Account-based marketing is becoming a go-to strategy for B2B marketers who want to take control of their outreach (rather than waiting to see who finds them) and shorten their sales cycles. What may be receiving less acclaim, however, is the starring role outbound calls play in executing account-based marketing strategies.
If you’ve done your research correctly and know who to contact, when you make an outbound call, there are two possible results. One, you connect with a decision maker. Two, you end up in voicemail. You need a plan to make the most out of either situation.
Here’s how to craft your message for live calls and voicemails.
“If you want to go upmarket, which you absolutely must to grow, you have to go outbound. Winning large customers is much more about causing sale, not just catching one.”— Ken Krogue, President and Founder, InsideSales.com
Account-based marketing is quickly gaining popularity. It’s a strategy that aligns sales, business development and marketing around the potential deals that can have the most impact on a company’s future revenues. To execute account-based marketing tactics, you will likely need to transform the approach of your business developers.
How do the account-based business developer’s activities differ from those of typical telesales representatives?
The job of the account-based business developer is to open doors at the big accounts that matter most. So, rather than simply qualifying inbound leads, they use outbound tactics — phone, email and social selling — to stir up sales opportunities with high-value prospects. Based on in-depth research, reps contact prospects in a personalized way that provides value. The emphasis is on long-term gains, not quick hits.
B2B companies are increasingly selling from remote locations over the phone. Perhaps a decade ago, most people would not have predicted this turn of events. After all, that’s when marketing leaders eagerly sought out the new promise of inbound marketing to produce leads and revenues.
For many years, we’ve seen arguments favoring inbound over outbound marketing. Marketers are now starting to realize, however, that they may have swung the balance too far in one direction. There’s no reason to choose between inbound and outbound tactics. Today’s effective marketing is “all-bound.” That’s because there’s synergy between inbound marketing and outreach in the form of emails, social selling and phone calls.
Challenges that are part and parcel of new market expansion and product introductions include executing in-depth market research, filling distribution gaps, honing marketing tactics and building internal resources to support the initiative.
Given that leaders are juggling multiple priorities, it’s not surprising that they sometimes fall flat when attempting to scale inside sales to meet expansion goals. After all, there’s a lot involved — creating a sales process, hiring and training sales people, and ensuring they have the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently and successfully.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these challenges and how to tackle them.
“The purpose of any business is to create and keep a customer”—Theodore Levitt
Customer centricity started in the 60s with direct marketing. Since then, the omnipresence of the Internet has increased opportunities for companies and customers to interact. Customers became more connected and empowered and their expectations rose. At the same time, they turned into the main force driving the success (and failure) of businesses.
For instance, it’s now easy for prospects to learn about your products from their peers. Online reviews, LinkedIn discussions and tweets are all at their fingertips.
As a result, organizations that have a laser-like focus on delivering exceptional customer experiences will be tomorrow’s winners. They will align their operations with market needs so they can build products and offer services customers love, deliver them with ease and provide seamless support. In doing so, they will build enduring relationships.
Having worked with hundreds of business development professionals, I’ve noticed that those who generate the lion’s share of revenues share certain habits and traits. The top sales people:
Seven seconds. That’s how quickly busy executives can form an impression about you and the reason for your call. For you, it’s the difference between a successful B2B sales call and a hang up.
If you’re cold calling and connect with a decision maker, and don’t want to be left listening to the dial tone, you’ll make every second—and every sentence—count. Open your call with a powerful, succinct message designed to intrigue and hint at the value you have to share.
Professional telemarketing agents will tell you, it’s not the slick pitch that closes the deal. And there’s no magical trick or gimmick to opening doors. Whether you’re inviting executives to your next seminar or scheduling a face-to-face meeting, it all comes down to how you present yourself, the way you set the tone for the call and how effectively you capture a prospect’s interest.
This seven-step blueprint will help you open your next B2B sales call on just the right note and build rapport rapidly:
"Stop selling. Start helping." — Zig Ziglar
When you’re on the phone with a business prospect, you likely have a goal of creating a sales opportunity or making a sale. Since you have quotas to meet, it’s not surprising that you’re laser focused on selling.
The only way you’re going to sell anything to other business people, however, is to help them to solve a problem. So when you make a business phone call, imprint the wise words of Zig Ziglar on your brain. “Stop selling. Start helping.”
That’s the key to engagement.
That said, it’s easier said than done. You need to know the secrets to putting your prospect’s problem in the forefront. Here are six steps you can take during a business phone call to help your potential customer.
According to the Harvard Business Review, more and more sales organizations are shifting their resources from field to inside sales. That’s because inside sales is not only cost effective, but it is also delivering the goods.
This begs the question, “How do you get the most out of your inside sales initiative?”
Here are three inside sales techniques that put you in the driver’s seat, moving forward as fast as possible on the road to delivering increased sales.
It is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Scarfing up a whole box of chocolates at one time, for instance, might fall into that category. A more work-related example is when the phone starts to ring off the hook. It’s what you always dreamed of, so how could you possibly have too many phone calls? If you can’t keep up with answering them, however, you have too much of a good thing. Another frustrating situation is when leads pour in from your latest e-book, and you can’t respond rapidly enough to the interest you’ve generated.
When you can’t answer your calls or follow up on content downloads, it put the results of your marketing efforts at risk. That’s because you’re 21 times more likely to qualify a lead that you call within five minutes than let response time stretch to 30 minutes. Those statistics are stunning but true. They are based on actual data from six companies within the InsideSales.com system that had followed up on over 15,000 leads with 100,000 call attempts.
It follows that you need to set yourself up for success in response handling. To do so, you need to be capable of taking the following steps.