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New salespeople can be confused as to how much prospecting they need to do to succeed. Part of the confusion is caused by what they observe from salespeople with more experience.

Some salespeople with more experience may be far more effective at prospecting, and so they can produce results with less activity, especially if they are exceptional at cold calling.

Unfortunately, some experienced salespeople that don’t prospect give the impression that prospecting isn’t important. If management tolerates too little prospecting, then new salespeople believe that their lack of prospecting activity is acceptable, even though it will later cause them to fail–and it may cost them their job.

So how much prospecting is enough?

Enough is Enough

The answer is that it is different for different salespeople. It’s also different for different sales organizations. The right amount of prospecting is the amount it takes to produce the outcomes you need. This is true regardless of the prospecting methods you choose.

You need to create and open opportunities. The amount of opportunities you need to create is based on a number factors. You need to do enough prospecting to create the opportunities you need to make your quota. You also need to prospect enough to build a pipeline that will allow you to lose opportunities and still make your number based on your close rate.

If you are new and have no pipeline, much of your time will need to be spent prospecting to develop your pipeline. If you have existing accounts, you may need to create opportunities within those accounts, and that may mean you need to do less prospecting outside of your assigned accounts.

Your company’s goals may also play a part. If they are launching a new product, or entering a new market, you may need to do more prospecting to help reach your company’s goals.

The answer is that the amount of prosecuting you need to do varies.

Too Little

The answer for most salespeople is that they could stand to do more prospecting. Prospecting is the heavy lifting of sales. But opening is the new closing.

As your clients have been charged with owning greater financial results and producing those results with fewer resources, they are more time starved than ever. Add to that the fact that globalization is making things more competitive than ever, and the fact that we are all under more pressure to break out of the commodity box, and you understand why opening is the critical activity.

Even the best of salespeople with good prospecting skills believe they need to do more prospecting to succeed.

You should prioritize your model sales week by starting with prospecting and build the rest of your week around that activity.


How much prospecting do you do each week?

Are you dedicating enough time to prospecting to reach your goals?

Are spending time in different prospecting approaches to be sure you reach your client where they are?

How would sales results be improved by having more opportunities?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 15, 2012
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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