HOW TO DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE B2B SALES STRATEGY FOR TODAY'S DIGITAL WORLD
For today's sales force, B2B buyers are increasingly difficult to reach and engage, and cold calling response rates decrease every year. In fact, a 2011 study from the Kelly Research Center states that only 1% of cold calls ultimately convert into appointments.
Cold calling is no longer an effective method to reach B2B executives today, but it is still all too common. Why?
Because many sales organizations are stuck practicing the "proven" methodologies of the past instead of developing a sales strategy for today's digital world.
COLD CALLS IN THE AGE OF THE CUSTOMER
Many sales best practices still taught today are a part of The Solution Selling® methodology, which focuses on determining customer pains and needs to collaboratively build a solution to address them. While this proven methodology has brought companies tremendous success since it was founded in 1988, there are several components that aren't as effective in today's customer-centric digital marketplace.
According to Solution Selling®, a discovery call, or cold call, should be your first touchpoint with a prospect, but in today's digital world your customer has already completed 57% of the buyer journey before reaching out to sales.
Prospects no longer need a sales rep to educate them on your solution. They can instead perform a quick Google search, and check out your competition in the process.
B2B SALES STRATEGIES THAT DELIVER RESULTS
To succeed in today's B2B sales environment, sales strategy needs to go beyond solution selling and truly demonstrate unique value. It's critical that sales reps show the customer that they can teach them something new about how to address the challenges they are facing.
Focus on Marketing and Sales Alignment:
Since prospects are going online to do research before engaging with sales, developing a sales strategy that focuses on marketing and sales alignment is now more important than ever before. To improve your chances of reaching B2B executives today, sales and marketing must be tightly aligned on:
- Messaging - During the awareness phase, sales messaging needs to closely reflect the marketing messaging the prospect has already seen or read online.
- Timing - Just because a prospect has clicked a link in an email does not mean that they are ready for a sales cold call. It typically takes somewhere between 7-13+ touchpoints before a lead is sales ready. Your sales and marketing teams need to partner together to determine what those touchpoints are and decide what actions qualify your prospect as sales ready.
- Expectations - What does sales follow-up look like? Is it an email, a LinkedIn message, or a cold call? And when does the sales follow-up need to happen? As soon as a prospect is marked as a marketing qualified lead or within 48 hours? A service level agreement (SLA) is a great way to set and manage expectations between marketing and sales, and ensure that both teams are working toward the same goal.
Define "What's in It for Them"
B2B buyers have more information, choices and power than ever before. Prospects don't have time to take a cold call and talk about their pain points. They already know what their pain points are. They want to know:
- "What's in it for them?"
- "Why should they pay attention?"
- "Why does your product or solution matter to them?"
- "How can your product or solution help them do their job better?"
- "How is your product or service different than your competitors?"
- "How can your solution impact their bottom line?"
By developing a sales strategy that addresses the value that you can bring to the prospect upfront, you increase your chances of engagement.