Everyone asks us these questions: What can I do today to generate more revenue tomorrow? How quickly will the recommendations you’re suggesting start helping us close more new customers? Fast, faster, fastest! That’s what everyone wants.
Unfortunately, hardly anything in marketing is going to produce lightning-fast results like we’re being asked about above.
However, sales improvements do have the potential to impact results quickly. In March, we published a very popular blog article, The Top 10 B2B Sales Improvement Tactics For Revenue Generation.
Because it was so widely viewed and shared, here are nine sales upgrades you could install this week that will start helping you close more frequently and close faster over the next few weeks.
Upgrade 1 – Teach Your Reps To Start Their Conversations In Context To The Prospect’s Online Activity
If you’re using your CRM and marketing automation platform correctly, then this should be easy.
Instead of reps getting on calls and starting with the ordinary “How can I help you today?” question, they would immediately upgrade the experience by starting with: “I noticed you were on our website looking at shipping services and detailed product descriptions for products A, C and D. I also saw you attended our webinar on improving the timeliness of product delivery. Why don’t we start there – what challenges are you facing in these areas right now?”
Immediately, the reps are smarter and more focused, and the prospect gets a feeling of safety. The conversation can be focused on value and pain. The sales rep can then lead the conversation into other adjacent areas, likely uncovering additional needs, pains or challenges.
A little bit of activity data can go a long way toward transforming your reps from salespeople to trusted advisors.
Upgrade 2 – Use More Personalized Video
Many people don’t like to read; they like to watch. The sales team historically sends a ton of emails.
Some of those emails might be long. Long emails rarely get read, there is room for misinterpretation and it’s hard for people to remember everything they read.
Consider using more videos in your sales emails.
Sales reps can click a button and talk to the prospect directly, embed the video in the email and send it off. Now the prospect can simply watch.
In addition, prospects get to see your reps’ faces. Reps can make a personal connection, share some of their personality and connect with prospects on a more personal level. The result is prospects feel like they know your reps as opposed to simply replying to cold-written emails.
Upgrade 3 – Never Send Any Naked Emails
A naked email is any email that is sent without taking the opportunity to include some additional educational content in context to the conversation.
There is no reason to ever send a naked email. Even confirmation emails for upcoming meetings could have a link to an article discussing what is on the agenda or an attachment that provides information from the last meeting.
Sales reps should have access to such a rich content library that they can easily find company-generated content that allows them to continue educating, adding value and helping the prospect make a safe purchase decision.
The more your reps help, the more likely they are to close and close quickly.
Upgrade 4 – Make It Mandatory That You Connect With Power
I get to sit in on a lot of sales calls our clients make with prospects, and it’s shocking how many times the sales reps are not talking to power.
When you’re talking about B2B large-dollar, complex sales with long sales cycles, you’re talking about strategic decisions, and this means power needs to be in the meeting.
Even when the VP says they’re the ultimate decision-maker, you must ask, “How involved is the CEO going to be in this decision? How are you and your company going to make the final decision? Who else might be involved?”
Asking these questions almost always uncovers there is another step. The recommendations have to be shared and approved by the leadership team, the CEO or the board.
If you want to shorten your sales cycle and increase your close rate, make it mandatory that for you to continue with your process, the actual decision-maker(s) need to be in the meeting.
This might sound like friction in your process, but it’s the opposite. If these people are serious, they will attend and be happy to do so.
By being more rigid in your process, you’ll push away unqualified prospects that you probably would have lost anyway and bring in people who are serious about partnering with you, investing in your solution and making a decision in short order.
Executives who engage are always better opportunities than executives who assign this to a lower-level person and then make decisions with partial information.
Again, I see a lot of sales reps who don’t ask enough questions and don’t ask hard questions. I get it. Asking hard questions has the potential to scuttle your deal, push away the prospect, annoy them or even make them angry.
But you must ask them anyway. It’s like making them take their medicine. It tastes awful, but it’s good for them in the end.
Here are some of the tough questions your sales reps should be asking in every sales process:
- What is your budget for this project? If you don’t have a budget, what are your expectations around investment in a product or service like this?
- What is your priority for this project? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is something you have to do or the company is doomed and 1 is something you might never get around to doing, how big of a priority is this project?
- What are the ramifications for the business if you don’t move forward with this project?
- What do you foresee as the major business outcomes when you move forward with this project?
- What are your goals 30 days out and 90 days out from working with a company like ours?
- How will you measure the success of our work together? What are the metrics or quantitative milestones?
- What is the decision-making process for moving forward with us? Who must be involved? What is the timeline for that process?
- At this time are there any concerns that would prevent you from moving forward with us?
Reps don’t like to ask these questions because they don’t really want to hear the answers, but you have to ask and know the answers to accurately manage the expectations of both your prospect and the sales leaders at the company.
Upgrade 6 – Help Prospects Define The Business Outcomes And Related Priority
One of the most successful techniques I’ve seen is to get the prospect talking about their future state. What will the company look like after this project is successfully completed? By getting them to talk about this version of success, they get emotionally connected to your solution.
Once you know what success looks like, you can relate it to other company priorities and drive the investment conversation, too.
If we can deliver what you described above, how important is that to your company? Is it something you’d have to start working on immediately or could it wait six months? Is everyone in the company aligned with these priorities?
By making the business outcomes real, it’s easier to approve large projects and get everyone to support that investment in both time and energy.
Upgrade 7 – Use Lead Scoring To Help Reps Prioritize
At most companies, sales reps have competing priorities. They might have more follow-ups than they can get to in a day. They might have more prospects than they can call in a timely manner. They might not know which customers are the best to follow up with for cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Lead scoring based on a prospect’s historical behavior is a great place to start.
One easy example of this is giving people who visit your pricing page a higher score than those who don’t. People who are looking at pricing are likely a bit more serious and further along in their buyer journey.
Several factors might go into a lead score calculation. Regardless, a lead score does help sales reps decide who to contact first and who to lean in with. Leads can also be distributed this way, removing any bias from the distribution process.
Upgrade 8 – Don’t Sell; Instead, Guide And Advise
You know how you feel when people try to sell you and you know how you feel when people try to help you. The same consideration should be applied here, too.
People don’t want to be sold to. They want to be helped, advised and guided along their way. The more you help them, the safer they feel. The more they trust you, the more they like you.
Go back and review your last five closed sales. Did your prospect know, like and trust you? Of course they did. Now think back about the last five lost deals you had. Did those prospects know, like and trust you in the same way?
The less you try to convince and the more you try to help, the higher your close rate.
Upgrade 9 – Consider Their Emotions And How They Are Feeling
Finally, I want you to consider the emotions of the people you’re talking to. Every human being has emotions, whether they show it or not.
Your prospects are feeling something at every stage of their buyer journey. In the beginning, they might feel uncertain or anxious. As the journey continues and they get smarter, they might feel more trusting, safer and better.
But those feelings can quickly change. If you do or say one thing that appears to be negative, all the work to gain that trust can be lost.
So, the process is critical. Mapping out the communication and making a process that is engaging, fun and highly educational is critical to keep the momentum and the feelings of positivity, safety and trust.
If you can get your sales reps to make these minor changes in the way they sell and can build these minor changes into your existing sales process, you will see big rewards in a short amount of time.
We’ve seen it at B2B companies in a wide variety of industries, and it’s always been a game changer.
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