Being a lesser-known organisation is often perceived as a disadvantage. You may not be a household name but that doesn’t mean generating fewer opportunities is inevitable. It does mean that your sales teams must be sharper in the first phase of sales prospecting, because swiftly identifying and reaching decision-makers is often the key to closing more deals.
Here are four ways to accelerate prospecting for sales success:
1. Overcome lack of name recognition by embracing it
This is one of the biggest obstacles for smaller and specialised companies. Often sales people apologise for not being more well-known. Don’t. Instead, proudly state your value proposition and clearly state the business challenge your company solves.
Demonstrating that you understand their challenge and want to help them improve their business will open more doors.
What happens if they mention your big-name competitors? Be prepared to share why being smaller makes you better – more benefits and no bureaucracy! Do you customise solutions for businesses of their size? Do you have same-day on-site service or replenishment? Do you extend “free” training to all new-hires for the entire length of contract?
Make sure your sales teams are armed with a list of unique benefits and values that will quickly wipe away your lack of brand familiarity or smaller company size. This is the time to shift from being a seller to a solver.
2. Don’t acquire more leads…yet!
When sales slump, companies often turn to Marketing and demand more leads when the path to revenue is actually faster if you focus on converting the leads you already have.
One top report cites that only 27% of leads are actually reached while 35%-64% never get contacted at all. Train your team on a consistent method of outreach and follow-up, and measure effectiveness.
When reps are left to reach out to leads in any manner they choose, it makes it impossible for managers to determine what actions and behaviors were successful. By standardising the team’s approach, you can replicate what works across the team for a dramatically higher conversion rate.
3. Integrate social selling
Effective use of LinkedIn by sales reps before, during and after the sales process is critical for elevating brand awareness and cultivating new opportunities. Train reps to build relationships before a prospect enters the funnel and hopefully online conversations will move offline. LinkedIn is a strategic way to connect with all key stakeholders, decision-makers and influencers while the sales process is officially underway.
When you find your prospect on LinkedIn, engage with their content prior to sending a connection request because they will be more likely to accept when you are familiar to them. This will make your first ‘cold’ call a warm call and increase your odds of success.
4. Get your sales reps back on the phone
Emailing should be part of the sales process, but not the entire strategy. Executives receive an average of 121 emails a day, so the likelihood of success by simply sending emails is slim.
Sales will always require human to human, personalised communication so train your teams on techniques to effectively overcome low name recognition on outreach calls and voicemails. And, teach them to navigate prospects’ phone systems because studies show an average of 6.8 people weigh in on B2B buying decisions – and contacting many will build familiarity for the brand.
Getting your prospect’s time and attention isn’t easy, but perfecting a few simple elements of business development will dramatically increase the number of first conversations your teams secure.