By Matt Buchanan, Co-Founder, and VP of Sales at Service Direct
A successful sales department is the lifeblood of any B2B operation. Without the ability to close deals, the rest of it doesn’t really matter. So, how do you approach sales in your business? If you have been sticking with the traditional method of racking up as many dials as possible, you may be missing out on a great opportunity to grow your business and ultimately your sales velocity.
The Old Way: Dial Your Way to Success
For many sales departments, success is measured first and foremost by their level of activity. Quite simply, racking up a high quantity of total dials is seen as a productive day, regardless of the end result. Unfortunately, that aggressive technique doesn’t always produce as it should – and it can even backfire in the long run.
This approach to sales brings to mind a famous quote from legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:
“Never mistake activity for achievement.”
In other words, you shouldn’t assume you have been productive just because you have been busy. This is a great way of looking at sales, because the goal isn’t just to stay busy and talk to a bunch of people – the goal is to close deals and make money. It’s far more important to achieve a few key sales conversations than it is to talk to a ton of people who will never pay you a dime.
The New Way: Make Quality Your #1 Objective
Measuring sales performance in terms of the quality of the engagements with leads is a far more useful way of doing business. Quality leads are far more likely to turn in to deals, even if you interact with fewer leads overall on a day-to-day basis.
It might be hard at first to step back from the ‘more is better’ approach to sales, but it will get easier as you start to see the benefits of this method come to fruition. Read on to explore four strategies you can use to add quality to each and every engagement.
Get to Know Your CRM
How is your relationship with your CRM? If you are like many in the sales world, that relationship might be a little hot and cold. Sure, you know that it can be a powerful tool, but it probably isn’t being used to the best of its ability. With a little optimization, you could get a lot more out of that important piece of software.
Consider taking a few steps to get more use out of the CRM in place at your business –
- Universal training. By making sure everyone in the organization is up to speed on how to use the CRM properly, it will become more likely that your team members will make use of its many features.
- An in-house expert. Even if your CRM offers excellent customer support, there is nothing quite like having someone in the office who knows the ins and outs of the software. Have one individual go through in-depth training on using the CRM so they can be the go-to person whenever questions come up.
- Standard practices. Establish a set of standard CRM practices that are to be used by everyone who makes calls on behalf of your business. With the whole sales team on the same page, the CRM becomes more useful and your calls become more engaging.
Build Real Human Relationships
For some sales professionals, each phone call is nothing more than an opportunity to make money. And, of course, that is often the ultimate goal. But if you can step back and recognize that the people you are talking to are human beings, you might be able to develop strong relationships that can benefit everyone involved for years to come.
To make an even deeper connection, consider using video to your advantage. You could set up a live video chat with the gatekeeper that you are working with, or you can send a recorded video of yourself highlighting key points and offering assistance. Even if you aren’t in the same physical place as the lead, you can feel more connected through the use of video and the relationship should grow stronger as a result.
There are also many services that can help by providing sales triggers or insights on the people and companies you are targeting. Use these to your advantage to tailor your message and proposition to what’s happening in their world and your response rate will not only improve, but you will have more genuine, valuable conversations at the same time.
Respect – and Value – the Gatekeeper
Oh, the poor gatekeeper. This is the person you are usually directed to when you make a sales call. The decision-makers in the organization aren’t going to spend their time fielding cold calls, so that job falls to the gatekeepers in the office. And, to be sure, they very rarely get any respect.
Most of the time, a salesperson is going to try to get around the gatekeeper as fast as possible. It’s classic sales advice to attempt to speak with the decision-makers as quickly as you can. That approach is short-sighted, however, and you can make significant progress toward a sale by giving the gatekeeper attention and respect.
What does a gatekeeper have to offer you? Even if they can’t make the final decision to sign a deal, they can help you learn more about the business so you can determine if this is a viable lead to pursue. Also, if the gatekeeper gets on board with your product or service, he or she could be a valuable ally when the time comes to present to the decision maker. Think of it this way – having a friendly relationship with someone who works within the business can only mean good things for your chances of closing a deal.
Lean on Notes for Meaningful Follow-Up Calls
This last point circles back around to the importance of using your CRM correctly. When detailed notes are added after each sales call, those notes can be used in an intelligent manner to make future calls more meaningful and engaging.
For instance, you might have been told on your last call a couple of months ago that the business was working on a big project, so they would need to wait before considering your product or service. When you call back, you don’t need to start from scratch with another cold call – instead, you can call back to ask about that project. How did it go? Is it all wrapped up? These simple questions will highlight your attention to detail and your investment in the relationship.
Great Results Flow from Great Relationships
It’s easy to get caught up in the details when charting out your B2B sales plan. But the moral of the story comes down to this – great relationships can take you a long way in business. If you view each new lead as a chance to form a new relationship, instead of a chance to just make a sale, your whole outlook on the process will change.
If you are ready to take a bold step toward a more profitable future, set your obsession with dial volume to the side. Turn quantity into quality and get ready for an exciting ride.