A boxing match isn’t really decided in the ring; it’s decided in the days, weeks and even months leading up to the first round. The fight is most often won through preparation. Sales is no different. With so many salespeople vying for the same slice of the pie, the ones who are ultimately the most successful are the ones who are the most prepared. Of course, preparation alone doesn’t guarantee you’ll be the heavyweight champ of your sales team, but it can at least help you avoid getting knocked out in the first round of what could be a long sales cycle.
Another reason to prepare? It will likely help you outshine the competition. According to the 2018 Buyer Preferences Study, a global survey of B2B buyers in companies with $250 million or more in annual revenue, more than half (58%) say that when choosing among vendors, typically one is only a little better than the others. All other things being equal, taking the time to prepare for a call may help you strike a chord with a prospect that can give you a tangible edge over your competitors.
How do you prepare? Here are some tips:
Know Who You’re Calling
Before every call, it’s a good idea to carefully review your notes and look for news about your prospect and their company. Anything you can learn about the prospect will help you make a more personal connection on the phone and may even reveal new avenues of attack. For example, if a prospect has recently been promoted to a new position in the company, start by congratulating them. Then ask what new and unexpected challenges they face in their new role, looking for opportunities to explain how your solution can help. Or you may explain how other customers in similar roles have used your solution and the success they have had.
If this is your first call with a prospect and you don’t know more than their name, title and phone number, check out this HubSpot article for tips on researching buyers before a sales conversation.
Have Something to Contribute
“Before you pick up the phone,” says Murray Goodman, CEO of Intelemark, “think: how can I add value to this call? This should be standing operating procedure for salespeople.” What is value? It’s information, insights and actions you bring to prospects. “There are so many resources,” Goodman explains, “it’s simply to find information that you can offer to prospects. Did you see this article? Have you heard this interview? Are you aware of this upcoming event? These types of things add value and demonstrate that you are engaged in their success.”
Ways to bring value to your prospects
Subscribe to industry blogs – Few reps take the time to educate themselves on what their customers actually care about, so even dedicating just 30 minutes each day to reading industry blogs and publications can give you an advantage over your competitors. These are also great sources of information that can give you really good talking points, so the call feels more like a conversation than a sales pitch. Keeping up with industry news can also reveal the kinds of challenges your prospects are facing, which will help you when the time comes to explain how your product or service solves a critical business issue.
Be an expert on your company’s offerings – Superior product knowledge can bring a lot of value to prospects, especially if you have knowledge about your competitors’ solutions as well. Positioning yourself as a subject matter expert will give you credibility with prospects, who in turn may view you more as a consultant or thought leader than a salesperson.. In a complex sale with a protracted sales cycle, you may still be able to keep an open line of communication if a prospect views you as a trusted solution and industry expert.
Pay attention to what your prospects say – It can take multiple calls and meetings to close a deal, especially if you are selling a complex B2B solution. Listen to what prospects are saying on the phone and take notes so you can refer to a question or concern they had on a previous call. Not only will this show that you are engaged and listening, but it can also provide your prospect with information they need to make a purchasing decision.
Prepare for Objections/Rejections
Regardless of where a prospect is in their buying journey, every call should end with some kind of ask—to set up a demo, send more information, schedule a meeting or a follow up call, etc. Whatever the request, there’s a chance that the prospect will say no. That’s why good salespeople anticipate prospects’ concerns and objections in order to keep the conversation moving forward. We recently wrote a piece about overcoming sales objections that can help you prepare for the inevitable no.
Talk to Prospects Who Are Ready to Talk to You
What if you could spend more time talking to prospects who are excited about your product or service? Intelemark is known as The Business Connection Company because our experienced B2B calling agents excel at making the kinds of connections that result in real revenue for our clients. Maturity and experience allow our agents to steer conversations with B2B buyers toward solving their critical business issues, so by the time they make an appointment to talk with one of your salespeople they are already intrigued about your offering.
Contact Intelemark today to learn how a custom B2B lead generation telemarketing campaign can fill your sales pipeline with a consistent volume of quality targets who are excited to talk to you.