I’ve helped a lot of teams figure out how to do personalized prospecting over the past few years. Whenever I do a talk on site at these companies, I get a very frequently asked question after I convince them to try 100% personalized quality prospecting. How do I get enough activity done in a day to generate enough pipeline? I realize that this question almost has the same answer, so I’m going to spell out what our team does to get reps transitioning to personalized high quality prospecting.

**So how do you do it?

Long story, so grab your snuggie and listen up.

Model with laptop(Taken from a prospecting video I made at Dyn, huge thanks to John Zahr, our model in this one).

About two years ago, I was training our SDR team at LeadIQ, and realized something. If you are new to prospecting, it can be really hard to find a good account to go after, pick the best contact, think of a way to personalize a phone call, social, email touch, and finally actually do it.

The whole argument behind personalized prospecting is that you can get more opportunities with way less touches. That’s our whole prospecting philosophy. With this concept, activity goals a backwards way of thinking.

Let’s put in perspective. One of the software sales teams I worked with and consulted was a large 150+ person sales team. Their VP of Sales was new, and was upset to find out their team was only getting a 2% response rate on their calls and emails. Their unsubscribe rate was even higher (gasp...nearly 6%).

We knew each other from her attending a RateMyPitch event I did in in San Francisco, so she asked me to come in and get embedded with the sales team.

The big problem for them was that their reps had an activity goal of 100 emails a day, and 50 calls.

calculator GIF

If we do some basic math, this data tells us that they manage about 3 responses a day out of 150 activities. I don’t even know how many of those are positive responses either.

This team’s quota was 10 QSOs a month, so these numbers pushed for them to get roughly half an opp out of the 22 prospect days a month. It wasn’t working, but their team was full of reps eager to learn a new way to do things.

If we flashback to my team two years ago, we were getting nearly 31% respond rates on cold emails alone (we didn’t have direct dials back then with LeadIQ), but there was one problem.

Compared to that other company, on the opposite side of that spectrum, our team was only getting 11 activities a day done. That’s about 3 responses a day as well. Still not good enough!

Long story short, even though activity goals are bad, you still need your team to do ACTIVITIES!

So I had to think of way to get these guys to do more activities, without sacrificing the fine quality of outreach they were doing. So what did we do?

Now part of our standard training, we invented something we call the Ten Minute Game.

**What is the Ten Minute Game?

In ten minutes, you or your prospector have to find a new account, add that contact into your sales tools, research them, and do a touch. No gimmicks, no bullshit. Just get a high quality touch in 10 minutes.

If you fail to do a touch in 10 minutes, you have to add them to an automated cadence or sequence. That’s your punishment. **Automation is your enemy!

When your rep commits 9 minutes finding a good account, the right contact, and coming up with an angle, you’d be surprised how quickly reps avoid getting their hard work just pushed into sequencing or a cadence.

I came up with idea because I studied our team and tried to figure out what was causing them to do so little activity. It wasn’t laziness. It wasn’t attitude. Part of it may be pressure from me to have them keep a good reply rate, but it really came down to one thing. **FOCUS.

Between clicking around profiles, judging a contact you have, and then studying that’s contacts post, it’s very easy to get sucked down a wormhole of distractions. Add in people bugging you at work, asking you things, and just general socialziing. The 10 minute gets everyone committed to getting their task done, and done well.

It gives enough breathing room to come up with an angle quickly that is still creative and thoughtful. It’s plenty of time to come up with something, and if you can’t come up with something, it’s easy to just settle for the best thing possible. Deadlines are your friend.

It artificially creates urgency for the rep to get activity done well, without sacrificing too much quality.

**What were the results of the 10 minute game?

Once we instituted the 10 minute game, our team’s activities shot up to north of 30 a day (about 5-6 an hour), and their response rate actually stayed the same. So we were were able to almost triple our responses every day to 9. The cool part too is since the outreach is personalized, more than half of those responses end up being really positive.

There are going to be days where it’s hard to do this thing, but if you do it right, your team can see a pretty good bump in the number of opportunities they get.

The other thing is does is force you to only work on accounts you care about. Doing little sprints all day is better than the grind of a prospecting marathon, especially when it comes to staying sharp and creative.

The good reps just do. The best reps do things well. The calibration of working in 10 minute intervals works great.

Lastly, as your reps get more comfortable doing the 10 minute game, they’ll be able to change it to the 5 minute game for follow up. The 3 minute game for the social touch, and as you get better, your first touch may be able to get trimmed to the 5 minute game eventually.

That’s it! Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity, but create some urgency for you and your reps with this game.

Posted by Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara
Ryan O'Hara has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics, including Dyn who was acquired by Oracle for $600+ million in 2016. He's had prospecting campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in branding, business development, prospecting, and coaching people on how to make good digital first impressions. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft, and hosts The Prospecting

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