Let’s start at the beginning – quite literally. The best way to maximise B2B sales is to improve the very first step of the sales process – which is, of course, prospecting. Without this vital step, your sales pipeline would be littered with drop-offs and your reports would be a showcase of unmet targets, low conversion rates and little ROI to show for your efforts.
Prospecting essentially involves researching potential customers in order to suss out which leads have purchase intent regarding your product and are therefore worth pursuing. Of course, one way you could conduct this research is by picking up the phone and asking if they might be interested in your product, but straightforward cold calling in this manner usually results in a dead end, with 90% of decision makers saying they never respond to them (Harvard Business Review).
1 Expand Your Repertoire
Every prospecting method you don’t make use of is an avenue of potential prospects you miss out on. Cold calling, networking, trade shows, email marketing, referrals, social selling and every other method are all important – of course you are allowed to have your own preferences based on what you think works best for your company, but there’s no harm in checking in with other methods every so often.
One especially important one that we find a lot of companies aren’t making use of – if you decide that social selling (that’s monitoring social media for potential buyers) isn’t worth your time, you’re missing out on the best potential prospects, as 84% of CEOs and VPs use social media to make purchasing decisions (International Data Corporation).
2 Act with Intent
As we recently discussed, in the B2B market there is little to no point in marketing your products to decision makers that are not already in the market for your product. Making use of purchase intent data and focussing your attentions on the most likely buyers will leave you with a pipeline full of leads that have a higher chance of resulting in a sale. Intent data, and knowing about the company’s needs and values, will also allow your sales teams to personalise the pitches and make convincing arguments for how the product will improve their company in terms of productivity, profitability or another obvious benefit.
However, it can take a lot of time and effort for even the most analytical of people to sort through all the information to find the gold nuggets of relevant information. EngageIQ sales software uses artificial intelligence to sort and deliver a constant stream of leads to your sales team, all of which are backed up by highly insightful and useful intent data to enhance your position at every stage of the sales pipeline going forward.
3 Wait Until the Time is Right
Another benefit of properly researching prospects is that you may be able to find out when the best time to approach them will be. We aren’t talking about the time of the day or week; we mean times of change or opportunity within that business that will make them more likely to buy your product. For example, if you know that a new head of department will be starting in a month and that they will be keen to make improvements, you may be best holding off on your pitch until they are in place. Or, if you know that a current contract with a competitor is close to the end, you would want to prioritise this prospect and swoop in before they renew.
4 First Impressions
First impressions are everything, especially in sales. Calling up the switchboard in the hopes that whoever answers will be able to direct you to the right person reduces your chances dramatically before you’ve even had the chance to introduce yourself. Do your research properly and find out exactly who you should speak to and find out as much information about them as you can. Find their direct line if possible, or know enough information about them that you can confidently asked to be put through.
If possible, make yourself known to the decision maker before prospecting – introduce yourself at a business event or send a connection request on LinkedIn. This makes it so that when you do call, it’s not as a complete stranger; this is known as ‘warm calling’, and it helps to break the ice and establish trust with the prospect.
5 Follow Up Better
After the initial contact with a prospect, it’s important to keep the channel of communication open, so sending a follow-up email is essential. However, don’t just ‘check in’ or reiterate what you’ve already said on the phone – you need to have have something useful to add to the exchange. Some good examples are confirming a time and place for a meeting, or sending over additional resources, such as in informative video about your product. This is essential: 74% of buyers will go with the sales rep that is the first to add value and insight (Corporate Visions). Just take care not to overload them with information or you risk putting them off.
How EngageIQ Can Help
Improving your prospecting process will have a real, noticeable effect on the success of your sales team, and the majority of it comes down to properly researching the prospect and tailoring the pitch to them – which can end up seriously eating into your sales team’s time. A smart step you can take is to integrate EngageIQ into your prospecting process, simplifying this vital stage while giving you intelligence that puts you a step above the competitors before you even pick up the phone.
Our research team do the groundwork of prospecting for you, with around 20,000 outbound calls made every week; and those whose purchase intent matches up with your company are identified by our AI technology and then delivered to you via our easy-to-use software. Here, you’ll find all the information you could need to be in the best position to make that all-important initial contact, with a wealth of supporting information about the company’s needs and values as well as contact details for the right decision maker. All that’s left to do is pick up the phone and tell them that you have the perfect product for their company.