B2B outbound sales approach have evolved with time as the businesses today are more focused on qualitative relationship where the role played by a company’s sales representative is more of a trusted advisor. Traditional outbound sales was all about the number games that were measured quantitatively while the modern approach focuses on the quality and how the relationships are built and nurtured.
The sales representatives who follow the modern quality-approach focuses on making each step in the sales funnel as efficient as possible. There are mainly five main pointers that should be considered to improve the Business-to-Business outbound sales in this competitive world.
- Understand the pulse and dynamics of the decision making committee- A sales representative would have the contact of the key decision maker. But, remember that there would be at least four other people who would be involved in the decision making process of all B2B purchases. That is the key decision maker would discuss with the influencers as well as the blockers and weigh the benefits before pulling the trigger. Many deals fail because the decision-making committee doesn’t agree. Therefore, a smart sales representative should take time to
- Find out who the key players are in approving the purchases
- Work towards building quality relationship with all the key players involved in the approval committee
- If it’s not possible to establish a relationship, he needs to find out their roles in the decision-making process
- Create a strategy to expand his footprint within a single account by getting to know multiple key people in an account. This will give him the opportunity to play the role of a mediator in the interactions that take place in the process of decision-making
- Keep an eye on the key decision maker’s digital footprint- Today’s customers are Internet savvy and they are knowledgeable about the products/services they plan to purchase through the social media platforms, websites, review sites, blogs, and more. They are also reaching out to the peers in the social channels.
Experts opine that a business would have made a purchase decision even before a sales representative of an organization would have contacted him. Though, it would seem as a time saver to have an informed customer, in reality it’s not. It creates challenges. As the customer is well-informed, the sales personnel have to steer the decision in his favor. Just as the qualified leads use the power of the Internet and various social media platforms, so should the sales representatives. There are a few things he can do to handle this area of the sales cycle to learn something more about the prospect.
- Lookout for the trigger events regarding the best prospects.
- Join the professional groups they join
- Find out the subject matter experts and influencers they are connected with on social platforms
- He should also join the various social groups and also participate in discussion forums within his industry, as it will give a prominent presence. Also, he will be in a position to spot the trigger events.
- Share your thoughts and opinions about your industry in Twitter, blogs and discussion forums.
- Also remember, that prospects also will research about the sales personnel of the seller, therefore be cognizant. However, be careful about the content one puts on the public forum.
- Leverage your relationships through referrals- A simple question to the sales representative, do you respond to a cold email or cold call? Be aware that even a qualified lead will do the same. Experts opine that 97% of the times cold calls or cold emails hit a brick wall. Therefore, the sales reps have to
- Network and network in various social platforms. Building relationships alone is not enough. Move the relationship to social channels.
- Through networking strengthen the bond between the best prospect and the sales rep.
- The next step is to decrease the number of links in the chain
- If there is a mutual contact, use him as the referral. Get him to talk to your qualified lead about you or even better is to introduce you to the key player. If the referral is a prominent person, then the chances for getting replies to your call or email is more.
- Even by subtly mentioning the name of the mutual contact can get answer to the call/email.
- Use social media to increase the credibility of the small business- Leverage social channels to connect with and build lasting business relationship with prospective buyer. This would come in handy when you want to reach out to the prospects where you have no referrals to leverage your relationship.
- Use the social data tactfully
- Avoid getting personal or sharing personal information. However, over a period of time, sharing personal information with a business relation is not totally off limits. But there should be a relevant reason behind sharing it
- Use LinkedIn and Twitter as these channels are more professional than Facebook. However, if one gets a Facebook invite from a best prospect, never say no. Allow it to happen organically
- Keep in touch with all the key players of your accounts- A sales representative has to keep track of the customer’s organizational changes. Customer contacts are likely to change jobs and therefore, it would be a wise move if the sales personnel keep track of these moves.
- It gives one an opportunity to create a new account
- Again with an organization, if the contact has been moved to another department, even then one should be able to close the deal by reaching out to one of the key players. This is where multiple contacts within a same account come handy.
- Also be prepared to deal, create new contact point with someone whom you are not familiar with. This is when multiple relationships within a customer account come handy. The transition of completing the sales process becomes easier.
The modern approach is not about someone willing to listen to the sales rep but about one business collaborating with another. The goal is to develop and strengthen relationships that can yield better results.