I didn’t think this was going to be a difficult question. Or be embarrassing for those that answered.
The question was asked to VP-Ticket Sales teams from three teams in three different leagues. One thing these teams had in common was that each had told me that they wanted to dramatically ramp up ticket sales to corporations.
With that in mind I asked, “How do you now make sure your sales staff is calling on every single qualified company in your market?”
Since we were on the phone, I couldn’t see their faces. However, with the sudden blankness on the phone I imagined that thousand mile stare.
One VP of Sales hemmed and hawed then said, “We have our analytics department give us leads then we just distribute them out to our salespeople.”
Another VP Sales said, “We let our sales staff prospect on their own.”
From their answers, I could tell their sales staff isn’t calling on every single qualified company in their market. Heck, they didn’t even know who their salespeople were calling on. That came out in the next question.
“What percent of the companies in your market that have 20+ employees and are non-retail do you think you’ve called on?” I asked.
“Maybe 20%,” one VP-Tickets said.
Another VP-Tickets was blunter, saying, “I have no idea.”
All three referred back to analytics. Now don’t get me wrong here—I’m a huge analytics fan. However, the one major problem I have found is that analytics doesn’t qualify enough real business prospects to feed a sales staff. I’ve got a simple way to supplement analytics.
HOW TO FEED A SALES STAFF
You want to have a system for your sales staff to cover every single business in your market.
One of the first steps in creating that system is to set up geographic territories. You know, all the corporations in this zip code go to this salesperson; all the corporations in that zip code go to that salesperson.
Setting up geographic territories does three key things:
1. Makes sure every business is covered. There is no way a lead list can be complete. Businesses move in and out. Top executives change. The salesperson ‘owns’ their territory and will become familiar with every company. They can canvas companies in their territory they haven’t been able to reach on the phone. They can network at business events within their territory.
2. No driving for dollars. With a geographic territory, a salesperson can be more efficient. Schedule a meeting at 9am? Call other companies on the same street or the same zip code to schedule a meeting at 10am and 11am. No driving back and forth across town wasting time in the car when a salesperson could be making sales calls. (This is hugely important for teams like the three VPs I mentioned earlier who are in markets with rugged traffic)
3. Salespeople are actually selling. Salespeople shouldn’t be spending time shuffling around for leads. Salespeople should be selling. My Rule of Thumb has always been one salesperson for every 1,000 businesses of 20+ employees, non-retail, non-government. If each salesperson makes 12 appointments a week in their own territory, it would take more than two years for the salesperson to meet with every single company in their territory. If you stretch to 10-19 employees in each territory, you’ll most likely double their lead list.
You might think, ‘let’s give one salesperson all the law firms in town, or all the banks.’ They’d then become an ‘expert’ in selling to that industry. That sounds wonderful but the salesperson would still be crisscrossing all over town. And, let’s face it. The fundamental reasons a business would buy and use tickets are the same regardless of the industry.
Geographic territories is just a small tool to use in calling on every corporation in your market. You can learn more about the strategy to sell more corporations by going Part 2: Selling to Corporations on this website or by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org.