Salespeople: add value or don’t bother

Don’t cold call, don’t send unsolicited emails – today’s top sellers are doing their research before connecting with decision makers, and they’re reaping the rewards.

Thankfully the days of cold calling and door-to-door salespeople is (mostly) long gone – at least within a B2B environment anyway. But gone too are the days of the quick win.  Sure, you may just be in the right place at the right time and hit a decision maker at the opportune moment.  But what happens when they put down the phone, or close your email?  Will you stay memorable?

According to recent research by LinkedIn, today’s business decision makers believe that knowledge and insight of their business is the top reason they would engage with sales professionals, over and above product or service.

So stow those itching fingers!  Don’t make that call, don’t send that generic email/InMail.  Pause for a moment and consider the three trends, according to business decision makers, that make the most difference:

Doing your homework sells

According to the survey 79% of buyers say that they wouldn’t bother engaging with a sales person if they didn’t do the necessary homework beforehand. And 62% wouldn’t engage if the approach wasn’t personalised.

Business decision makers are looking for you to solve their issues, complement the skills they already have, and build a relationship based on mutual goals and benefits. There is a wealth of information available about their business – their unique challenges, their competitors, the state of the market they operate it in, and the changing nature of their business. Sales professionals – there really is no excuse for poor preparation!

Customer experience and hyper-personalisation rule. The research shows that decision makers are more likely to consider a brand if the salesperson has a clear understanding of their role in the decision-making process.  Learn everything there is to know about the decision maker you want to connect with, then take the time to analyse needs, preferences and behaviours and use it to deliver a unique approach in the right way and at the right time, based on an intimate understanding and you are far more likely to claim their attention.

Trust is number one

The 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that trust in business has broadly declined over the last 5 years and that to rebuild trust and restore faith, businesses must put people at the centre of everything they do.

Sales is, and has always been, built on personal relationships. As Thomas J Watson once said “the essence of trust building is to emphasise the similarities between you and the customer”.  Your biggest similarity with business decision makers is that they have needs and problems to solve, and you have the ability to help them do this, but it takes insight and value – harness every opportunity, and every tool at your disposal, to listen and understand their needs, and use this insight to place yourself directly into their decision making process by ensuring that at every touch point you add value.

Invest in the evolution of sales technology

Half of those surveyed expect their company to increase sales technology investments – compared to just 35 per cent last year.

Sales technology is evolving at a rapid pace.  Artificial Intelligence is the new frontier and it is set to have a profound impact on the lives of sales professionals.

Software vendors are leveraging AI methodologies such as natural language processing and machine learning algorithms to dig deeper, improving understanding of businesses and decision makers and what’s driving them at any given moment.  Likewise, predictive analytics are opening up the opportunity to understand where the customer journey will go next and the actions you need to take to influence decision making now, next week and in the months to come.

Investment in the latest sales technology holds the key to both previously mentioned trends for sales professionals.  Deeper understanding, and deeper level of clarity for a more informed, proactive and personalised approach.