Demand Generation, or as it is more commonly referred to, cold calling, is one of the hardest things to do in any outbound sales roles.
Chalk it up to fear of the unknown, fear of rejection or the looming fear of your quota approaching with each passing day. It is likely a combination of anyone of these three things pressing down on you at different times in your sales cycle, but the question remains, why is this a hard thing to do?
Likely, it’s because demand generation has been done poorly in the past 30 years – and as a result has been associated with telemarketing and scamming.
Professional sales, if done correctly, embodies very little of these poor practices of the past (expect for using a telephone).
At In The Funnel to set ourselves apart, and make sure this is done properly, we teach explicitly on this issue in our demand generation workshop tailored towards professional B2B sales. This focuses on the structure and strategy of calling a prospect.
Let’s assume that anyone making calls in a sales development role has an accurate target list to go after. This is important – if the SDRs do not have a relevant list to go after, the chance of landing a prospect is random and falls into the same problems associated with cold calling (It’s disengaging and unstructured). Quality needs to be a higher priority than quantity.
Going forward with an accurate target market, these are the four key points of structure and strategy to focus on to be effective on the phone.
1) Preparation: It’s an odd thing to have to say, but it’s surprising how little of it goes into a call. Beyond having key talking points from a script, it’s important to understand the person you’re calling, their company and a point of interest to engage the conversation.
You must remember – you’re interrupting their day, so how do you show them you’re not wasting their time? If you’re informed about who they are, and what they do, then you can genuinely show interest in them and earn the right to interrupt their day and have a chat with your prospect.
2) Getting in contact: Chances are when you call a prospect, they’re likely busy. It’s not enough to call them a couple times and then follow up at a later point – you need a plan to do this properly.
At ITF we have consistently come back to the number of 7-12 reach outs (voicemails, emails, LinkedIn invites, etc.) being needed before a prospect will pick up the phone and call you back. We teach this by grouping prospects into distinct buckets and making sure that over the course of a three-week period there’s a weekly reach out plan to make sure you’re consistently, but professionally, calling your prospects with intent.
3) Breaking the wall: So, you’ve prepared for a key interaction, and you’ve taken the steps to engage with your prospect – now you’re on the call. Here lies the most critical part of this process, the first 15 seconds of a sales call.
So how do you stop your prospect from triggering their flight mechanism, giving you disingenuous answers, or doing anything possible to get rid of you?
The solution lies in the theory of reciprocity. Remember - if you’re interrupting someone in the middle of their day, you starting the call saying something along the lines of “Hey, I got a great product/service you’ll want to buy” is going to IMMEDIATELY shut them off from engaging you.
All they hear is; “this is about someone else, who only wants to sell me something, and does not care about me at all. I’m a number to this guy, get me out of here”.
Here’s how you change it - make it about them.
Leveraging the preparation you did on them and personalizing a message to them is going to set you apart and show that you want to help them.
Example; “Hi prospect, this is Marius Royal from In The Funnel, we’re a group of sales coaches who help B2B companies improve sales revenue. I see that your company (x) specializes in technical widgets that disrupt drone shipping across North America with your brand new ‘wave tech’. How has that resonated with your market so far?
I’m calling today because I wanted to introduce my company to yours, and I believe we could add value you to your sales. Would I be able to steal a few minutes of your time to see if we can help you grow?”
Not perfect, but much better. Doing this properly allows the prospect to realize you know about them, are interested in them, and feel obliged to give you few minutes of time.
4) Progressing the call: Now that you’ve engaged with the prospect, you need to articulate your value proposition, give them a brief run down as to why you’re unique and why clients choose you.
After that, there needs to be a structure to the call.
First, you need leading questions that gives you information about the company’s current status. These questions will allow you to build a rapport that will probe areas where you can offer a solution.
Secondly, you need to extract from that information where the problem lies with your prospect.
i.e if the issue is that your prospect’s company is in a technical industry, but their sales team can’t explain what they do, our solution would be to put them into a demand generation workshop at In The Funnel so they can articulate the value prop of the company.
Lastly, once you’ve progressed the call to this point, you need to close with steps for a follow up call. This could be either closing them on the phone or engaging them a few days/to a day later.
For In The Funnel, this would be enticing them with temporary access (24hrs) to the sales academy, so they can test our tools and modules, and making sure at the end of the call following up within 48hrs to see if they enjoyed what they saw and want to pursue a workshop.
by Marius Royal
Sales Development - In The Funnel