Congratulations! Your company has a well-oiled inbound marketing strategy and are generating a ton of leads for your sales team, but that’s only half the battle.
What is the best way for salespeople to close on these leads? Is cold calling really dead? How do I get responses to my emails? Is social selling the way to go? Below is a compilation of advice from seasoned sales experts that will help you conquer the rest of the battle.
Know exactly what you need from a prospective client, from first contact to close
Anthony Iannarino, creator of The Sales Blog, says “there are at least 10 asks in a normal B2B sales scenario. What you want to do is earn the right to ask for the next commitment in every interaction.”
During every interaction with a prospective customer, make sure you’re showing enough value so the lead wants to continue engaging with you. Consider mapping out every possible communication point of the journey, and be prepared to deliver value at each and every stage. And of course, as Sales 101 taught us, never end a meeting without scheduling the next one.
Effective cold emails are a balance between science and art
The folks at Yesware put it so simply by saying “each line of a cold email must persuade the reader to read the next one, all the way through to the closed sale.” This is the science behind emails. You need to test different email templates for different audiences, evaluate what converts and what doesn’t, and continue working towards a formula that meets your goals.
Peter Seenan, sales expert at Leadfeeder, fills the other half of the equation with his humanistic approach. He stresses the importance of being genuine and friendly, such as politely asking if you should stop reaching out and avoiding cookie cutter messages. This is the art behind emails. While you may know what email templates are most effective, you still need a personal touch.
A popular rule of thumb to follow is the “10-80-10” rule. Start your email with a personalized greeting, then insert your cookie-cutter message, and then end with another personalized message.
Do your research before the conversation
Geoffrey James, award-winning sales blogger on Inc.com, emphasizes that it’s “difficult to put the customer’s interests first and expose the relevance your product may have” if you don’t actually do your research on the company and the stakeholders involved beforehand.
Research includes knowing their website inside and out, reading their press releases, understanding their needs through job posts, looking up their employees on LinkedIn, and following their social media posts. If the sales lead was inbound, you must also take into account if they filled out a form, downloaded something, or attended any of your events.
Cold calling and social selling go hand and hand
Cold calling is not dead and social selling is not just a trend. This hot debate was put to rest during a conversation between Mike Scher and Mario Martinez Jr., two outspoken selling experts.
Mike brings up a solid point that you need to be proactive with sales, which is why cold calling is still necessary. There are plenty of people who don’t know that they need your solution unless you get it in front of them, and there are others who are buried in emails so a cold call is the best way to break through the clutter.
Mario agrees with Mike, but boldly states “I personally make zero cold calls to generate leads, as my social selling strategy brings in one to three appointments a day.” Social selling is about engaging directly with prospects through social channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter and anywhere else your prospects have presence online. The goal is to build trusted relationships before making the final sale.
At the end of the day, social selling helps to turn a cold call into a warmer call and it can be as simple as commenting on and sharing your prospects’ posts, or as complex as revamping your entire LinkedIn and Twitter presence. And if you’re not convinced yet, studies by LinkedIn reveal that social sellers create 45% more opportunities than their peers with a lower social selling index and are 51% more likely to reach their quota. Overall, 78% of social sellers outperform peers who don’t use social media, but you still need to pick up the phone!
What other tips and recommendations do you have to master the sales follow-up? Share your thoughts in the comments below!