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Customized campaigns optimized to target your in-market buyers at any state of the buying cycle, PureB2B’s hands-on approach and buyer-intent data provide you with the sales and marketing pipeline velocity you need.

As anyone in sales or marketing knows, there are plenty of issues that can derail everything from a campaign funnel to a prospect’s buying decision. Circumnavigating, or even better, mitigating these issues entirely is what keeps us on our toes.

When it comes to sales specifically, it is a common problem to see a lead go dark, and can be worrisome when you audit your prospect lists and discover just how many of them have actually gone cold. This means they have either lost interest in your product or service or they may have simply forgotten about your brand. It doesn’t have to be the end of the road for these leads, they can always be nurtured back, you just have to go about it strategically.

Check out these follow-up tactics to revitalize your cold leads.

Review Your Previous Point of Contact

Make Your Message Relevant

Timing is Everything

Try a Different Communication Channel

Listen

You’re probably itching to send a new proposal or ask about it if you’ve already sent one, but this isn’t the ideal approach to warm up your cold leads. Your priority is to turn your prospect into a lead who will eventually convert, so you’ll have to be aware of three things:

Re-engage Cold Leads the Right Way

You shouldn’t look at your cold leads as a dead end that do not offer a chance to turn into profit. Instead, they should be perceived as potential conversions that will take a little extra nurturing. Implementing these re-engagement tactics will ensure that you are approaching your cold leads in an unobtrusive and nurturing manner. Remember, don’t count cold leads out unless you’ve tried these tactics. The results may surprise you!

Not everyone’s a natural-born salesperson, and for a lot of professionals, the sales call is a daunting task. You’ve most likely experienced a call that went from bad to worse in an instant, where you seemingly fail to impress your prospect no matter how hard you try to sweeten the deal.

You think you used the right language, prepared for the call, and worked hard on understanding what to offer a particular lead. Still, your prospect keeps talking about your competitors, asks for a service you don’t offer, or remains disinterested and nonchalant throughout the whole ordeal. In these scenarios, it’s tough to get off the phone in one piece. More so, get even close to selling anything.

The painful truth of the matter is that these situations arise merely because you didn’t do enough research about your lead.

 

Why It’s Important to Research Your Sales Leads

The world keeps on turning, and it’s not going to stop just for you. In this fast-paced industry, buyer needs and demands are ever-evolving. As marketers and sales professionals, we have to adjust to behavioral shifts caused by a multitude of technological advancements and lifestyle transformations.

More importantly, the information you have about your lead will not remain the same for long. Researching your sales leads will help you contextualize their situations, problems, and needs beyond a simple buyer persona or stage of the buyer’s journey.

Only once you understand the whole story behind your sales lead’s goal-oriented behavior and activities can you begin to grasp the full context of how your products or services can best address their needs. This personalized knowledge will help you avoid disastrous results from using the same generic tone, voice, and message across all your sales calls.

Simply put, understanding the context in which your prospect arrived at the other end of the line will help you tailor and individualize your sales strategy.

 

Know the Who, What, Where, When, How, and WHY.

Who,What, When, Where, Why?

While your marketing automation software or data analytics tools will likely provide behavioral data that can enlighten you about your lead’s readiness to buy, these individual behavioral triggers are not indicative of their real intention or motivation.

Remember, all the actions your prospective buyer takes is driven by a goal. They need something. But, what do they really need? Why do they need it? What channels or platforms do they use to research the solutions to their problems? When do they need it?

You most likely already have the answers to these questions, but failing to connect the dots will mean you don’t have a complete understanding of your prospect’s needs, wants, and motivations.  

When you connect the dots, you can understand the contextual situation or scenarios your prospect is experiencing. Most likely, they’re performing multiple tasks simultaneously to achieve the goals they set for themselves and their organization.

So, when and where do you come in?

The date, day, and time you make your sales call is crucial. When you understand their context, you can pick the perfect time! For instance, when a prospect performs a trigger action (i.e., spending time on your pricing page) that indicates intent to purchase, you should follow up ASAP!

But behavioral data shouldn’t be your sole source of information for identifying your lead’s context. Interestingly enough, a bit of research and common sense can add significant insights about what your prospect’s current situation is.

Something as simple as wishing them a Happy Birthday on that special day can work wonders to personalize your approach. Furthermore, if the prospect’s business is seasonal, you should always try to reach out in their time of need. For example, a Halloween store will be more receptive to buying a new inventory management system leading up to October than they would during most other months of the year.

Contextualizing buyer situations and experiences isn’t as simple as your marketing data makes it seem. But thankfully, there are things you can uncover to make life a lot easier.

 

Contextual Information You Should Be Looking For

Information to Look For

 

 

As a B2B sales professional, you need to arm yourself with information about the company you’re selling to. Visit their company website and become familiar with their mission/vision. Knowing what they want to be as an organization will allow you to determine how your products and services can help them achieve their goals.

Make sure you understand their product or service offerings, and how much they’re selling on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis. Take note of their business size and the number of employees they have. Do some research about their competitors as well so that you can contextualize how your product or service can help them stay ahead of the market.

Hop on news sites and find out whether anything has been written about them as of late. Are there any business or legal issues they’re facing? Do their customers rave about them? Has the company been part of any recent events? Are they running any PR campaigns?

These pieces of information will help you contextualize their current status or situation.

 

 

Is your prospect the right person to talk to within the company? For example, your lead may be a member of the research and development team instead of the purchasing department. In that case, the sales cycle may become much longer because that person has to pass you on to another department. Dig around and find out the position your sales lead holds in the company.

At the other end of the line is a human being, so it’s essential for you to know what you can about them. Who are they? How old are they? What’s their educational background? Maybe you went to the same school or belong to the same fraternity or sorority group.

How long have they worked at the company? What are their roles and responsibilities? If they’ve just recently started at the company, they may not have the decision-making power to purchase and adopt your product or service.

Do they seem happy with their job? Are they vying for a promotion or trying to impress their boss? Maybe your product and service can help them get the edge they’re looking for in terms of impressing the higher-ups. Look at their social media profiles and find out what you can.

No, you’re not being creepy or stalker-y. You need to build a persona so that you can better understand and relate to them. Knowing these details will help you find a conversation starter or ice-breaker.

 

 

Once you know the basics, you can do a deep dive into what their challenges and motivations are. This is where you formulate your strategy for positioning your brand as a solution to their problems.

Look at reviews and client testimonials. What are people saying about the company? Are there any customer complaints? With the current business size, published revenue, and customer following, do you think that they’re trying to scale up? Can your products and services help them do that?

It could also be that their current processes are ineffective at providing excellent customer service, so they’re getting bad reviews.

Where to Research Your Sales Leads

Where to Research Sales Leads

Sales and marketing professionals who have been in the business for a long time can sometimes determine whether a lead is qualified or not within a few minutes of research. But, relying on instinct too much can result in missed opportunities.

Researching your sales leads can take time, but if you know where to look, you can better standardize your process and come up with a more efficient workflow.

 

 

The business website is the first place you should go to gather information about your lead’s company. Look at their “About” page to get a general overview of how their business started.

Does it provide information about its founders and employees? You can see on their website how they present their brand, what their products and services are, who makes up their core team, and more.

Maybe you can test their operational process by submitting an inquiry through their Contact Us page or using the live chat feature. This will help you identify gaps in their system that your products and services can address.

 

 

Check out the topics they talk about on their blog. They may have published a post about a new product they’re launching or a how-to article that helps you better understand what they do and what they offer.

Check for any of their announcements. For instance, they may be in the midst of a company expansion that may affect the way they see your products or services. Maybe your offer is an unnecessary expense with that they’re currently going through, or it could help them achieve their current goals faster and more effectively.

 

 

Find your sales lead on LinkedIn to get to know them on a professional level. Look up their professional history and current job description to build context. Take a look at the groups they joined and the content they’ve shared to gain insight into their professional interests.

You can even find other people on LinkedIn who list the company you’re looking up as their employer. Maybe there’s another employee who’s in a better position to decide on purchasing your product.

 

 

The customer testimonials on your lead’s business website are hand-picked to show the most positive reviews. However, people candidly talk about brands on social media. Check out what people are saying about their experience with the brand. Maybe you can find a gap here that your product or service can fill.

You can also look up your lead’s personal Facebook account. This will help you get a glimpse of their personality outside of work. You can try weaving the personal tidbits you learned into the conversation to open up a dialogue and make them feel at ease.

 

 

Google the business name and see what articles have been written about them. You may uncover news articles or press releases published about the business. Be sure to read articles from reliable third-party sites.

Search engine research will also provide you with details about who their competitors are, and whether your lead’s company is ahead or behind the competition.

 

 

If it’s a public company, then you can gather its most recent financial reports from the SEC. This will give you an idea of how well the company’s doing and help you assess whether they’re encountering any financial difficulties.

 

 

Go to comparison sites and see how your lead’s products or services fare against their competitors’. Maybe some reviews reveal poor customer service or low product quality.

You can mention that during your sales call so that you can highlight how you can help their business offer better products or a better customer experience.

 

 

Most businesses now adopt omnichannel marketing, so they have pages on social networks other than Facebook and LinkedIn. Some still heavily use Twitter, and if you’re reaching out to a B2C business, they’ll most likely have an Instagram account.

Don’t forget to check out any relevant platforms your lead’s company is using. Look at Quora as well and see whether your sales lead has asked any questions about your offer.

 

 

What does your lead know about your company and what you offer? Check your marketing automation software if your lead has read one of your articles. This information will help you tailor your approach during the sales call.

Apart from keeping track of your lead’s demographic information, your CRM should also monitor their engagement history. These will arguably be the most critical bits of information for establishing a working context for your leads. You should always be personalizing your sales call based on what emails they’ve opened, what pages they’ve viewed, and what ads they’ve clicked.

Things to Keep in Mind

When researching leads before a sales call, it’s important to get as much information as you can. Don’t stop until you get all the details you need to build a complete contextual situation.

No matter how highly qualified your lead is, you should never fail to do your research and prepare for your sales call. The extra 10 or 15 minutes you take for this may make all the difference in converting them into a happy customer.

Once you’ve managed to successfully deliver value during the sales call, it’s time to start thinking about closing. Make sure you’ve got all your bases covered with our free whitepaper: Your Guide to Closing Sales Leads Like a Boss.
Your Guide to Closing Sales Leads Like a Boss

It’s said that it takes around 84 days to convert a lead into an opportunity, and another 18 days to turn it into a deal—all of which may only have a 6% success rate regardless of how long you’ve worked on it.

The sales cycle is composed of phases required to sell a product or service. It may vary greatly, especially on the time that it takes to complete. A long sales cycle typically requires several touch points and spans several weeks to months.

Harvard University found that at least 25% of B2B sales cycles take a minimum of 7 months to close. Additionally, the research firm, SiriusDecisions, found that the typical cycle has extended by 22% over the last five years because the online marketing mix has made things more complex and there are now more decision-makers involved in the process.

Accelerating sales and closing deals faster means keeping the process short and your leads engaged and moving. Here are some simple tricks that you can implement to accelerate your sales cycle.

 

  1. Nurture Your Leads

Start by segmenting your contacts into lists of casual browsers and of those who may not purchase soon. These are the leads who need nurturing before being passed off to sales. Lead nurturing allows your sales team to work on qualified, ready-to-buy prospects for a faster sales pipeline.

Clogging up your pipeline with leads that aren’t ready slows down the cycle. One of the main reasons behind this is that 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales without determining if the leads should still be nurtured.

 

  1. Automate Where Possible

Automating some processes in the pipeline helps in lead scoring and ensures that leads are attended to promptly. Determine which tasks are systematic/repetitive and start automating those, since reducing the hours needed to complete these tasks means your team can spend more time working on high-value leads.

Two tasks that you can automate are follow-ups and lead qualification, which are both necessary in sales but can be tedious. Follow-ups make your clients feel important, but in the hustle and bustle of modern life, it can be hard to stay on top of following up. Draft follow-ups in advance and send them automatically through your CRM.

Another big challenge that can be automated is qualifying sales-ready leads before handing them off to the sales team. Automation can address this flaw in the vetting process to provide a faster, scalable, and more efficient qualification process.

 

  1. Implement Paid Search for the “Top of the Funnel”

Longer sales cycles mean your prospects are taking their time and researching their options, which they are likely doing via the Internet. Paid search makes sure that your company appears on top of their SERPs, allowing you to gain additional traffic, and build brand awareness.

Start by researching your keywords. Remember to target the keywords that people who are researching your products and services will use. Then, create landing pages full of educational content to continue nurturing these leads. Landing pages need CTAs as well, but don’t be too aggressive since they still may not be ready to make that final purchase decision.

You can also create ads that present why customers should choose you instead of your competitors.

 

  1. Work with Real Buyers

Real buyers, in this case, are the decision-makers. Not communicating directly with these people often leads to long and uncertain sales cycles.

Find ways to talk to and work with executives. You can start by working with the mid-level clients and building their trust until you can persuade them into setting a meeting with their decision maker.

 

  1. Understand the Decision-Making Process

Ask your prospects about their timeframe. Learn what they want to know before making a decision, as well as who’s involved in the decision. Discover their criteria and what they want to learn about the business, and you’ll be set up for success.

Their answers will give you an idea of how their assessment will go down, helping you develop a lead management strategy that’s tailored to fit your particular target audience or persona.

 

  1. Align Content and Reward with the Sales Cycle

There’s a natural progression within the sales funnel, and leads will have to advance through each stage at some point. Make sure that you’re supplying them with the necessary information they need throughout their journey that’s relevant to each step of the buying process.

Start by establishing brand awareness and credibility, then work on serving up your offerings once the prospect has enough knowledge. Make sure that with each piece of content you offer, you’re letting them know what they can do from there to move them further into the funnel.

Content with thought-leadership can be integrated into promotional offerings. Balance educational content by showcasing your products and services. Once you’ve convinced them and passed them on to Sales, they’ll be much closer to making that all-important purchase decision.

 

  1. Personalize Everything

Nowadays, most people have learned how to spot and dismiss obvious marketing ploys, making it harder for businesses to hold their engagement during the initial stages of the sales cycle. However, this can be solved by having a deeper understanding of a customer’s interests and personalizing the engagement.

More in-depth information about customers requires gaining their trust. So, you need to provide something of value in return. Here are some other ways to personalize your marketing efforts:

 

  1. Focus on High-Performing Channels

Having more marketing channels isn’t always helpful, especially when you’re trying to cut your sales cycle time in half. Figure out what to focus on and find out which channels perform best. Naturally, continue to build systems that support a focus on those channels to ensure the highest returns.

Keep in mind that your channels should regularly be tracked, as each one’s performance will change over time. Don’t be afraid to experiment with and try out new channels as you optimize your campaign.

 

  1. Use an Incremental Close

Make the buyer deeply invested in you through small commitments to put them in the habit of saying “yes.” Each time you have a positive interaction, it’ll build towards a mutually beneficial relationship based on trust and value.

Determine the requests you’ll make at the end of every interaction, ensuring that both you and the prospect will benefit from it. Each commitment should increase in size and significance as you continue to nurture and eventually lead to closing a sales leads.

 

  1. Leverage Social Proof

Your current, satisfied customers are the best brand ambassadors you can have when trying to sway prospects. Peer opinions and testimonials can be leveraged to win a prospect’s confidence, resulting in a faster sales cycle. Here are some ways to do it:

 

Conclusion

Accelerating the sales pipeline requires a defined sales process, knowing your prospects’ interests and pain points, determining which leads to enter into the pipeline and which leads to nurture, and continue building your relationship with the clients.

Automating a few steps in the buying process can also be beneficial in moving through the sales cycle faster to quickly earn your revenue and grow your business.

Once you’ve managed to implement some of these tactics, you’ll notice your sales pipeline becoming shorter, more systematic, and more predictable. All of which are great for making your sales process more efficient and helping decision-making in the future.

Want more tips to speed up your sales process and convert more leads? Download our Complete Guide to B2B Lead Nurturing for actionable tips, expert insights, and more!
Your Complete Guide to Lead Nurturing

You don’t run into a battle without the necessary weapons unless you want to lose. The same can be said when dealing with your leads. If corporations don’t gear up their sales teams with the necessary resources to convince their prospects, then failure is inevitable. Enter sales enablement.

The need to constantly update your sales team’s knowledge of your company’s products and services through different means is what drives the importance of sales enablement initiatives.

This concept is a broad term that covers activities like recruitment, training, coaching, content creation, analysis, sales strategy, and other tools and practices. These processes provide salespeople with the information and means to help them engage with customers and manage sales leads more effectively.

Why Sales Enablement is Crucial

Simply hiring people with innate talent to sell and training them to be knowledgeable about your business’ products won’t cut it if you want them to operate to the best of their abilities. Targets change, but the need to meet them is constant, so you need to empower sales teams to sell better.

Effective sales enablement can yield other fruitful benefits for your brand:

How to Optimize Sales Enablement

There are notable advantages to implementing sales enablement strategies, but you can only reap these benefits if you’re implementing it correctly over time.

  1. It’s all about the buyer experience

Sales enablement may be all about empowering sales to engage with buyers, but it is the buyer’s journey that ultimately matters.

Make sure that the team knows who those buyers are and the journey they’re on. Then, map sales procedures and training to meet the process requirements of the buying experience.

  1. Recruit the right people

When you hire the right salespeople, you’re confident that the enablement program will be properly executed. Getting the right employees means hiring professionals who are flexible and teamwork-oriented.

As mentioned before, it’s not always about finding the best salespeople. It’s about find the right salespeople with the potential to become great. That means focusing on learning capacity, flexibility, and adaptiveness to new concepts.

  1. Provide the right tools

Having the right people undergo training should go hand-in-hand with having the right tools and resources. Tools like product data sheets, appropriate applications, user behavior history, and brand marketing content are essential data channels that should be provided to sales teams.

Make sure, though, that salespeople are using these tools correctly.

  1. Training should be continuous

A 2016 Sales Enablement Practitioner Survey showed that 65% of practitioners want improvement in sales training as a priority for their organizations. Improving sales training entails doing it more than once a year. You want the training material to stick, so there’s a need for regular reviews.

Conduct training at least once per quarter, then use other tools like newsletters and collaboration platforms to keep the team up to date.

  1. Create, use, and share high-quality content

Content allows salespeople to deliver value to buyers in a scalable, controllable way and can also be used as an aid to their sales pitch. However, 90% of content goes unused by sales, according to the American Marketing Association, because they can’t find it.

Find ways for other departments within the organization to access content that they need. Marketing automation platforms can help, as they allow for flexible content organization and recommendations based on performance. Automation streamlines the process by having a repository for all content and tools in an easily-accessible portal.

  1. Integrate input from the entire organization

Effective sales enablement should also bring in voices from other departments and teams, not just from Sales. Bring in your marketing and customer service reps and managers to the table.

These three should deliver a consistent experience during the entire customer lifecycle to create lasting relationships with them, so it’s important that they meet regularly to discuss improvements. Try to have an alignment meeting at least once a month to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

  1. Measure results

Some of most basic sales enablement metrics that should be tracked are average sales cycle length, the number of reps achieving quota, and average deal size, to name a few. Sales performance results will let you discover if each sales rep is performing as expected or not.

Naturally, if you’re not satisfied with the results, you may need to further optimize your strategy or simply find new sales employees.

Empower Your Sales Team to Sell Better

A solid sales enablement strategy empowers your salespeople with knowledge about who they’re selling to, which hugely supports account-based marketing or any other targeted sales strategy. It’ll help with drive growth and ultimately determine how well you understand your clientele.

Just keep in mind, the foundation of every sales enablement plan is a strong understanding of your target audience. Only once the necessary information is collected and analyzed can organizations begin to transform them into valuable insights for their sales teams.

One of the most crucial aspects of an effective sales enablement strategy is to properly align sales and marketing teams. Find out how with our FREE whitepaper: Discover the Power of Sales and Marketing Alignment
Discover the Power of Sales and Marketing Alignment

When you’re in the business-to-business (B2B) industry, getting sales outreach right is just as crucial as the process of closing a sale itself. Without both ends of an active sales funnel, your business becomes dormant – that is, if you don’t reach out to leads, you won’t be able to make any new sales. By contrast, an ever-increasing sales pipeline is a critical requirement for a business to grow and flourish.  

To move through your sales funnel, you can implement various lead generation activities such as blogging, SEO, paid advertising, social media marketing, email or text blasts, and sales calls, to name a few. Regardless of the marketing strategy you choose, the end goal is the same: lead conversion.    

The operative word here though is “how.” How do you find and acquire leads that can be handed off to your sales team for outreach and eventual closing?

Why You Need Outreach

Every B2B company needs to have an aggressive outreach strategy which enables them to gather more information about their prospects before the sales pitch. When done correctly, sales outreach via email or phone helps B2B companies to: produce new prospects, gain exposure, build relationships with their target audience, expand their market reach, and drive new sales.

The following statistics should add more context to the importance of sales outreach in B2B customer acquisition:

The higher the buyer awareness your leads have, the more they’re likely to trust in the value of your offering. That trust is the first thing that needs to be established when building relationships with prospects.

Sometimes, your leads may fail to recognize or to acknowledge these needs until you make that sales call. Therefore, it’s important to be educational and not salesy. Don’t assume your prospect already knows that a problem even exists.

Can you imagine if a customer was actively moving from one phase of the sales cycle to another, and you failed to connect with them along the way? Instead of missing out on these opportunities, you should be using your outreach campaigns to qualify and nurture your leads towards the next step in the sales cycle.

As you continue with your outreach, you’ll find that it gets more and more practical to tailor your pitch to each prospect, since you already have information on how they view your proposition.

When you respond quickly to queries from your leads, you’re emphasizing their importance, which gives them a good reason to spare you some of their time while you try to engage them in a meaningful, productive sales conversation.

Initiating a Conversation

Initiating a conversation and keeping it going is a craft and a skill, meaning you only achieve mastery through constant practice. It’s already bad enough for your leads that you’re cold calling them, but it gets worse if you throw yourself into a conversation with them on a whim. It’s a surefire way to create a negative first impression with your prospects and have them press the end or delete button sooner than you would want.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when you conduct your first email outreach or sales call:

Selling vs. Connecting

Instead of focusing on your sales pitch, you could focus more on establishing a connection with your potential customers. This may be easier said than done, but if you can break the ice, getting them to listen becomes a whole lot easier.

Perhaps there’s a new industry trend that you think might pique your prospect’s interest. Use that as a conversation piece to show your expertise and build your relationship with your prospect without necessarily resorting to a hard sell. For example:

“I’m seeing that Trend A is sweeping across your industry rather quickly, and sales teams are in a frenzy trying to make sense of it. How’s your team dealing with it?”

Mind (Not) Your Own Business

An ideal sales conversation is one where you get to discuss your prospect’s business 85% of the time. Take a moment to research your prospects as you want to make sure that you know enough about them to direct the conversation toward their business and your offering.

Small talk, like the example below, usually works because it shows your knowledge about what’s happening in their organization:

“I just saw on Twitter that you’re celebrating five years in the business. Congratulations!”

Questioning as an Art

Not all your leads will be willing to divulge information to your sales team right away. The right question can help you get past a taciturn prospect and keep the sales conversation flowing.

Asking an open-ended question is a great way to find out what your prospect’s objectives, insights, and challenges are. You can then use that information to determine how your product or service fits into your prospects’ business model and needs.

Be sure to record insights in your CRM for easy reference. You can phrase your questions this way:

“You mentioned that there’s been a recent reorganization in your sales force. What’s the feedback you’re getting about it from your managers? How are you handling their concerns?”

Share Your Vision

At this point, you’ve captured your lead’s attention. Now it’s time to launch into how you can help. Briefly talk about what you see in the marketplace and how these trends may drive the industry. Last, but not least, share your vision for your prospect’s business should they decide to partner with you.

The following spiel should leave your audience excited about the future you can drive toward together.

“Some of our clients have expressed frustration that their forecasts might be affected by new developments in the market, so we’re helping them prepare for those bumps ahead. I’m confident my company can do the same for you. I can arrange a meeting to discuss the full details of our plan when you’re ready.”

10 Steps for Effectively Reaching Out to B2B Leads

The Bottom Line

Sales outreach is not a one-time marketing initiative. It’s a continuous process of finding leads who you can engage with and nurture to become valuable customers over time, hence the need to adopt a sense of urgency in moving your leads through the sales cycle and scoring a win for your company.

If you’re not quick enough to qualify and convert your leads, there’s always someone from your competition who will be willing and able to do it first. In the modern age where buyers have all the power, it won’t take long for a potential customer to move on to their next option.

If you can systematically follow these steps during your B2B outreach process, not only will you be able to find and convert quality leads at a higher rate, you’ll also be maximizing your customers’ lifetime value (LTV) through building strong, mutually beneficial customer relationships.

After you’ve made that important first connection with sales prospects, it’s time to pull them in using various types of content offers. For tips and best practices, be sure to check out our FREE whitepaper: How to Attract the Right Prospects with Lead Magnets

The strategy of cold calling to sell products and services has been around for decades. Along the way, sales professionals have developed various proven tactics to convince their audience of the value of what they’re selling.

You, as the salesperson, hold the power of information. By educating your buyers about the products and services you offer, you can convert mere prospects into actual paying customers.

However, the power has now shifted to buyers, as the internet now lets them easily access all the information they need to address their concerns, needs, and wants. Most people now find solutions to their problems by simply googling them. They have plenty of sources for information, which means they won’t be getting all their answers from brands.

It’s all digital now. But, that doesn’t mean old tactics like that cold calling are no longer relevant. Nothing will ever beat the power of human touch and personal interaction. You just need the right strategy that involves using the right words to persuade.

It’s Not About You

As discussed, the sales process has shifted from the seller to the buyer. It’s no longer about you or your products and services. It’s about the buyer and how to solve their pain points.

When cold calling a prospect, make sure to talk about them instead of what you have to offer. Why would they want to listen to someone they don’t know or don’t care about?

Talking about your company or its products isn’t going to work. Make it all about them, and they’ll be more open to discussion. Find out what their interests are, what motivates them, and what challenges they face. Tailor your offering to the prospect, not the other way around.

Do your research and utilize all the data you have about your prospect before picking up the phone. It will help you determine how to approach the conversation and make a personal connection.

What to Avoid (And What Not To)

As a salesperson, you not only need to offer buyers an opportunity to improve their lives, but you also need to provide buyers protection against potential losses.

Giving them tips on how to avoid risks and losses demonstrates that you’re on their side. Again, you’re making it about them, not you or your company.

Aside from this, using the word “avoid” in your conversation will instill a sense of urgency and fear of loss. This helps motivate potential buyers to act sooner rather than later. On top of that, fear is one of the biggest motivators that affect purchase decisions.

Avoid requesting to discuss something with a prospect without giving a reason. When people are presented with an adequate reason for something, they are more likely to listen and thoughtfully respond to what you’re saying.

The word “because” justifies motivation for an action and can compel prospects to comply with your request. Simply put, the word “because” immediately answers one of the most important questions that a buyer will ask, “What’s in it for me?”

Buyers want to be wowed and impressed. After all, who doesn’t want to be amazed?

When people hear the word “amazing,” it automatically perks them up. According to Business Consultant Dale Furtwengler, “amazing” triggers feelings of joy and amazement. Buyers are willing to pay a premium when something fascinates them.

People love getting ahead of others, and this is especially true for businesses.

Using the word “first” when you’re cold calling prospects denotes that you’re offering them something new that their competitors may not know about yet. It also gives buyers the feeling of exclusivity, which makes them more optimistic about your offering.

It’s never bad to admit to not knowing something rather than pretending to know and just making up an answer. By admitting that you don’t know, you’re helping to build trust with potential customers. You’re showing humility and honesty, which are virtues that prove invaluable when nurturing business relationships.

Then again, make sure to show buyers that they asked a good question and that you’re willing to find out the exact answer for them. This will also help you avoid misrepresentations and backpedaling on promises you can’t deliver.

Be honest. Rather than plainly saying you don’t know, let them know that you’ll find out.

A simple “thank you” can go a long way when you’re establishing a connection with a stranger or building a relationship with a prospect. In fact, studies show that thanking people for their time makes them feel friendlier towards you.

Aside from explicitly thanking your prospect while you’re on the call, follow up with a thank you email that recaps the main points of your conversation. It will not just remind your prospect about what you’ve discussed over the phone but will also help them remember you.

The moment they decide to make the purchase, your name should be top-of-mind.

Some salespeople usually use daily expressions to convey friendliness to their prospects. So, instead of using the more formal “you’re welcome,” they say, “no problem” or “no worries.”

However, the words “problem” and “worries” may suggest that under different circumstances, you wouldn’t have granted the favor or done the same thing.

Be sure to use the age-old magic words, “You’re welcome.” Or, “You’re most welcome.” This expression is your way of telling your prospect that they’re worth your time. It also avoids the use of potentially negative words like “problem” or “worries,” so this one’s a real no-brainer.

Bottom Line

Cold calling as a sales tactic is not dead. The power has shifted, yes. But, as long as you make your prospects feel important and use the right words when communicating the value of your business, then you can close as many deals as you want.

Just be sure to keep an eye out for any potential red flags that might arise. The last thing you want to do is invest time and effort into nurturing a sales prospect that has a low likelihood of converting.

Once you’ve established synergies and built a relationship with your sales prospect, it’s time to Close Those Leads Like a Boss. Download our FREE whitepaper today!

Your Guide to Closing Sales Leads Like a Boss

So your marketing strategy has paid off big time, and now you’ve got a bunch of qualified leads. It’s time to send them along the sales funnel. However, there are red flags in the sales process you need to look out for before attempting to close a lead. If unnoticed, they might lead you to squander your time and resources on leads that simply aren’t going to convert.

Sales agents are eager to get to yes. But, in their enthusiasm to close a deal, they sometimes overlook warning signs that indicate whether the lead is ready to be sold to or not. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes that 80% of sales professionals make is taking these signs for granted.

Don’t let your marketing efforts go to waste! Identifying and anticipating potential warning signs will help your sales teams counter potential sales objections and focus their efforts on accounts with the highest likelihood of following through.

7 Red Flags to Look Out for When Closing a Sale

  1. Your Prospect is Dodging Your Calls

Prospects who are truly interested in what you have to offer will make time for you.

If your lead is suddenly hard to get on the phone, let them know that you are willing to meet with them at a convenient date and time. If they set a date with you, then that means that they’re really interested.

Asking for a scheduled meeting also gives them the opportunity to tell you upfront if they have decided to go another route. This way, you don’t waste any more time on trying to connect with them and focus on other more qualified leads.

  1. They Keep Postponing or Canceling Your Scheduled Meetings

When this happens, try to connect with the prospect one last time. Get feedback about why they keep canceling to try to remedy the situation. But, should they cancel again, maybe it’s time to move on. This isn’t the type of client you want to be working with.

  1. They Tell You that Your Prices are Too Steep

There are four possibilities:

Since prospects tend to do their own research these days, they’ll be much more informed about their options and alternatives. The worst case scenario is that your price range doesn’t fit their allocated budget (there’s not much you can do about that apart from offering a discount).

You can approach this by empathizing with the prospect, asking them about their budget and expectations. With this information, you can craft a unique value proposition that appeals specifically to their circumstances, whereby the offer’s value clearly exceeds the cost.

  1. Your Prospect is Hesitant to Give You a Start Date

Some buyers have a legitimate problem that can be addressed by your products or services. But, unless they see an urgency, they put off the purchase.

A lack of urgency may mean that your prospect doesn’t see an absolute need to get your product or service now. Ask open-ended questions to determine what they really want. Ask them what their objections are. You can also let them know the risks and repercussions of not making the purchase in the soonest possible time to foster a sense of urgency.

  1. Your Contact Leaves the Company

There are times when the leads you’ve nurtured suddenly decide to leave the company that you’re targeting. You’ve taken the time and effort to build a business relationship with that person, and now they’re gone. But don’t worry. Your efforts don’t have to go to waste.

Once again, empathize. Let them know that you understand their decision, and should they move to another company and still find the need for your product or service, that you’ll still be there.

You should also ask them to refer you to another contact person at their original company so you can continue with the lead nurturing and sales process. Worst case scenario, you lose the sale, but best case scenario, that one contact turns into two opportunities to sell.

  1. Stakeholders Aren’t Involved

In B2B purchases, you’re not just selling to one person. You’re selling to the whole company and stakeholders involved in the purchase decision. Thus, it’s important that all relevant stakeholders are involved so that you can get the ball rolling as soon as possible.

By the time you’ve been asked to make a formal pitch, stakeholders should already be involved. If not, then that’s an obvious red flag. This is common in larger organizations when preliminary research is being done.

To overcome this, you can ask your contact person questions that only the boss can answer. If you establish that the answers can’t be provided by them, then ask for a meeting with the stakeholders. This speeds up your sales process by getting an opportunity to pitch directly to the decision makers.

  1. They Aren’t Doing Their Homework

So, they’ve agreed to a meeting where you can impress them with your sales pitch. But in order to present a more customized pitch, you need more specific information from them, and they’re just not providing it to you. Or maybe you’ve asked them to try your product or service for free for a certain period, but they still haven’t done it.

Bottom line, the prospect just isn’t doing what’s required to progress the sale. This means that they’re either too busy or that they don’t care enough to make the effort. Determine what’s stopping them so you can either help them move forward or leave them to their own devices.

Key Takeaway

Looking out for these red flags can give you an idea of your buyer’s readiness to purchase. Furthermore, it can help you determine the best strategies and tactics to closing the sale.

These red flags don’t necessarily mean that you need to walk away from a sale and move on immediately. Then again, it helps to know if you’re just wasting your time on a prospect that doesn’t have an intention to buy or a potential customer who isn’t the right fit for your company culture.

At the end of the day, sales teams want to make the sale. So, look out for these red flags and implement the right tactics to counter these objections.

 

If there are no red flags and you’ve determined that the sales prospect is worth pursuing, it’s time to learn how to Close Those Sales Leads Like a Boss!

Your Guide to Closing Sales Leads Like a Boss

The glory days of blind pitching are over—paving the way for a new way of doing things in sales and marketing departments everywhere. Much of the shift can be seen in how people are using online technologies to find information about brands, buy products and services, keep up with trends, and connect with people or communities. Customers are moving away from traditional sellers and are choosing to engage with companies that reach out to them in ways that are delightful and educational at the same time.

 

The 2015 State of Sales report, put together by Salesforce, offers useful insights in identifying key areas of concentration among global leaders when trying to close sales. The report found that sales companies are focusing on analytics, mobile platforms, customer interaction, team selling, and technology adoption. In brief, hard selling is out while incorporating technology into the sales process to enhance the customer experience is taking over far and wide.  

The Nature of the Sales Interaction Matters

Indeed, the nature and level of interaction you establish with customers can very well define the kind of response you will receive from them. The difference between these modes of communication will determine the tactics and strategies you should use when pitching:

Tips for Your Next Sales Pitch

Infographic - Sales Pitch Tips

Things to Takeaway

Sales may be changing, but that doesn’t mean that the sale pitch doesn’t still have an important place in the sales funnel. Each stage leads to the other if done properly with the right channel, material, and approach. Find out what makes a compelling sales pitch and get to it, or risk forming a bottleneck in your sales funnel.

 

For more tips on sales pitching, be sure to check out our FREE whitepaper and soon you’ll be closing your sales leads like a boss!

Your Guide to Closing Sales Leads Like a Boss

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is attributed to the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto. In one of his papers, Pareto noted that about 80% of the land in Italy belonged to approximately 20% of the country’s total population. In essence, the Pareto Principle infers that there’s an 80-to-20 relationship between effects and their causes.

The Pareto Principle transcends disciplines. In sports, for example, you’ll find that at least 20% of athletes win 80% of the time, or that roughly 20% of training and exercise impact 80% of an athlete’s performance. Similarly, when it comes to healthcare, about 20% of patients depend on as much as 80% of the nation’s healthcare resources.

Applying it to the business world, the 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your company sales come from 20% of your customers. Alternatively, you could say that 20% of what you do represents 80% of that particular activity’s outcome.

The 80/20 Sales Principle

In the sales and marketing ecosystem, you can use the 80/20 rule as a guide to come up with highly effective business solutions for your company. Below you can discover a few strategies to help you focus your attention and resources on your top 20% customers.

  1. Discover Your Best Customers

Discover Customers

You probably have hundreds or thousands of contacts on your client and prospect lists from your website, and email and social media marketing efforts. Keep close tabs on which customers made a recent purchase, are frequent buyers, or which ones were generous in their purchases.

Once you’ve identified them, tag them as a top priority for your sales and marketing efforts and use their customer data to help you find and attract new audiences.

  1. Locate Your Customers Geographically

Locate Customers Geographically

Look for trends in your POS platforms, paying special attention to where your best customers are. You’ll notice that certain neighborhoods, locales, cities, or regions are far more lucrative than the rest of the market. You can then leverage this information to boost your sales and marketing strategies in these locations.

  1. Identify Customer Niches

Identify Niches

During the selling cycle, you’ll likely come across customers who exhibit particular behaviors that signal buyer intent. Use this information to identify commonalities among prospects actively looking to make a purchase, and build on their experiences to drive them along your sales funnel.

  1. Deal with Difficult Customers

Difficult Customer

Whether you like it or not, you’ll be dealing with hard-to-please or overly demanding customers who test your patience and pull down your productivity numbers through needless, recurring questions or requests.

If you’re at their beck-and-call, it means you’re not setting expectations right or being firm in setting the parameters of good customer service. Take a look at these customers and their buying habits. Are they in your top 20%? You may be losing precious time engaging with and responding to customers who, in the long run, simply may not be worth the time and effort.

Setting the right expectations is the best way to deal with customers who waste your time.

  1. Delight Your Best Customers

Delighted Customers

Certain clients are always going to be your high-volume buyers, but it’s important not to take them for granted. Don’t lose sight of your best clients while getting bogged down in acquiring new customers or dealing with problem clients. Make sure that you’re always staying in contact with your best clients and providing a superior customer experience.

Keep these types of customers delighted with your service by interacting with them on a more personal level, and continue exploring other business opportunities with them.

  1. Watch How Your Best Salespeople Work

Best Salespeople

Take note of the top 20% sales people in your organization. These are the members of your team who are closing more sales or are delighting your customers most effectively.

Whatever attributes and techniques your top salespeople have should be your yardstick in forming additional teams or in training the rest of your sales force.

  1. Manage Your Operational Costs

Manage Costs

Managing your costs works on many levels: it helps you save by avoiding counterproductive measures and enables you to make good budget decisions. For example, you might decide to let go unproductive salespeople go while augmenting your remaining team’s daily meal allowance, thereby increasing your sales team’s productivity and efficiency at work.

Conclusion

To sum up, the 80/20 rule can provide a solid framework for your sales and marketing objectives. Whether it concerns your customers, salespeople, or company resources, it may be worth your while to adopt the Pareto Principle in your company’s business operations.

It’s an underrated technique in the sales and marketing landscape, but one that has great potential in propelling your business forward.

To implement the 80/20 rule effectively, you’ve got to have the right data. Check out our FREE whitepaper to find out how your business can become data-driven!

In successful lead nurturing, timing and consistent communication to your prospect are very important. Companies don’t buy your product/ services — people do. So, sharing content that helps people remind them of the benefits you have to offer will help you land sales as efficiently as possible.

Find ways to refine a complex sales process, reach potential sales and convert leads to business!