B2B Cold Calling is Dead...So Now What?
In this new digital age, traditional B2B “cold calling” is a thing of the past. We define “cold calling” as one stranger trying to share sales information with another stranger, typically over the phone.
Newsflash: Information about any given product or service is easily accessible online.
Marketers are keenly aware of this “knowledge revolution” and are challenged to find new and compelling ways to connect with potential customers. The same holds true for a sales team.
Managers need to train and coach their salespeople on how to connect with target prospects in new and different ways.
Here are four factors worth considering:
1. Promote effective networking
Most salespeople agree that “who you know” counts for more than “what you know.” But how many managers evaluate their salespeople on the quantity and quality of their network of contacts?
Managers should regularly query their staff on how well they are growing and cultivating potential and current decision makers and influencers that can impact their book of business in a positive way.
It’s incredibly easy for any salesperson to get comfortable with his/her current network—it’s the manager’s job to make sure that those networks keep growing and improving!
2. Unleash the power of referrals and recommendations
Third parties that are willing to advocate on your behalf are incredibly valuable! The bigger and more important the endorsement, the more that the sales manager should be involved in making it happen.
Many times, protocol will require interfacing with personnel beyond the buyers that your salespeople deal with. Managers shouldn’t expect a salesperson to succeed at getting a critical referral and/or recommendation from a Senior Vice-President of a client company.
Managers should navigate this process and even help craft the specific message that’s desired from the endorsing company.
3. Identify critical problems and propose specific solutions
Sales managers should coach their salespeople on how to figure out “what hurts” with a given prospect, and then match that with a solution from their own offering of goods and/or services. Sales funnels should include pertinent information on critical “pain points” for all identified prospects.
The strategic dialogue between the sales manager and the salesperson can then address the potential solutions at hand. That “sample” solution can be conveyed to the target client through a variety of channels including email, social media, voice mail, etc.
A dynamic solution can be the icebreaker that prompts a response from a given prospect for a follow up conversation.
4. Demand a “map” for reaching every target prospect
Sales managers should expect that every salesperson has crafted a specific route to get in front of a potential client. It’s a discipline that will force salespeople to think about all of the moving parts it takes to make it happen.
It also gives the sales manager a tool for a tangible evaluation of the salesperson’s progress. Far too often, the prospecting process is too vague and much too unconstructed. Sales managers need to define and monitor this critical process.
Sales managers are challenged with replacing archaic B2B cold calling with a smart and measurable process that guides salespeople to connecting with potential new clients.
The “numbers game” that assumes that a significant number of cold calls will turn into a handful of new clients is counterproductive and a tremendous waste of time and effort. So it’s time to step up the game, and transform cold calls into smart ones!
About the Author
Buff Parham is a widely recognized thought leader and outstanding coach in the media sales and sales management field. With 35 years of sales experience, Buff has worked at Univision, FOX, Belo, ABC and CBS. He believes that hard work matters and that raising the bar and having greater expectations tend to generate greater results. In his spare time, Buff finds cooking and playing golf to be two of the best therapies for a somewhat hectic existence!
Check out Buff’s Blog www.BuffParham.com
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.