With 10+ years of experience in the B2B technology arena, Wolfram van Wezel has earned a broad understanding of the software, hardware, IT consultancy, and printing markets. His client accounts
include HP, Cisco Systems, SAP, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Alcatel, Avaya, Deloitte Consulting, Gartner, Novell, LANDesk, MRO Software, Progress Software, NextiraOne, JBoss, and GBC.
Prior to joining 3D2B in February 2004, Wolfram worked for an international B2B customer acquisition company in Germany, where he was responsible for the project management of top international
Today, as a Senior Project Consultant and Account Manager, Wolfram is responsible for all account implementation and management. In addition, he manages all quality and performance metrics for 3D2B client accounts.
Last September, the AA-ISP, an international association dedicated exclusively to advancing the profession of Inside Sales, released their 2014 Inside Sales Top Challenges. And they discovered that the number one challenge sales leaders are facing today is training inside sales people to perform well. In fact, many sales organizations complain about a high turnover of inside sales representatives as they don’t manage to bring them to the performance levels they expect in the calculated timeframes.
Why is training such a hot issue?
A 2013 study by InsideSales.com reports inside sales is growing 300% faster than field sales. This trend is expected to continue. That’s because inside sales:
· cuts costs
· is accepted by customers who have become comfortable learning about companies remotely via websites, social media, content downloads such as e-books and white papers, email and phone calls
In fact, many customers prefer the flexibility of phone calls to face-to-face meetings.
Due to the benefits of inside sales, the B2B sales model is changing. Inside sales representatives are taking over more sales duties, sometimes handling the complete sale by themselves rather than working hand in hand with a field sales person. Even if they are working with a field sales executive, they may be doing more up front to transform leads into qualified sales opportunities before passing the baton to the field sales person.
The growth in demand for inside sales people has resulted in a shortage of qualified reps on the market. That means companies now need to hire and train people who may not have a proven track record in inside sales.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet,” said Bobby Unser, who is one of the ten drivers to win the Indianapolis 500 three or more times. His words not only apply to finishing first on a racetrack, but also to sales people who strive for first-place results in cold calling.
So, how do you prepare for success? Start with these cold calling tips.
You need to ensure you understand clearly your targeted customers’ profile—who they are, the markets they participate in and the issues they are likely to be facing. Why?
With company websites and social media, it’s easy to research and discover vital information about a company. For instance:
If you know that individual’s role and responsibilities, you can tailor your conversation to points (or specifics) that are relevant to them. For instance, operations managers are concerned about cost reduction while chief security officers tune into messages about risk reduction.
Don’t get on the phone until you know exactly what you want to accomplish. For instance, what information do you want to gather? What is the ideal outcome of the call?
For example, if you’re trying to set appointments for your salespeople, you need to gather enough information to ensure the customer meets your minimum requirements as a buyer for your product.
Also, consider a minimum objective. In the appointment setting scenario above, you know that you won’t achieve appointments with everyone to whom you speak. However, you can at least test a new value proposition.
Product success stories that relate to the prospect’s situation need to roll off the tip of your tongue. A memory bank of stories enables you to paint a picture of how your prospect can be successful using your product or service by comparing it to a real-life situation. While it’s fairly simple to put together product stories, doing so will set you apart from the majority of cold callers.
You have to believe in the value of your offering if you want your prospect to believe as well. So, make sure you have full confidence you’re offering something that can help the person you’re calling.
Use these cold calling tips to boost your success. Or, find out how 3D2B can help you with business to business cold calling, call +1 718-709-0900 or +39 06 978 446 60 (EMEA).
In my last post, The Secret of Lead Generation for the Complex Sale — Part 1, I told a tale about two different sales approaches. One salesperson works like a sprinter, looking for a fast sales cycle and a quick close. The other takes the approach of a marathoner, running slower and longer, pacing himself just right to reach his destination.
Top executives are visionaries. They know where they want to take their organizations. But it’s not always easy for them to show their team the way. After all, they don’t have a GPS that tells them the exact steps they need to take to get there. If they don’t know what they want, how can you sell them?
Become their GPS.
Joanne, a sales executive for a Fortune 500 company, envisions her sales people being empowered with instant, unencumbered access to the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) data. Joanne also knows that tools such as instant messaging, chat, and e-signatures could help them to shorten their sales cycle. And she loves the idea of tablets with sales presentations uploaded on them, allowing the sales team to pull a customized presentation together on the spot, when they need it to close a sale.
There’s a problem though. It’s just a vision, not reality. Visions without execution don’t impress stockholders.
When building your lead generation system, remember that the early bird gets the worm…and the first salesperson involved in the executive’s decision-making process likely gets the sale. It’s all about “first-mover advantage.”
The theory of “first-mover advantage” asserts that the company that is first to enter a market gains a substantial advantage over potential competitors. Think of eBay, for example, the first company to offer online auctions. They defined a new market space and became the leader. There are, of course, associated risks of a first-mover strategy. If you don’t meet market needs effectively, another company can seize your idea, perfect it, and commandeer “your” market.
Marketing departments put a tremendous amount of energy, time and money into lead generation. Yet, according to the American Marketing Association, approximately 70% of leads generated are treated by the sales force like confetti. They don't think it's worth the time to pick them up, check them out and follow up on them.