales Qualified Leads per month.  I am a big believer in quality over quantity, and encourage reps to pass over fewer, better leads.  (One of our clients has a quota for prospecting reps to generate 20+ SQLs per month, but it requires 60 hour workweeks.)

So – because the number of Sales Qualified Leads is pretty much limited each month, let’s just say 10, the best way to maximize your revenue from outbound prospecting is to find the biggest deals that you can realistically close and avoid ‘small’ deals.  It can take a similar amount of work to find 10 $50,000 deals as it does 10 $5,000 deals!

The Difference Big Deals Make In Revenue & ROI

Let’s say your company sells to both small and large businesses, and you have a new prospecting rep contacting all kinds of companies to generate new leads…

Scenario A: You have a prospector generating 10 sales-qualified opportunities per month, of which two close.  Their average value is $10,000 each (let’s say it’s a one-time purchase of software).  Extra revenue per year = $10,000 * 2 per month * 12 months = $240,000.  Better than noting, but not a great ROI at about 150% (assuming costs of an even $100,000).

Scenario B: You have a prospector, at the same company, generating 10 sales-qualified opportunities per month, of which two close.  Because they are following the 7 principles I outline below, their average deal value quintuples to $55,000 each.  Extra revenue per year = $55,000 * 2 per month * 12 months = $1,320,000.  Now that’s a great ROI, at over 1000%!

7 Principles To Finding Bigger Deals (Through Prospecting)

First, let’s assume (rightly or wrongly) that your sales team, references/case studies, support and technology are ready to handle bigger deals.  So, if you actually get more big opportunities, you can actually close them…

1) Decide To Go Big: What you put your attention on, grows.  If you focus your team’s attention on big deals and away from small ones, they will get bigger.  Literally, start by telling them “We are going to find bigger deals and avoid the small ones,” and explain why it matters.

2) Small Deals Don’t Count – Set a Specific Minimum Deal Size: Prospectors all have some version of a monthly quota of leads generated.  Look at your data and desired ROI…and set a minimum size, perhaps $5k-$10, below which they don’t get quota credit.  If it’s a ‘land and expand’ opportunity, a small deal or pilot that could turn into a large one, give the rep credit when it does turn into a larger deal – not in advance.

3) Define An Ideal “Big Customer” Profile: Your Ideal Small Customer looks very different than a Ideal Big Customer.  If you want $50,000 customers, paint a very clear picture of what that company and situation specifically looks like.  What kind of company is it at, what is the $50,000 problem look like?  What does a $5,000 problem and company look like, so prospectors can avoid them?

4) Go Top down: Are you getting into companies at the manager or director or line-person levels?  That’s too low.  Go to the CEO and C-levels, and get referred down to the right people.  A CMO or VP Marketing may still refer you to a Director for a first “check out”, but that’s still better than trying to go straight to the Director.

5) Avoid IT: Unless you actually sell IT tools like database apps, you want to get to the business influencers and avoid IT.  If you get referred to IT, respond with something like “Thanks very much for that referral to Mr. IT Guy.  Also, we find it’s normally the head of internet marketing who can best decide whether you need our stuff or not…is there someone like that you can also refer me to?”

6) You Need “Business People Who Can Sell, Not Salespeople”: Salespeople push product; business people uncover challenges and new opportunities.  When a prospecting rep is investigating companies, are they “taking whatever they can get” (selling), or do they understand business well enough to dig and challenge prospects to think bigger?

7) Confidence (No Crumb-Eaters): If your prospecting reps aren’t confident, if they seek approval (as most salespeople do), they will settle for crumbs, rather than challenging themselves and prospects to go bigger.

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