By: Mike Scher
With the possibility of $1 trillion dollars to be spent on America’s infrastructure over the next 10 years, opportunities for manufacturing companies, both direct suppliers and subcontractors, will significantly increase. The growth potential will also reach companies in manufacturing, technology and logistics across the supply chain.
While your products and services may be ready for the anticipated demands, is your sales team? It will be imperative to have a well-positioned, serious and talented team of sales professionals who can skillfully break through the noise and clutter of texts, voicemails and emails. The first step is perfecting the prospecting phrase because no one can get to the last conversation without securing the first.
Below are the 4 best ways to improve results in the prospect phase of your B2B sale:
No. 1 – Always lead with value. Since price differentials across many products or services like crane parts or cement processing won’t be enough to stand out from competitors, the key will be communicating your enhanced value. Announce money-saving features such as same-day repair and replenishment, unlimited employee training and automated upgrades. Never attempt to sell your equipment or service by saying you have “the highest quality at the best price” because every other company says the same thing. In the first interaction, the key is leading with your unique value to transition your call from being a seller to a solver.
No. 2 – Study social footprints. In a competitive landscape, it won’t be enough to know your prospect ‘needs automation.’ That may make them a qualified lead for you but won’t necessarily make you the right provider for them. Research their social presence (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook Business, industry portals, etc.) with two purposes: 1) Find out all you can about key decision makers as well as identifying others who could be part of the process since typically 6.8 people are involved in major purchasing decisions; 2) Review backgrounds of managers to arm yourself with “ice-breaker” commonalities, read posted articles and comments that can provide an understanding of their company sensibilities as both will be helpful at the beginning and throughout the sale.
No. 3 – Introduce first, sell later. If your call is unexpected (the nature of the cold-call), then you have likely interrupted their day. Launching into your pitch immediately could end things before they start. Instead, quickly provide context for how you can help, remembering that your goal is to get them wanting to ‘learn more’ rather than ‘buy now.’ Stay disciplined, hold back and be purposeful to pique their interest so it leads to next steps. However, if the stars have aligned and it actually is the perfect time for them, don’t fumble the ball! Have everything you need in front of you to make this a positive and purposeful first meaningful interaction.
No. 4 – Email is only one piece of the pie. Email is important in prospecting and sales, but they don’t sell — people do. Use them as effective touchpoints by having a call-to-action like a free demo, download white paper, link to a measurable landing page or sign-up to receive product samples. Never send information that could be misinterpreted without your narrative. For example, don’t send general price lists or training opportunities that may suggest something costs more than it does or is more complicated than it is. Provide intrigue and solutions, not information overload.
Even with the surge expected across infrastructure in manufacturing and supply chains, sales prospecting must be executed flawlessly to stay ahead of your competitors. Traditionally, companies will invest in training on how to close deals but too often prospecting is overlooked. For the anticipated boom in manufacturing expected through this tremendous infrastructure investment, prepare yourself and your sales teams to make it through the first round and bring them through the finish line!
Mike Scher is Co-Founder & CEO of FRONTLINE Selling.